Triple glory for East Antrim accordionists

Elaine Brennan, Louise Boomer and Derek Preshaw receiving the shield for Most Entertaining Orchestra from IAA Chairman John Chilton at the All Ireland Accordion Festival. INLT 15-610-CON
Elaine Brennan, Louise Boomer and Derek Preshaw receiving the shield for Most Entertaining Orchestra from IAA Chairman John Chilton at the All Ireland Accordion Festival. INLT 15-610-CON
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ACCORDIONISTS from East Antrim have lifted three major titles at the Irish Accordion Championships.

The musical extravaganza, which ran over two days at the New Grange Hotel in Navan, Co Meath, attracted the cream of Irish accordionists.

Pride of place went to East Antrim Juniors, who won the Junior Ensemble section against an international field including competitors from Germany, the home of the accordion.

Formed just over six months ago, the juniors put in an excellent performance and were awarded 93 marks – one of the highest marks of the competition.

Individually, the juniors also gave excellent accounts of themselves in the Solo classes, with all five winning prizes.

Thirteen-year-old Jonathan Wilson (Larne) was awarded third place out of 13 in the U16 Solo, 12-year-old Emma Dunlop (Carrickfergus) was placed second in the U13 Solo and Abigail Park was awarded a gold medal in the U11, while Larne sisters Lauren and Hannah Blackburn were awarded silver medals in their respective U13 and U11 Solo sections.

In the Orchestral classes, East Antrim Seniors did the double by retaining their Late Starters Orchestra title and winning the coveted Orchestral Entertainment section, the first time this trophy has come north of the border.

So well did the orchestra play that the adjudicator, world accordion champion Corey Pesaturo from Boston in the USA, wrote that he wanted to hear more - high praise indeed.

Their performance was very well received and appreciated by the knowledgeable audience, earning them the loudest and longest cheer of the day. In the Adult Solo section, Derek Preshaw from Larne took third place and Agnes Neill from Jordanstown was awarded a gold medal.

This was the 41st All Ireland Festival run by the Irish Accordion Association and it attracted over 240 entries. The adjudicators were world accordion champion Corey Pesaturo and local girl Suzanne Byrne from Dublin.

Orchestra MD and Principle of East Antrim Accordion School, Clyde Johnston stated he was delighted with how all his ensembles and soloists had played with each and every one of them received a prize, which was a remarkable achievement.

“They all performed to a very high standard and were great ambassadors for the East Antrim area,” he said.

Formed in February 2006, East Antrim Seniors Accordion Orchestra consists mainly of adult students and former adult students of the highly successful East Antrim Accordion School.

The Orchestra rehearses every Monday from 7.30pm and is open to all ages, classes and creeds.

Anyone who plays the accordion or drums or is interested in learning should can Clyde Johnston on 028 2827 2258 to find out more about what the Seniors Orchestra, the Juniors Ensemble, East Antrim Accordion School or East Antrim Drumming School has to offer.