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Young musicians honoured in memory of Eimear Noonan

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THE winners of the Eimear Noonan Music Bursary Awards have been announced following a hugely successful virtual Carpe Diem Sing and Play Challenge which raised funds to support the initiative. Sarah Hannify is a violist from Galway and currently studying a BMus at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. She was one of those who received the happy news this month that she was selected as one of two winners of an Award of Excellence for 2020-21. She has been playing the viola since the age of four and has been a dedicated member of numerous local and national orchestras as well as a member of Welsh and Scottish National Youth Orchestras.

The other Award of Excellence winner is Siobhán Brady, a young harpist from Limerick who has been announced as the other recipient of an Award of Excellence. Siobhán is an accomplished and experienced harpist on both the Irish level and pedal concert harp. She is currently a third-year student at Cork School of Music studying for a BMus degree with internationally renowned harpist, Anne-Marie Papin Labazordiere.

Siobhán is accustomed to performing on the international stage and having won two international harp Bursary Award winner David Kennedy is an aspiring young classical singer from Galway. He is currently studying with Professor Owen Gilhooly and repetiteur Gráinne Dunne on the BMus (Vocal Studies) course at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Luckily for David his vocal teacher and renowned tenor Owen Gilhooly was familiar about Carpe Diem Sing and Play and the Eimear Noonan Music Bursary and encouraged David to send in an application.

Caoileann Smith is another recipient of an Eimear Noonan Bursary Award for 2020-21. Caoileann’s mother had heard Mary Noonan speak on Ryan Tubridy’s Radio show and like so many others she was moved by the story. A neighbour and former music teacher also connected with Caoileann when she heard about the Carpe Diem campaign and bursary fund. Caoileann is a first year student in CIT Cork School of Music studying for a BA in Musical Theatre.

Bursary recipient Jamie Doherty is a first-year student of Music and Religious Education in Dublin City University Jamie has been playing piano for over ten years and is currently learning to play a variety of other instruments including the accordion.

Galway girl, Emma Flynn is a 19-year-old first year student in BIMM Institute, Dublin studying commercial modern music. A singer from her early days she took lessons with Martina Flaherty when she was younger and more recently with Micheal Durham. She has been involved with musical theatre for about ten years and has always loved it and remembers with fondness her time with Loughrea Youth Theatre from ages 11 to 18.

Mary Duggan from Claregalway, another Bursary Award recipient, started on the musical road at the tender age of six, and today plays the violin, piano, button accordion and melodeon. She plays both classical and traditional styles and has a long-standing connection with various orchestras. She is currently studying a BA in Music at NUIG and hopes to study music abroad for her third year at college and go on further, to teach music at secondary level and elsewhere.

The youngest Bursary recipient for 2020-21, Aimee Banks, is an 18-year-old soprano from Galway. She is currently a first year student of BMus under the direction of Kathleen Tynan, Head of Opera and Vocal Studies at The Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin. Aimee is an award-wining vocalist and currently holds a number of vocal titles, the most recently being “The most Promising Performer ” awarded at the Irené Sandford Competition 2020 at the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

All of these young musicians, while they explore the world of music in different ways, are unified in that each one is touched by the generosity of so many and most particularly by the Noonan family who have in their days of grief created a Bursary Programme in remembrance of their daughter Eimear. She was not only a talented musician and singer herself but also a young lady who lived each day to the full. It is a true testimony to Eimear’s joie de vivre when friends and family from around the world gather in music and song, coupled with her beloved Coole Music and UCC Orchestras who have united in concert to begin an annual celebration of Eimear Noonan’s beautiful life. Each November the Carpe Diem concert usually held in Gort or most recently online reminds each one of us to ‘seize the day’ while it simultaneously allows welcome reward to young musicians from the West of Ireland.


About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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