A TALENTED teenage pianist from Burton will be flying the flag for the town as she competes to be crowned as Young Musician of the Year 2014.
Hayley Parkes is one of five young people who will be tickling the ivories in the hope of entering the final at the start of next month,.
If she wins her category, she will then go on to try for the title in the BBC competition, which will be screened live to millions of viewers when it takes place in May.
“I’m feeling ok about it. I’m a little bit nervous, but I think it will be a good opportunity to play and really enjoy it. I’m used to performing, but not necessarily doing it in front of a TV camera, but we’ll see how it goes.”
Hayley, who is from Stapenhill, entered the competition last year, following encouragement from one of her tutors at the Royal Northern College of Music, in Manchester.
She has been studying music since she was just 12, when she was picked for a place at the prestigious Chetham’s School of Music.
Since then, she has gone from strength to strength, performing at major venues including the Bridgewater Hall, in Manchester, and the Royal Albert Hall.
Despite her success, she said it was ‘a surprise’ to reach this point in the competition.
“I didn’t expect to get this far at all, but I’ll just go and do my best and see what happens. I know my mum and dad are really happy – I think they’re more excited than me.”
Hayley’s mum Katie agreed.
“We’re very proud. To get where she has done is quite an achievement,” she added.
The heats and semi-finals are due to take place in Cardiff at the start of March.
Other musicians taking part range from 13-18 years of age.
“I think it’s great it’s supporting young musicians who want to forge a career doing what they love to do. It’s great to be part of a competition that really supports this sort of thing and helps young people do something they are passionate about,” Hayley said.