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HISTORY

Every year since 1993 the Rotary Club of Comber has organised the NI Young Musician of the Year event to encourage aspiring young musicians to improve their performance skills in public.


In the early years, the Club used the event to raise funds for local charities. Of the £85,000 total the main beneficiaries have been the NSPCC, the Cancer Fund for Children and the NI Music Therapy Trust.


Among our distinguished adjudicators have been John Anderson, Leonard Pugh, Philip Hammond, Stephanie Hughes, Gillian Morrow, Declan McGovern, Simon Taylor, Robin Hewitt, David Drinkell, Michael McCracken, Richard Yarr and Edwin Gray.


We have taken the finals of the contest to splendid venues such as Belfast Castle, Malone House and the Harty Room at Queen’s. Most recently, Strathearn School has hosted both heats and finals.


Well over 1000 young musicians have appeared from all over the province, singing or playing everything from a tin whistle to a tuba, impressing audiences and adjudicators alike. Many have gone on to successful musical careers, while those who have chosen alternative paths have a priceless gift to entertain others. Winners and runners-up have included a guitarist, a bagpiper and two percussionists, and have appeared on UTV and on Radio Ulster’s “Sounds Classical”.


Over the years, we have been fortunate to attract major sponsors such as the Post Office, Tesco, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Matchetts Music. Countless other smaller supporters, both businesses and private individuals, have also contributed generously.