Bernard Ebb Songwriting Awards Judges

Grand Prize Jury

Sarah Brindell

A songwriter, arranger, producer, pianist, and vocalist, Sarah Brindell, is an Associate Professor of Songwriting at the Berklee College of Music. Sarah has touring credits around the world, captivating audiences with her melodious blend of Soul, Jazz, Bossa Nova, Reggae, Pop and R&B. She has shared the stage and recorded with many renowned artists including Norah Jones, Carole King and Raul Midon. In addition to teaching courses in songwriting, harmony, ear training, arranging, and stage performance, Sarah conducts clinics nationally and internationally, continually helping thousands of students to reach their full potential as professional musicians and songwriters. She was a finalist in the Song of the Year contest as part of VH-1’s Save the Music Foundation as well as the Billboard World Song Contest. Her original songs can be heard on television shows including MTV’s “Made.”

Roger Brown

Nashville-based songwriter and Texas native Roger Brown has been a professional songwriter since his move to Nashville in 1982, after being discovered by Monument Records’ Tex Davis and Wayland Stubblefield. Roger’s songwriting credits include Trace Adkins’ “All Hat, No Cattle,” Kenny Chesney’s “She Gets That Way,” Randy Travis’ “That’s Where I Draw The Line,” Tanya Tucker’s “Fool, Fool Heart,” Nanci Griffith’s “I Knew Love,” Barbara Streisand’s “We Must Be Loving Right,” Gary Allan’s “Adobe Walls,” Patty Loveless’ “Born Again Fool” and George Strait’s “Need I Say More” and “We Must Be Loving Right.” He was nominated for a Tony Award in 2002 for his two songs which were featured in Broadway’s Urban Cowboy – The Musical, and has had compositions featured on numerous gold & platinum albums, as well as major motion pictures such as A Fire In The Sky and Red Rock West. In addition to songwriting, Roger serves the Nashville Songwriters Association International’s (NSAI) legislative committee and is the NSAI liaison to the Texas Songwriters Association. 

Nathan Tysen

Brooklyn-based songwriter and performer Nathan Tysen is the lyricist of the critically acclaimed and Tony-nominated musical Tuck Everlasting. In 2014 he won the Edward Kleban Prize for most promising lyricist and the Fred Ebb Award for excellence in musical theatre songwriting. Nathan shares the Fred Ebb Award with composer Chris Miller. Together they have worked on Tuck Everlasting, The Burnt Part Boys and Fugitive Songs. An accomplished writer and performer of children’s music, Nathan has penned tunes for Sesame Street, Elmo’s World and The Electric Company. He was a contributing lyricist to the musical revue Stars of David, and has written material for the Broadway Inspirational Voices and BCEA’s Gypsy of the Year. He is the recipient of awards and grants from Jonathan Larson, Richard Rodgers, Daryl Roth, Kitty Carlisle Hart, ASCAP, and the NEA. He is a proud member of ASCAP and the Dramatist Guild. Nathan’s current projects include an adaptation of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s film Amélie, as well as commissions from Lincoln Center Theater and Playwrights Horizons.

First Round Jury

Timothy Blanchard, Talent Buyer & Owner, TDC Shows
Jeffrey Chappell, Director of Jazz Studies, Goucher College
Brandi Diggs, Vocalist; International School of Music Instructor
Joel Friedman, Composer, Lecturer/Faculty Member, Catholic University
Sara Jones, Jazz & Commercial Voice Professor, Director of the Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Towson University
Martha Randall, Lecturer, Voice & Vocal Pedagogy, University of Maryland 
Anthony Randolph, Department of Music Chair, Howard University
Daniel Shores, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Music Production and Recording Technology, Shenandoah University
Janet Standford, Artistic Director, Imagination Stage 
David Zobell, Education Director, Signature Theatre

*Special thanks to the following judges who will be attending the rescheduled concert on March 14th to jury the competition and select the Award winners.

  • Joel Friedman, Composer; Lecturer at Catholic University
  • Holly Montgomery, Singer/Songwriter
  • Eric Schaeffer, Co-founder and Artistic Director of Arlington’s Signature Theatre