Two East Antrim accordionists won two firsts and a second prize at the UK Accordion Championships held in Liverpool recently.
Jonny Wilson, from Larne, and Emma Dunlop, from Carrick are students of East Antrim Accordion School.
Fifteen-year-old Jonny added to his growing tally of UK prizes by winning the 16 and under Polka in fine style with a mark of 92. This was the highest mark awarded in the entire championships which ran over two days.
Last year, Jonny won the 14 and under Polka title and it was a tremendous achievement, this year, to win the 16 and under at his first attempt. He is also the first soloist from the East Antrim Accordion School to be awarded a first prize in consecutive years.
Jonny and Emma then combined to win the higher elementary duet section with a performance which earned them the highest duet mark of the championships. This was another first for East Antrim Accordion School as they were the first students from the school to win a duet Section at the championships.
Fourteen-year-old Emma Dunlop, from Carrick, was placed second against a strong field in the higher elementary solo section and she too has a growing tally of UK prizes section.
Last year, Emma won the elementary prize and the previous year was placed in the top three in both her graded and Polka sections.
Principal of the school Clyde Johnston said he was delighted with the results adding that they had both worked very hard during the past few months and fully deserved their success.
He said that it was a great boost for one of his students to receive the highest mark at the National Championships and also to win a duet section for the first time to add to the eight championships solo sections and numerous ensemble and orchestra first places, won over the years, under his direction.
Since opening in 1989, East Antrim Accordion School has gone from strength to strength. As well as getting Larne recognised as an official examining centre, Clyde has been appointed the college’s Northern Ireland representative and is a member of the Teachers Advisory Council.
Open to all ages from five years upwards, East Antrim Accordion School is organised along similar lines to piano schools with pupils being taught to read music and play both the treble and bass keyboards of this very popular instrument. They can also be prepared for examinations, as set by the British College of Accordionists, compete in various music festivals or simply play for fun.
In addition, the school runs music theory classes which is open to all music students not just accordionists.
Contact Clyde at 028 2827 2258 or 07882 456 880.
For those who do not have an accordion, the school has a number of instruments that can be borrowed.