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Iona named musician of the year
Iona Le Gros, Ardfert, winner of the Rotary Club of Killarney Young Musician of the Year final with her friends Emma Hughes, Tara Dore and Aisling O’Carroll. From back left: Orla O’Carroll and Cormac Lawlor, Tralee, at the Great Southern Hotel, Killarney on Sunday.

By Kathy O’Sullivan

A YOUNG Ardfert singer was the winner of this year’s ‘Young Musician of the Year’ competition, which for the first time included young people from all over the county.

Iona Le Gros, from Tralee, is 17 years old and has been studying music for just two years.

Iona was declared the winner of the three day competition at the Great Southern Hotel conference centre on Sunday night.

This is the sixth year Killarney Rotary Club has run the Young Musician of the Year competition and was the first year the competition was extended to include students from both North and South Kerry.

In second place on the night was Kenmare student Kieran Finnegan. The 14-year-old student of Pobail Scoil Inbhear Na Sceine has been taking part in the Young Musician of the Year competition for the past two years and took part in the piano section.

Lispole’s Julie Winters came third on the night. Julie, who is 16-years-old, attends music classes in Dingle and Cork and is a student at Dingle Presentation School. Julie participated in the woodwind section.

The runners up of the competition include Maria O’Connor from Killarney, Margaret Reen from Listowel, Conor Cremin from Killarney, and Katie McCauliffe from Killarney.

There was an overall bursary of €2,000 in prizes on the night. The qualifying rounds were held at the KDYS centre in Killarney on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with over 160 performances taking place over the three-day event. Each participant performed two pieces. Up to 300 people attended Sunday night’s final where the Cork based band Music Collage performed. Last year’s winner of the competition Shane Ladden from Castlemaine also performed on the night. Shane is continuing his musical studies in Cork School of Music.

The President of Killarney Rotary Club, James Foley, said this year’s event was a “fantastic” success and said members of the Rotary Club are already looking forward to next year’s competition.

“This year we extended the competition to young people from all over Kerry while we also introduced three additional categories — duets, trios and quartets. We also had a prize fund of in excess of €2,000.

“The judges were very impressed with all of the performances. We at the Rotary Club believe it is very important that young school-going musicians have an opportunity to perform in public in their chosen discipline,” he added.

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