Quest for Talent Judges

Mrs Melissa Blacksell

Heats & Final Judge – 2019

Born and educated in Ipswich, Melissa has had music and
performance in her life since the age of 3. As a child, she was
taught and educated in Singing, Piano and Dance and was a
committed member of various Choirs, Groups and as a Vocal Soloist.

After attending School, she furthered her studies at the
Queensland and Albury-Wodonga Conservatorium of Music
(Majoring in Voice – Mezzo-soprano). Her career developed in the
business sector, but she continued to perform regularly at Festivals and Concerts as
both a Soloist and Chorister. Melissa has vast experience in conducting and directing Choirs both privately and for schools, including her current Musical Director position for the Ipswich City Council.

Melissa has been active in supporting the Arts of Ipswich via dedicated involvement; including holding the position of President and Co-Convenor for the Ipswich Junior Eisteddfod Inc, Treasurer – Ipswich Orpheus Chorale and various other volunteer positions within the region.

As a performer, Melissa has sung the National Anthem at televised sports and Christmas events and has won various prizes at Eisteddfodau and National Competitions. Various lead theatrical roles have been played by her throughout the years for both local groups and the Victorian Opera Company.

Melissa has adjudicated Eisteddfods and Talent Quests in both Queensland and Victoria; something she now enjoys more than being on the stage itself. Her desire to encourage, support and provide quality vocal coaching to those in the region is a focus point of her work. She endeavours to provide a comfortable and relaxed environment, so others can enjoy the positivity and benefits of music and singing.

Ms Carolyn Hayles

Heats & Finals Judge – 2019

Raised in England and influenced by her Dad, a Tenor in a
Quartet and an Artist, Carolyn started playing the piano at the early
age of 4 years, eventually becoming a Piano teacher herself.
Once qualified as a Primary Teacher, Majoring in ‘Laban Interpretive
Movement and Dance’, she introduced her students to the Arts as a
Music teacher, and Dance and Drama teacher. After 30 years,
Carolyn left Education and became a Counsellor & Life Coach.

Her love of piano playing and dancing continued, including some fun with Latin Dancing, Rock n Roll, and entertaining audiences in Victoria and Queensland. Having moved to Ipswich in 2017, she is an active member of the Ipswich Alchemy Street Choir, finding it’s never too late to improve through singing lessons!

Having been part of various choirs, Carolyn’s repertoire includes The Hallelujah Chorus through to modern style compositions. Carolyn enjoys encouraging children and adults to become involved in the Arts and has endeavoured to do this throughout her career via teaching; choreography of concerts; directing junior choirs and generally being involved in facilitating performance opportunities for others.

Mrs Helen Pullar

Finals Judge – 2019

Helen Pullar is a Life Member of Ipswich Little Society, having
been a member for over 50 years. During that time, she has
acted, directed and written plays for the Company as well as
being very involved administratively.

A trained secondary teacher, Helen also has AMEB qualifications and taught Speech and Drama privately for some years.

In 1981, she took up a position at Ipswich Girls’ Grammar School where she was the first Head of Drama. During that time, Helen served as District Panel Chair in Drama for West Moreton and on the Queensland State Panel.

Helen has adjudicated drama and musical competitions and has a lifelong interest in performance mediums. Having produced and directed various Musicals, Helen has worked amongst musicians and assisted in encouraging progression and development in their chosen theatrical and musical involvement.