Education Events

Northern Ireland Accordion Competition 2017 – Review & Results

Truly Mills
Truly Mills

This years Northern Ireland Open Accordion Championships was held at The Belfast Loughshore Hotel in Carrickfergus (Saturday 25 February 2017). The day drew participants from all over the UK and Republic of Ireland together for a fabulous musical extravaganza. A special recognition should be paid to Gerry Kelly’s accordion school from Co. Meath and the Chilton School of Music in Co. Cavan who both brought a number of contestants. The Championships are recognised by the NAO as a qualifying round for the UK Championships to be held in Liverpool and some of the winners will go on to that competition later in the year. Organiser Clyde Johnston is to be commended on a brilliant accordion festival, enjoyed by all and as usual the event was a huge success.

The competition element was the focus of the day with Sarah McEvoy and Ivan Black acting as adjudicators. It must be said they were made to work hard and the day was not an easy one for them. There was a full line up of competitors in all age groups on 3 separate stages/performance areas. There were many stand out performances during the day as well as several outstanding competitors. Louise Boomer from nearby Islandmagee had a stunning haul of five first prizes that included Senior Polka, Musette & Frosini sections, she even teamed up with her teacher to win  the Intermediate duet section. Truly Mills from Larne also had a great day with four firsts including the 9 & under championship solo! Ciaran Gilligan, playing Scandalli, from Hertfordshire won three sections. The list of winners goes on… (Full results for all the events can be seen in the table at the bottom of this page).

The event was supported by large a trade area with a surprising number of accordions exhibited, along with various accessories and services. Present were Frazer Mclellan accordion repairer, Sean O’Neills Music Shop, Rob Howard (accordion books), Alan Shute (Bugari, Salterelle, Allessandrini, Delicia), Barry Smith (Accordion Post Magazine), The Box and Fiddle magazine and Glitterbug bags.

Some images from the day!

Northern Ireland is particularly known for its marching bands and the event brings a special flavour to this national stage unlike any that of any other event in the UK. As always the orchestral sections drew the biggest audiences and some brilliant performances were judged. The highlight of the day was the Grand Finale when four marching bands combined (Aughafatten, Lily of the Valley & Pride of the Birches, Blades of Steel and Galanthia). Clyde Johnston introduced, led the bands as the conductor and played his accordion at the same time. Over sixty accordions plus drums sent shivers down the backs of the audience and got back a huge round of applause in return. See the video (film courtesy  of below).

Other highlights of the day included Nigel Pasby & Helen Newton from Berkshire who borrowed two accordions and performed several duets in the afternoon, much to the delight of the audience. Alan Shute also joined the massed accordion band for the final performance, sight reading from the miniature music normally mounted on top an accordion for marching band use! Of course the prize giving is a very important part of these events and Ruth Campbell, who has been Stage manager at the festival since its inception, made the presentations. As well as those listed below a Special Merit award was given to Adam Wilkinson in recognition of a lifetimes service to the accordion movement. Clyde has asked us to pass on thanks to all who helped and made the day so special.

Credits, Clyde Johnston, Alan Shute & Accordion Post for information & pictures above.


Junior RecitalMadison Doherty
Championship Solo 13 & UnderMolly McKenna
Championship Solo 11 & UnderCassie Honan
Championship Solo 9 & UnderTruly Mills
Advanced Solo Own ChoiceKatya Murray
Hi Intermediate Solo Test PieceCiaran Gilligan
Hi Intermediate Solo Own ChoiceCiaran Gilligan
Late Starters Hi Intermediate SoloLouise Boomer
Intermediate Solo Test PieceRobert Caffrey
Intermediate Solo Own ChoiceTara Sullivan
Hi Elementary Solo Test PieceMolly McKenna
Hi Elementary Solo Own ChoiceMolly McKenna
Elementary Solo Test PieceMichael Leavey
Elementary Solo Own ChoiceCassie Honan
Higher Preparatory Solo Test PieceAmy Murray
Higher Preparatory Solo Own ChoiceAmy Murray
Late Starters Hi Preparatory SoloMichael Daly
Preparatory Solo Own ChoiceEmma Thornton
Preliminary Solo Test PieceMicheal McKinnon
Preliminary Solo Own ChoiceMicheal McKinnon
Introductory Solo Own ChoiceMadeline Hughes
Senior PolkaLouise Boomer
Polka Solo 12 & UnderCiaran Gilligan
Polka Solo 10 & UnderTruly Mills
Senior Musette SoloLouise Boomer
Musette Solo 11 & UnderLaura Dunlop
Musette Solo 9 & UnderTruly Mills
Senior   Scottish Traditional SoloAlan Shute
Scottish Traditional Solo 12 & UnderLaura Dunlop
Late Starters Scottish Traditional SoloMichael Daly
Senior Frosini SoloLouise Boomer
Junior Frosini SoloCharlotte McKenna
Open SoloCiara Masterson
Jazz SoloMatt Murdoch
Tango SoloJuliann Bouchard
Irish Traditional 12 & UnderSean Brady
Late Starters Irish TraditionalMichael Daly
Sacred SoloEvelyn Moore
Sacred Solo 10 & UnderTruly Mills
Hi Intermediate DuetEvelyn Moore & Clyde Johnston
Intermediate Duet O/CLouise Boomer & Clyde Johnston
Elementry Duet T/PMichael Leavey & Laura Masterson
Sacred DuetEvelyn Moore & Clyde Johnston
Accordion + Another InstrumentAlan Shute & Susanna Brooking
Advanced GroupEast Antrim Accordion Ensemble
Sacred March Group Own ChoiceEast Antrim Sacred Ensemble
Sacred Group Own ChoiceEast Antrim Sacred Ensemble
MozartEvelyn Moore & Clyde Johnston               Silver
East Antrim Accordion Ensemble            Silver
EntertainmentThe Eazy Skweezers
Elementary Orchestra Own ChoiceRoyal Meath Accordion Orchestra
Preparatory Orchestra Own ChoiceCastletown PreparatoryOrchestra
Showband Entertainment AwardsEast Antrim Seniors                                      Gold
Accordion Club BandEast Antrim Seniors Orchestra
Senior Orchestra MarchEast Antrim Seniors
Intermediate Orchestra MarchLily of the Valley Accordion Band
Sacred OrchestraEast Antrim Seniors
Intermediate Marching Band TestLily of the Valley Accordion Band
Intermediate Marching Band OCLily of the Valley Accordion Band
Sacred Marching Band OCAughafatten Accordion Band
Marching Band Drum CorpPride of the Birches Accordion Ban
Orchestral PercussionEast Antrim Seniors
Best Overall PerformanceMadison Doherty

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