2019 Judging Panel
Damon Brown (USA) – Judge
One part charity advocate, one part grandpa, one part marathon runner and one part choreographer, Damon Brown’s been a part of the show choir world since 1982. With over 350 championships and 450 best choreography awards, Damon’s been blessed to work with over 70,000 students in his 37-year career, including actresses Blake Lively and Dove Cameron.
Damon’s founded the 4,000 member Facebook groups Show Choir Kindness & Showchoirs for THIRST (join today!!). He’s the National Outreach Coordinator for Thirst Project, the world’s leading youth water charity. Since 2015, over 60 show choirs have joined the movement, raising $125,000+ to help the suffering! In April, Damon’s traveling back to Africa to build clean water wells for 1,000 people that he and his wife have privately raised funding for over the past year. ***IF YOUR SHOW CHOIR WOULD LIKE TO JOIN THE MOVEMENT, IT’S SO EASY. JUST SHOOT DAMON A FACEBOOK MESSAGE AND JOIN THIS ARMY OF COMPASSION!!
Choreographer/show designer/performer, Damon’s a graduate of Ball State Univ, performed with Cedar Point Amusement Park, taught coast-to-coast, & been a 17-year contemporary worship team singer with Northview Church of Carmel, IN.
Damon has the world’s prettiest wife, 2 daughters, 3 step-children and 3 grandbabies. His hobbies include running, golf and screaming for the Indianapolis Colts! Good luck to everybody today!!!
Tara Young (Canada) – Judge
Tara Young has worked for over 30 years as an Artistic Director and Associate on over a dozen Broadway Shows and International Cirque shows across the globe with some of the most respected names in the Industry.
Raised in Calgary, Alberta, Tara began dancing at the age of three. Her dream was to be on Broadway and at just 19 years old she was fortunate enough to land her first job dancing with Liza Minnelli in “STEPPIN OUT at Radio City Music Hall”.
Within a few years, Tara knew that her passion was being part of the creative team that develops a Broadway Musical. She soon made the transition from performing to serving as an Associate Director/Choreographer.
Tara currently is the CEO of Randolph College of the Performing Arts. Prior to this she lived in Dubai as the Artistic Director of La Perle, and then before this she was The Artistic Director for The Han Show in Wuhan, China, both shows working with world- renowned director Franco Dragone.
Prior to this she was the Artistic Director for Cirque Du Soleil’s Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour, the #8 top grossing tour of all time. Cirque Du Soleil and the Estate of Michael Jackson joined forces to create this production. After 500 shows in 157 venues in 28 countries, on 4 continents, this large-scale production earned the #8 slot on Billboards list of top grossing tours of all time with $360 Million (Based on Billboard Box score). A total of 3,369,207 guests saw the production over its three-year run.
In addition to creating musical productions and working with the notable groups such as the New York City Ballet, New York City Opera, LA Opera, the Boston Pops Orchestra, Young lends her vast experience and knowledge of Entertainment by helming workshops and appearing as a guest lecturer. Her unique approach and boundless energy have kept her as a sought-after voice among programs offering education in theatre. Her workshops are taught to all levels from performing arts elementary and high schools to Universities throughout the United States and Canada as well as participating in Cirque du Soleil’s social outreach in the arts while on tour world wide.
With a career spanning three decades of stage and screen, she has traveled the globe working on numerous world-renowned stages both large and small from Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Palais des Congres to Madison Square Garden and the O2 Arena. Being inspired daily by the remarkable artists and creative teams she works with, Tara brings enthusiasm, understanding and compassion to all that she does.
Christopher Stephens (USA) – Judge
Christopher Stephens is a voice teacher, pianist, and music director/arranger. He has worked on and off-Broadway for shows such as Matilda, Wicked, Shout! The Mod Musical, Captain Louie, Anything Goes, Bells Are Ringing, and at Carnegie Hall in Take the Stage (starring Tony Award winner Jessie Mueller). Ricky Ian Gordon, Adam Jacobs, Tina Landau, Alan Menken, Kelli O’Hara, Mandy Patinkin, and Emily Skinner are several of the many artists for whom Christopher has served as pianist. Christopher has been an active participant in the OMEA Show Choir Contest and is an alumnus of the Bowling Green State University Men’s Chorus. He is a graduate of the University Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and Upright Citizens Brigade improvisation school.
Steven Lehmann (Canada) – Band Judge
A versatile musician who performs, directs, produces, composes, and arranges music for a variety of projects in a range of styles, Steve Lehmann founded Renaissance School of the Arts in 1993, while completing his degree in Music Composition at Wilfrid Laurier University. Over 30 years of professional experience has put him in front of President Bill Clinton and on stage with Haydain Neale from Jacksoul, the K-W Symphony, and Juno-nominated bagpiper Rob Crabtree. Notably, Steve has worked with Olympic gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, CollegeHumor.com, Blackberry, WWE, and The Awkward Yeti. His portfolio includes work as varied as video games, TV shows, feature films, and he currently writes music for The Cyanide & Happiness Show – online his music has received well over 2.5 billion views. In 2010, Steve and Amanda Kind started KW Glee – a private auditioned pop show choir based in the Waterloo region. KW Glee is a Grand Champion of Show Choir Canada, and the junior group has also taken the top prize. KW Glee has performed with the K-W Symphony for three sold out shows at the Centre in the Square in Kitchener. Steve has been teaching music privately for 30 years and has worked on over 35 musicals in varying capacities. A native of Waterloo, Steve currently resides in St. Jacobs, Ontario, with the love of his life, Angela, and their four beautiful children, Madeline, Fiona, Avery, and Isaac, and schnoodle Whitney and morkie Ella. www.stevelehmann.com
Josh Bogert (Canada) – Host and Guest Performer
Josh Bogert, from Vancouver BC, is a rising star in the world of pop and melodic bass music. His passion for the arts, his strong work ethic, and his versatility have taken him across Canada and the United States, performing in venues such as Toronto’s Budweiser Stage, Ottawa’s Canadian Tire Centre, and the Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. Josh’s music training started at the young age of four, with classical violin, and quickly expanded to a love of singing, as well as mastering many instruments including guitar, drums, piano, and saxophone. Now as a DJ, producer and performer, Josh still finds inspiration from all types of music, ranging from classical to jazz to dubstep, when creating his unique sound. At age 18, Josh is ready to make his mark in music history, and is poised to make a splash with his brand new single “Dad’s Car,” now available on iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play. You can also find Josh bringing the character of Miles Lennox to life on Disney, Netflix, and Family Channel original series “Backstage”, available worldwide.
Ann Cooper Gay