As part of the Y4M network, the Coalition for Music Education has created the NUFSICISUM award. This special award is in honour of Phil Nimmons, Canada’s oldest working jazz music educator.

Who can win a NUFSICISUM award?
Nominees must be students attending a Canadian institution. A NUFSICISUM award will be given to students who have made a special positive impact in their school music program.

What Will The Winner Receive?
The winner will receive a cash reward of $200, along with a plaque. They will also be invited to a Coalition event to be recognized by community members and educators.


We believe that music is fun!

The Coalition believes in celebrating the leadership skills of youth who are making a difference in their schools and communities through music. The NUFSICISUM Award (read it backwards!) is given to five youth leaders from across the country who are creating positive change through music, where they live.

Do you know a passionate youth leader who deserves recognition for their dedication and support of music in their school or community? We are now accepting nominations for the 2018 NUFSICISUM Award. Winners and their school will each receive $200 in prize money, and exciting leadership opportunities as a Youth4Music Ambassador. Click here to submit an application. 

The 2018 NUFISCISUM winners will be announced on Monday, May 7th

Questions? Contact info [at] musicmakesus [dot] ca

2017 Winners

Click the icon on the left to read each winner’s bio!

Tom Davis is a recent graduate of Vancouver Technical Secondary School who was born and raised in East Vancouver British Columbia. Since the age of 7 music has fascinated him and he has further gone on to study Voice, Piano, Saxophone, and Percussion. While he studies privately for piano, he has under the direction of Mark Reid, Amanda Kilburn, and Annabelle Ip participated in a variety of ensembles spanning choirs, concert bands, and symphonic orchestras. Tom takes extreme pride in being a member of the Van Tech Music community and has dedicated countless hours towards it. He leads by example in hopes to see the impact music has had on others lives as it has on his own. As one of the 2017 NUFSICISUM award winners Tom can’t wait to do his part to help youth across Canada exercise a voice that will shake the nation!

Jessica recently graduated from Collège Jean-Eudes, a private high school in Montreal, where she has participated in a music program for five years. Passionate about music since a very young age, she has been playing the piano for over ten years and saxophone over five years. She was twice ranked first in Quebec for the Royal Conservatory of Music piano examinations. At 15 years old, she completed the McGill Conservatory college-level examination in piano with high distinction.

Throughout high school, she attended several prestigious music competitions with the school jazz band. Recently, they won a gold medal award at the MusicFest Canada competition. Besides playing saxophone in the school band, she has also started her own marching band, with whom she has performed at many sport events.

Even though she is now busy studying health science at Marianopolis College, she still keeps her love for music. She strongly believes in the empowerment of today’s youth through music and she hopes to transmit her passion to all of Canada’s youth.

I have always had a love for music, ever since I was little. I used to go to my Grandmas house and play her electric organ and although I didn’t know how to play it, I always had fun. When my cousins were up visiting, two of them would go under the bench and play the foot pedals, while the rest of us played on the manuals.

My music career started in grade two when I joined the school choir, which I am still in to this day. In grade six, I started playing Piano for them and have been accompanying them ever since. Sadly, this will be my last year accompanying them since our school only goes to grade nine, which I am currently going into. We do a Christmas tour and a summer tour where we travel and sing at all the senior homes in the area. All the residents really enjoy our performances and visiting with us afterwards. We also perform annually at the North Peace Performing Arts Festival and at many school ceremonies.

In grade four, I joined our Catholic Church choir, which was a great experience for me and soon after, I started taking Piano lessons. Right away, I was interested in playing the Piano and Organ at Church. My Piano teacher, also the Church Music Director, started to show me chording, and right away, I caught on. Next thing I knew, I had her old set of Church books and was playing alongside her at Church. Now, I am a Music Leader and a main director of music ministry at Church. I am currently a member of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians and hold my Grade 5 Piano and Theory with the Royal Conservatory of Music. I enjoy playing the Piano, Organ and Guitar. In my free time, I also collect old LP’s and enjoy curling and helping out at the Curling Club.

I feel it is important to continue music education in schools, because for many of kids that is the only chance they have to learn about music or an instrument. I would like to thank Miss. Gall and Mrs. Regal for never giving up on me, and of course my Mom and Dad. I am honored to have received the NUFSICISUM award this year. I encourage all young musicians to never give up and keep persevering, because there are many opportunities waiting for you.

