Tom Myles (16) from Ballygowan, Newtownards, a student at Regent House School on Circular Road, Newtownards, was one of only seven finalists at the 2018 Top Security Frank Maher Classical Music Awards held at the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin on 5th October 2018. It is Ireland’s largest competition for second level schools with a 5,000 euros top prize for the winner.

Tom plays the clarinet and performed two pieces on the night, ‘No.1 Zart and mit Ausdruc from Fantasiestucke for Clarinet and Piano Op 73’ by Robert Schumann and ‘Solo De Concours’ by Andre Messager. He was presented with a 300 euro bursary by Emmet O’Rafferty, chairman of the Top Security Group

The Awards were created in 2001 by Emmet O’Rafferty to honour the memory of his late teacher, Fr Frank Maher, who taught music at Castleknock College, his old school. Their aim is to showcase outstanding young musical talent in Ireland and are open to sixth year post-primary students of strings, woodwind, brass and piano. The €5,000 top prize must be used to attend a recognised place of tuition, a course of study in Ireland or abroad or on a purchase necessary for the development of their talent.

Emmet O’Rafferty said “As always, there was an incredibly high standard of entries, with top class performances from all the finalists on the night, which gave our judges the unenviable task of selecting the winner. Tom now joins the growing line of extremely talented young musicians who have taken part in this competition and I wish him the very best in his future career.”

Previous winners have gone on to attend some of the world’s most prominent music colleges, which includes Shenandoah University of Virginia, Conservatoire Nationale Superieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, Kronberg Academy in Germany, the Meadows School of the Arts in Dallas, Texas, the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music in London to name a few.