East Antrim Seniors triumph at Irish Accordion Championships

Clyde Johnson,  MD of East Antrim Seniors, with the trophy for the Orchestra Entertainment section. INLT-14-715-con
Clyde Johnson, MD of East Antrim Seniors, with the trophy for the Orchestra Entertainment section. INLT-14-715-con

Accordionists from East Antrim have won three major titles while competing in the prestigious Irish Accordion Championships.

The two-day musical extravaganza, held at the New Grange Hotel, Navan, Co Meath, attracted the cream of Irish accordionists.

Pride of place went to East Antrim Seniors Accordion Orchestra, who did the double by winning the Adult Orchestra title and the coveted Orchestral Entertainment section ahead of the highly-acclaimed Castletown Senior Accordion Orchestra.

The group were awarded a whopping 95 points in each class.

In the Accordion Solo Sections, pupils from East Antrim Accordion School also had a great day with Louise Boomer from Newtownabbey retaining her Adult Solo title and 15-year-old Emma Dunlop from Carrickfergus clinching second place in the Intermediate Solo.

This was the 44th All Ireland Festival run by the Irish Accordion Association and it attracted a large number of entries.

The adjudicators were John Gould from Birmingham and Julie Luck from London.

Orchestra MD and Principle of East Antrim Accordion School Clyde Johnston said he was delighted with how the orchestra and soloists had played.

They all performed to a very high standard and were great ambassadors for the East Antrim Area.

The orchestra is hosting a charity concert in on Friday April 10 at the McNeill Theatre, Larne Leisure Centre, Tower Road, Larne.

All proceeds will go towards Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP).

Special guests at the concert will be soprano singer Denise Leigh and her accordionist husband Stefan Andrusyschyn.

Both Denise and Stefan are blind and their one-year-old son Dimitri has inherited the gene.

If there is no cure by the time he reaches his teens he may lose his sight as well.

Since winning Channel 4’s Operatunity, Denise has gone on to sing all over the world, and was honoured to have performed at the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in Beijing and the London 2012 Paralympics.

To enjoy a feast of accordion music and singing while supporting a very worthwhile charity come along to the McNeill Theatre, Larne Leisure Centre on Friday April 10.

Tickets may be obtained in advance at the Leisure Centre, Larne Tourist Information Centre, or from any Orchestra member.

Doors open at 7.30pm with the concert beginning at 8pm

The Orchestra rehearses every Monday from 7:30pm and is open to everyone.

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