music changes young people’s lives


Staffordshire Young Musician competitions for Instrumentalists and Singers, organised by Entrust Music Service Staffordshire, are supported by FOSYM both financially and with volunteer help.

FOSYM’s support over the years has been vital in providing an opportunity to encourage and celebrate the hard work and achievement of young people in their music-making.

Those that win the coveted title of ‘Staffordshire Young Musician’ report how being part of the events has inspired them and given them confidence at a vital stage in their musical journey. It has also opened up opportunities. FOSYM keeps in touch with many past winners and follows their careers with great interest.

FOSYM looks forward to supporting Staffordshire Young Musician Competition Instrumentalist and Singer 2022, and also the new 2022 Staffordshire Young Composers Competition. For more details of how to apply and enter any of these competitions contact the Music Service on



Report on the 2021 event

The first round of the competition was held in early Spring 2021 and well over one hundred entries were received.  Entries for the first round were recorded at home by the young people and submitted electronically.  A number of Music Service adjudicators, experts in their field, made the first choice of those to go through to the final.

The Final took place in July at Riverway, Stafford, and was only the second live music event of the year due to the Covid restrictions.  Both Junior and Senior Competitions saw a range of instruments and voice types represented.  As parents were not able to be in the performance room, due to social distancing, it was streamed out so they could enjoy the concerts in their car or at home.  The performances were excellent, with some very interesting programmes which made up a most enjoyable event.  Adjudicators Andrew Clarke and Simon Chalk gave very well-deserved praise and supportive comments to each performer.

All performers received a gift token from FOSYM.  The four 2021 winners each received a cash prize and a lovely trophy from FOSYM.

Huge thanks must go to FOSYM, to all who took part in both the first round and the Final, the teachers and accompanists and all the families for their support.

2021 Winners are:

Staffordshire Young Musician Instrumental – James Smith (Clarinet)

Staffordshire Young Musician – Singer – Sophie Nock (Soprano)

To see video all of the senior finalists from the Staffordshire Young Musician competition 2021 click here. 

Staffordshire Junior Young Musician – Instrumental – Ryan Bailey (Drum Kit)

Staffordshire Junior Young Musician – Singer – Toby Hall (Treble)

To see video all of the junior finalists from the Staffordshire Young Musician 2021 click here.



James Smith – Clarinet

James is 11 years old and started playing the clarinet just over four years ago with his mum, Sarah Smith.  For the Staffordshire Young Musician Final he was accompanied by Cathy Lamb and performed:

1) 1st Movement, Grave, Concertino for Clarinet, Tartini

2) 4th Movement, Vivace quasi una Samba, Sonata for Clarinet, Lyons

James has been a member of the National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain for the past two years.  He joined Lichfield Cathedral School in September 2018 where he is a member of the school orchestra, clarinet choir, ‘Saxtastic’ and the school choir.

James is also a member of Lichfield Music Centre Wind Band run by Entrust Music Service, Staffordshire and in September 2021 joined Lichfield percussion ensemble on drum kit.  James has performed in Lichfield Cathedral and the Coton Centre and hopes to be able to perform in Symphony Hall in the future.

James is a keen sportsman and has represented his school a number of times.  His favourite sports are short distance running and football.  He currently plays for Whittington Lions and Sharks.

James’s confidence has grown since winning the Staffordshire Young Musician and it was an excellent focus during lockdown.  It has encouraged James to aim for higher achievements.  He is hoping to play a solo with the Royal Sutton Coldfield Orchestra within the next year.  His long term dream is to win the BBC Young Musician of the Year!

FOSYM is a fantastic organisation that helps so many talented children.  The prize money is very generous and James has bought himself a Vandoren mouthpiece with it.

‘Thank you so much for giving me this fantastic opportunity – it was a day I won’t forget.  I particularly appreciated it this year in such difficult times when so much has been cancelled.  I’d like to wish the future young musicians good luck.  My advice to you is just go for it, you never know until you try.  All the hard work is well worth it.’


Sophie Nock – Soprano

My name is Sophie Nock and I am fourteen.  I was at Abbots Bromley School for nine years before it closed and am now home-schooled, having lessons with the teachers who used to work there.  I sing, play the piano, and read, a lot!  The two best-written books I have ever read are The Inheritance Games and I Am Not A Number, which I am now studying in English, having begged my teacher to do it with me.

