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Instrumental Music

Adjudicator: Christopher Daly LRAM Cert Ed Bachelor Degree: Honoris Causa

Christopher began playing the guitar after hearing a recital by the great master, Andres Segovia. He read Divinity at King Alfred’s College, Winchester (now the University of Winchester), but on leaving took up a career teaching the classical guitar and gained a Licentiate Diploma from the Royal Academy of Music.

 Christopher became a guitar specialist adjudicator for the British and International Federation of Festivals in 1991 and in 2004 became a general adjudicator at the invitation of the Federation. That same year he joined the committee of the Lennox Berkeley Society for whom he ran the Lennox Berkeley Award for Guitar, in conjunction with Oxford Music Festival, from 2010 until 2020. This award is now held by nine outstanding young guitarists with all the royal music colleges  represented between them.

In 2015, he was awarded a Bachelor Degree of the University of Winchester., Honoris Causa. He continues to perform from time to time with an emphasis on fine but lesser-known repertoire.

Keyboard Music

Adjudicator: Michael Young BA Mmus ARCM

Michael studied piano with Lilian Niblette and David Parkhouse, and composition with Charles Hutchings, reading music at Reading University , UEA and RCM. He is currently Professor of Piano at RWCMD and was previously Head of Keyboard at Wells Cathedral School.

Michael has performed widely as solo pianist, chamber musician and accompanist in UK, USA, Germany etc. broadcasting on radio, and has made a special study of the works of Korngold.

He has taught piano at RAM, RCM, TCM, Birmingham Conservatoire and the Universities of Cambridge, UEA and Liverpool and given masterclasses and lectured in numerous countries.

Michael has been an adjudicator for The British and International Federation of Festivals for nearly 20 years, and has adjudicated at numerous festivals, including two visits to Hong Kong. He has been an ABRSM examiner for over 35 years, visiting over 20 countries, and is a member of diploma, jazz and presenter panels.


Adjudicator: Melanie Armitstead

Melanie Armitstead has enjoyed an international career as a Soprano Soloist in both Opera and Concert.  Early in her solo career she sang under the baton of Sir Yehudi Menuhin, Sir Charles Groves and Andrew Parrott in Kent Opera and Scottish Opera-Go-Round.  As a soloist for ENO, Opera North, Scottish Opera and Opera Northern Ireland she sang the roles of Tatiana in Eugene Onegin, Micaela and Frasquita in Carmen, 1st Lady in The Magic Flute, Venus in The Return of Ulyses, Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte, Maria in West Side Story and YumYum in The Mikado.  She also understudied the roles of Hero in Beatrice and Benedict and Atalanta in Xerxes for ENO and Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare for the Paris Opera, returning to sing Mitridate and Le Chevalier Imaginaire at The Chatelet.  She performed in Oratorios and Concerts with many of the leading UK orchestras.  Recitals and concert performances took her to Holland, France, Spain, Gran Canaria, Singapore, Oman and Japan.

Melanie sang in a number of established ensembles including The Menagerie with Nicholas Daniel and Julius Drake and Classic Cocktail which mixed Classical and Jazz repertoire.  Her degree from Durham in Russian and French allowed her to specialize in French and Russian Song Recitals.

Melanie now teaches and adjudicates at Competitive Festivals and Competitions.  She was the Senior Singing Teacher at Sherborne Girls for 21 years and teaches advanced students privately.  She adjudicates at Competitive Festivals around the UK and in Hong Kong, and as a panelist in larger Competitions.

Speech & Drama

Adjudicator: Rebecca Thompson BA (Hons) LLAM (Hons)

On graduating from Bristol University with a degree in Drama and English, Rebecca worked for BBC Radio 4’s Drama Department.  After further journalism and corporate work, Rebecca studied for her Licentiate Teacher’s Diploma and has been teaching Speech and Drama privately and in schools for over twenty-five years. 

Additionally a voice and presentation skills coach in the region, she has taught in private and state schools, colleges and businesses; in addition, she facilitates communication training in schools across the country. 

Rebecca has been actively involved in theatre in the South West, both performing and directing, and is also an adjudicator for the Rose Bowl Awards for Amateur Drama and Music.

Rebecca is passionate about helping young people to develop their communication and performance skills through festivals, and she is delighted to have been invited back to adjudicate for the Devon Performing Arts Festival again.