Year after year, News4Jax gives Jacksonville’s best voices a chance to be heard through Oh Say Can You Sing. But our annual singing competition wouldn’t be the same without its stellar panel of judges, who help our contestants realize their true potential and have the unenviable task of crowning a winner.
These judges come from all walks of life, bringing decades of experience in the performing arts, either through music or theater. They include a musical icon who’s worked with some of the industry’s biggest names, the founder of a theater company and a vocal coach who helps hone aspiring voices.
The one thing they all have in common? An eye for talent.
And that means they will have their work cut out for them when they hear the four finalists go head to head Wednesday evening to decide who will take home the contest's crown and the grand prize—$500 cash and a chance to sing the national anthem at our “Red, White & Boom” special event on July 4.
Get to know our judges below:
Deborah McDuffie is a Jacksonville music icon and industry pioneer who cut her teeth as an artist, composer and producer. McDuffie, who owns Ms McD Music, has worked with big names including Gladys Knight, Patti Labelle and The Temptations. The director of special programs for the Ritz Theatre and director of choral studies at Atlantic Coast High, she is widely considered the first female jingle composer/producer in the music industry.
Joining McDuffie on the judges’ panel is Lee Hamby, the managing director and founder of The 5 & Dime, a Theatre Company situated on Adams Street downtown. This Jacksonville native is an award-winning director, choreographer, actor and volunteer with nearly two decades of experience on stage. Hamby also dabbles in costume and set design. He’s also the owner of Lee Hamby Design, a floral design business based right here in Jacksonville.
Rounding out the judges is Lorna Greenwood. This vocal coach who works in artist development runs The Nashville Vocal Coach, a talent development firm nestled in the heart of country music in Nashville, Tennessee. Not only does Greenwood have 45 years of experience in the music industry, she’s also a voting member for the Country Music Association. During her career, she’s performed on Grand Ole Opry and worked with Roger Whittaker.
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