On Friday 22nd February, nine pupils from Wallace Hall set off to Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland for the Northern Ireland Open Accordion Championships.
For many of the primary pupils it was their first experience of this Irish Competition. It felt like we were much further away from home as we had the long car journey to Cairnryan and then two and a half hours on the ferry. Thankfully it wasn’t far from Belfast to Carrickfergus.
Saturday morning meant an early start to get the Loughshore Hotel, Carrickfergus, for the competition. The competition was going to run from 9am until 4.30pm so some of us were in for a very long day. We had done as much practising as we could, but we were all still very nervous. The four sections that I entered were over by 12pm but Darroch, Ellie and Daisy all had classes to compete in later into the afternoon. Everyone played in different sections that included solos, duets and groups. The primary pupils have their own accordion group and the academy pupils also have their own group, which were both entered in the competition.
The standard of the competition was very high. The Wallace Hall Academy Accordion group were only one mark off the highest overall mark of the day and we all felt very happy about that. All our hard work with Keith Dickson, our accordion tutor, paid off.
The day ended with the prize-giving and a traditional Scottish ceilidh. The ceilidh tunes were played by Corey Anderson (Penpont Primary) on the bagpipes, accompanied by Keith Dickson on the keyboard. Everybody got up from their seats to dance and enjoy the music and, after the awards were handed out, all of Keith’s pupils got together for a big group photo with all our awards.
We set off for home on Sunday morning. Overall, we had an enjoyable and successful trip to Ireland coming home with some 1st prizes, some 2nd prizes and a handful of 3rd prizes.