2006 Frank Maher Music Scholarships
Budding sixth year musicians from secondary schools all over Dublin performed at the annual "Father Frank Maher Music Scholarship" last night in Castleknock College - one of the largest classical music scholarships open to secondary school students in Ireland.
Pianist Ayane Yamanaka who attends the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama won the 2006 Classical Music competition which is sponsored by Top Security. Out of six finalists Ayane picked up first prize for her beautiful performance of Prelude op.23 No 6 by Rachmaninoff and Prelude from Pour le Piano by Claude Debussy. Speaking of her delight at winning the €2,000 prize-money Ayane, who comes from Aichi in Japan and is studying for her Leaving Certificate at Dominican College, Sion Hill said:
"I just can't believe I've won because the standard was so high. This means so much to me - I may now be able to stay in Ireland and pursue my love of music even further. I would really like to study performance music at DIT. This prize-money will make a big difference and brings my dream of becoming a professional musician closer to reality."
In its fourth year, the "Father Frank Maher Music Scholarship" has a total annual bursary of €6,000, donated by security company Top Security. It is held in memory of Frank Maher, CM, a former music teacher at Castleknock College from 1959-1998. The scholarship, which has been held in Castleknock College since its inception, is open to sixth year students and its aim is to promote musical life, assist cultural exchange and promote young and talented musicians.
Last night the finalists showcased their talents by playing two contrasting pieces using a range of instruments. Along with Ayane other DIT students included Violin: Deirdre Reddy from Loreto High School Beaufort, Rathfarnham and Oboe: Claire O'Brien from Loreto High School Beaufort, Rathfarnham. Last year's winner, Karen Abe of Mount Sackville Secondary School in Dublin 15, also performed on the night. Over the past year Karen has been busy developing her musical talent and has used the prize-money to partake in a summer course with the National Symphony Orchestra as well as taking piano and trumpet lessons. She is now studying Music and Maths in NUI, Maynooth and is taking music lessons with the Royal Irish Academy of Music. Karen has also performed with the National Youth Orchestra and in the National Concert Hall.
Speaking on the night Mark Gleeson, General Manager of Top Security said: "Each participant can take great pride in their achievement and performance here tonight. They have raised the bar for next year's competition when we expect to have even more schools involved." For the past four years the "Father Frank Maher Music Scholarship" was open only to Castleknock College, the hosting school for the competition. The 2005 scholarship was then opened up to a few local schools in Castleknock and, on the success of this, it was decided to extend the competition to a wider community of schools in the greater Dublin area. It is hoped that in the coming years it will develop into a National scholarship.
The bursary may be used by the scholarship winner for attendance at a recognised place of tuition, a course of study in Ireland or abroad, or on a purchase deemed necessary to assist in the development of their talent.
Castleknock College remains indebted to pastman Emmet O'Rafferty, Chairman of Top Security, who also continued to sponsor awards for younger students within Castleknock College itself and in 2006 those recipients were -
- 1st YEAR: Christopher Devaney. Evan Glynn. Ronan Hourican. Conor Nash.
- 2nd YEAR: Shokri Raoof. Adam Storey. Shane Gahan.
- 3rd YEAR: Conor McCrossan.
- 4th YEAR: Martin Freeman.