Ava, 11, hit the highest note of all

Killarney Rotary Club’s Young Musician of the Year, Ava Duffy, performs on the night.
Picture: John O’Sullivan, Killarney Photographic

GIFTED Ava Duffy has become the youngest ever winner of Killarney Rotary Club’s annual Young Musician of the Year award.

The 11-year-old from Ballyferriter was crowned at the close of a finalists’ concert in the Gleneagle Hotel following two days of intense competitions in the various categories at the Kerry Diocesan Youth Service Centre on Fair Hill.

Ava is quite an accomplished all-round musician and she entered in the under 12 piano, string and recital categories, winning the overall prize for her piano performance and becoming the first pianist for four years to achieve ultimate success in the competition.

Now in its 18th year, the Young Musician of the Year competition attracted entries from all over Kerry and, before the finalists were chosen, they had an opportunity to perform before the two hugely respected adjudicators, Dr Albert Bradshaw and Lynda Byrne, who are both from Dublin.

Grace Foley: performance

Competitions were held in brass, duets, quartets, modern and percussion, piano, string, voice, woodwind and recitals.

The gala finalists’ concert in the Acoustic Club in the Gleneagle Hotel attracted an audience of close on 200 people and, as a special treat, there was a performance from four previous winners of the Young Musician of the Year competition who have joined forced to create a new band.

Last year’s winner Harry O’Connor, 2013 winner Tara Viscardi, 2007 winner Ciara Finnegan and 2004 winner Grace Foley call their band Suspension and they delighted the audience with a power-packed performance. Grace Foley was also MC for the finalists’ concert.

The James Gleeson Memorial Award, in memory of the popular Killarney businessman who died in tragic circumstances, was won this year by Mara Treacy who has participated in various categories, from under eight all the way to senior.

The trophy was presented by the late James’s wife, Grace O’Neill.

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