Hadleigh’s Rosa Simon Music Fund-sponsored young musician contest could become an annual event

Lydia Clifford and Thomas Simon, winners in Hadleigh's inaugural Young Musician of the Year competit

Lydia Clifford and Thomas Simon, winners in Hadleigh's inaugural Young Musician of the Year competition - Credit: Archant

Organisers of a town’s first ever young musician contest on Saturday have declared it a great success.

More than 40 children entered the Hadleigh and District Young Musician of the Year event sponsored by the Rosa Simon Music Fund.

The fund was set up after three-year-old Rosa died last year in a road accident outside her home.

It aims to give local children and young people more musical opportunities by purchasing instruments for all ages, funding tuition costs, paying for music therapy and donating money to musical groups. The fund has raised more than £18,000 since Rosa’s death in June 2014.

Held in Hadleigh’s United Reformed Church the young musician contest saw young people of both primary and high school age groups demonstrating their musical skills in everything from singing to playing a range of instruments.

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Organised by local music teachers Maggie Addison and Elaine Goh and adjudicated by Sudbury-based opera singer Elaine Henson and organist Roger Green, the competition was run in a series of heats throughout Saturday afternoon. Those nominated by the judges then went through to an evening concert final.

After an hour of performances in front of an audience of family and friends the winners were announced.

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In the junior section Thomas Simon, aged eight of Hadleigh, won for his rendition of ‘Where Is Love?’ from the musical Oliver!

Lydia Clifford, aged 15 of Newton Green, scooped the senior prize for a piano arrangement of themes from the film Titanic.

Elaine Goh said: “It was wonderful to see so many young people displaying such skills on a broad range of instruments and singing.

“It was especially pleasing to see that our initial idea for the competition has caught the imagination of the town and surrounding villages.”

Maggie Addison added: “We are so inspired not only by the sheer talent on display but also by the immense courage shown in taking part.

“The ages yesterday ranged from six to 15-years-old. All entrants showed great prowess and tremendous overall potential.”

Paul Simon, from the RSMF, said: “We are honoured to be associated with this inaugural competition.

“It certainly showed the depth and range of local musical talent in our area and it’s about time our young people were given the chance to be able compete in such a way in front of judges and an audience.

“We hope that it will now become a regular event in the calendar.”

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