Young musicians battle in Haywards Heath for £1,000 bursary

Young musicians from all over Sussex will compete for a prestigious music bursary as part of the Coro Nuovo Music & Monarchy concert.
Claire WardClaire Ward
Claire Ward

The choir, founded five years ago by Catherine Kent and international tenor Andrew Rees, has selected four aspiring musicians to vie for its Young Musician of the Year Competition following auditions in early June.

Ayla Sahin (violin), Claire Ward (soprano), Gideon Brooks (trumpet) and Rebekah Smith (soprano) will all battle for a £1,000 bursary designed to support their musical studies, as well as the chance to perform with the choir at future concerts.

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Music & Monarchy marks the second time that Coro Nuovo has awarded the bursary to an up-and-coming musician, after saxophonist Hannah Corcoran was selected by judges last year.

Gideon BrooksGideon Brooks
Gideon Brooks

The evening will also commemorate the 65th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II with a programme that includes British and royalty-themed classics such as ‘Zadok the Priest’, ‘Greensleeves’ and the Triumphal Chorus from Aida.

‘I Love all Beauteous Things’, composed for the Queen’s 90th birthday by Judith Weir, will also be performed, along with a tribute to Dame Vera Lynn.

The concert takes place on Sunday, July 16 (7.30pm), at the Ascension Church, Haywards Heath.

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Book tickets online at or call 07740 946276.

Gideon BrooksGideon Brooks
Gideon Brooks

The finalists

Ayla Sahin (violin) is 18 years old and lives in Brighton. She has just completed her A levels at Hurstpierpoint College and later this year goes on to start her studies at the Royal Academy.

Claire Ward (soprano) is 24 years old and was born and brought up in Crawley. She is a graduate from Durham University but is now in her first year studying for her masters in vocal studies at the Royal Academy.

Gideon Brooks (trumpet) is 22 and from Bognor Regis. He was an undergraduate at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama but is now in his first year of postgraduate studies at Guildhall.

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Rebekah Smith (soprano) is 24 and from Hove. Previously an undergraduate at Trinity Laban she is now in her first year of a two-year masters course at the Royal Academy.

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