Cara Lee Callahan was born November 8, 2002 in Carbonear, Newfoundland and Labrador. She lives in Spaniards Bay, NL with her parents Angie and Andrew Callahan, and younger brother Cameron. Cara attended Holy Redeemer School in Spaniards Bay from kindergarten to grade nine and is preparing for high school this coming fall at Ascension Collegiate in Bay Roberts. From a young age Cara has always had a love for music and started playing guitar at age eleven. Since then music has been a way for Cara to express herself, her personality always shines through her playing and singing. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing at musical functions within the community and writing. In 2016 Cara’s dad gave her a recording session for Christmas, this encouraged her to write her own song to record in studio. Cara dedicated her first original song titled “Who would I be” to Stephanie Menchions, which was Cara’s sixth grade teacher who initially inspired her to show her musical talent. Since then they have established a special bond and Stephanie continues to support Cara every step of the way. When Cara’s song was released in February 2017 her music teacher at Holy Redeemer, Mrs. Brenda Hunt requested for her to perform her song live for grades kindergarten to nine. Cara greatly accepted the offer and was later asked for her song to be used for Music Monday to represent Holy Redeemer school. When Mrs.Hunt asked Cara to teach her song to grades kindergarten to nine, she saw the leadership role Cara was taking with music in school and decided to nominate her for the Nufsicisum youth leadership award. On May 1st while Cara was surrounded by her family, friends, and staff at Holy Redeemer she was informed that she was one of the six winners for the Nufisicisum award. Cara is extremely excited for this opportunity and looks forward to exploring more opportunities through her music in the future.

Sophie Hicks is a recent graduate of Lord Dorchester Secondary School in Dorchester, Ontario.  From a young age, Sophie has expressed a passion for music.  She began with the piano at age 6, but has since expanded her knowledge of instruments through playing the guitar, ukulele, and double bass, in addition to singing.  Sophie has been an active member of her music council as well as an engaged student in her band and vocal classes throughout her four years at high school.  She was able to help get an extracurricular choir up and running at her school and assisted in the score selection.  Sophie is also a young composer whose piece, Still Asleep, was featured in an original play, Fermata by Cassidy A Hicks.  Sophie has also had the opportunity to enter a choral piece, Selective Snowfall, into the London Kiwanis Music festival in a special “Original Composition” category, where she won second place.  She has spread her love of music throughout her community by leading worship for 6 years at Hope Congregational Christian Fellowship, a local church in Dorchester.  Sophie is currently enrolled in Algoma University for studies in History.  Though her program at university is not specifically centred around music, she continues to work as a musician and composer through participating in the Dark Crop festival where she played original folk music, and becoming a part of the Algoma University Choir.  Sophie is extremely grateful for all of the opportunities she has had to express her passion for music, and she will continue to share her music as well as advocate the importance of the art form.

Chelsea Atkinson is a 17 year-old singer/songwriter from Springhill, Nova Scotia, currently in grade 12 at Springhill High School. She has had a strong passion for music for as long as she can remember, and began singing at the age of eight. Throughout the years, she has expanded her musical interest by teaching herself to play piano, ukulele, guitar and bass, in addition to singing. Chelsea has been an active member of her school’s music program since the seventh grade, and many musical events in her community. She has performed for various benefit and fundraiser concerts, the Kraft Celebration Tour when the event stopped in her hometown, and has also opened for award winning Canadian country music artists such as Brett Kissel and George Canyon. Chelsea is a huge advocate of mental health, and uses music as a way to express her support towards the matter, and also as a coping tool to deal with her previous struggles with anxiety. “My school’s music program has been a such an amazing factor in my life, and my music career. Without the program, and the help of my fellow student musicians, and music teachers, I would never have had a lot of the opportunities that I have had thus far. Having the program active at my school helped me become a better musician as a whole, and I always do what I can to give back to the program. I believe that music in education matters, it helps students become more creative, well rounded people, and keeps them interested in learning. The way the news was broken to me was just an example of how supportive my fellow students and teachers are. All students were invited into an assembly to view the Music Monday live stream. During the announcement of the award winners, my name was called and the whole assembly cheered and praised me, it was an amazing feeling. I am extremely grateful to have received the NUFSICISUM award, and I am very excited to see what other opportunities arise in my musical life.”

Past Winners

2016 Winners

  • Shana Brown, Woodland Elementary School (Dildo, NL)
  • James Klassen, River East Collegiate (Winnipeg, MB)
  • Hannah Carruthers, Silver Creek Public School (Georgetown, ON)
  • Kyle Orlando, Blessed Trinity Catholic Secondary School (Grimsby, ON)
  • Shannon Huston, Norkam Senior Secondary School (Kamloops, BC)

2015 Winners

  • Shannon McLaren, Vancouver Technical Secondary School (Vancouver, BC)
  • Stephanie Staibano, Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School (Toronto, ON)
  • Nhi Trinh-Le, York Memorial C.I (Toronto, ON)
  • Samantha Lavin, York House School (Vancouver, BC)
  • Rachel Copreros, Eldorado Public School (Brampton, ON)

2014 Winners

  • Brent Cater, Keswick High School (Keswick, ON)
  • Nick Johnson, Kwantlen Park & Greater Vancouver Youth Music Academy (Surrey, BC)

Do you know someone in your school that has made a significant difference to your music program? Tell us about them and what they’ve done?