I am also a poet and writer.  I have written over two hundred poems since September 2020, and am currently working on a novel in my spare time.  My greatest ambitions are to perform solo in a concert at the Albert Hall, become a published author and talk about my books at Hay Festival.  Of course, I would also like to be a teacher (I think), make film versions of some good books, own and run a bookshop and have a Novel Hovel, so I’m going to be busy.

I started singing lessons when I was seven and have been learning ever since, and then started piano lessons a few years later.  I am now working on my Grade Six pieces in both instruments.  I used to perform a lot when I was at school and I really enjoyed it, but since the closure it’s not been possible.  The competition was my first proper performance for two years and I’m really glad FOSYM exists to give so many people, including me, the chance to do so.


Ryan Bailey – Drum Kit

For the final Ryan performed on drumkit and played:

  • You do Something to Me – Weller
  • No One Knows – Homme and Lanegan

Ryan Bailey is in year 4 and attends Horton St Michaels First School near Rudyard. 

Ryan first became passionate about the drums at the age of 2, after seeing his uncle’s band play at a local gig with a very exuberant drummer. 

Ryan loves rock music, his favourite bands being the Foo Fighters and Green Day. He also enjoys going to gigs with his dad, who first took him to see Iron Maiden at the age of 5. It was at this age Ryan started drum lessons with Foden’s percussionist, Mark Landon. 

Mark introduced Ryan to brass band music and got him involved with Macclesfield Youth Brass Band, where he plays different types of percussion and, before lockdown, got experience playing in many local festivals and concerts. 

Ryan’s other interests are painting, reading and swimming


Toby Hall – Treble

For the Final Toby performed:

1) You Raise Me Up – Loveland

2) Veni Veni Emmanuel – John Mason Neale

Toby is passionate about singing, from classical compositions to the emotes on his favourite game Fortnite.  Toby took part with his school in the National Young Voices event singing with thousands of children at the Genting Arena in Birmingham.  As a chorister at Lichfield Cathedral he has been lucky enough to enjoy singing at venues across the UK including Symphony Hall for Radio WM, for Royalty at Tamworth’s year of Aethelflaed festival, at the Wedgewood Factory for their traditional Christmas Carols and in 2019 as the iconic solo of “Walking in the Air” as part of Carrot Productions UK Snowman tour.  As well as going on an international tour singing to cathedral audiences in Germany, in Dresden and Leipzig.

Toby loves to help others, especially enjoying taking part in Lichfield Cathedral’s Music Outreach programme which brings local schools to sing together.  Above all he loves meeting new people and sharing his love of music with young and old.


NOA DEWALLY (Instrumental Winner 2019)

I’m Noa, a second-year music student at the University of Birmingham, primarily studying percussion performance and I was the winner of Staffordshire Young Musician of the Year 2019.

My experiences of playing in multiple years of the competition have inspired me to continue exploring my passion for music, giving me the space to develop the performance skills and the self-confidence to continue studying music at degree level.

Playing alongside with musicians of such high quality in both the heats and final of this competition always pushed me as a musician, with the competitive element between performers (many of whom were my friends from music service ensembles) encouraged me to always endeavour to create performances of a high standard.  Putting this competitive aspect aside, I always remembered Staffordshire Young Musician events as having a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, from both the competitors and the judges, which allowed me to use it as a platform to take musical risks in my playing.

I also remember how the feedback given in performance sessions enabled me to continue developing as a musician.  From these constructive comments I was able to see my performance through an external set of eyes and ears and as a result, I discovered ways of improving my music that I had never considered before!  I always remember that regardless of your ability, the judges would always be supportive of you as a performer, highlighting your successes whilst encouraging further development.

The overall experience of participating and winning Staffordshire Young Musician of the Yeare has shown me how the support and encouagement of FOSYM through this event has been essential in my development as a musician.  Since winning the competition in the summer of 2019, I have been involved in various musical projects including working for the Music for Youth National Festival and being part of the CBSO Youth Ambassador scheme for the academic year 2019-20.  Without the confidence boost that came from participating in and winning Staffordshire Young Musician of the Year, I would have never even tried to apply to be part of incredible opportunities such as these. To see Noa’s winning performance please click here.

DAISY MITCHELL (Vocal Winner 2015)

Daisy won Staffordshire Young Musician of the Year in 2015.  The link below shows Daisy talking about FOSYM and the Staffordshire Young Musician of the Year competition.


Watch Daisy perform ‘Das Rosenband’ by Richard Strauss.