Delight at IAYO / PENNEYS Achievement Awards

The 11th Festival of Youth Orchestras also saw the presentation of the 2005 PENNEYS/IAYO Youth Orchestra Achievement Awards. This year we were delighted to announce a substantial increase in the prize money for the awards to € 1,000 each. We are extremely grateful to PENNEYS for their continued and valuable sponsorship of these awards. We were also very pleased to have a distinguished panel of judges for the awards, comprising Festival Director Candace Whitehead, journalist and com-poser Declan Townsend and composer and performer John Godfrey.

The award for Artistic Achievement went to County Wexford Youth Orchestra for the Wexford Suite and Boogie 1980-2005 – a project that involved collaboration between the County Wexford Youth Orchestra, and composer Fergus Johnston (see Dec ’05 Newsnotes). The challenge was to compose and perform a major work to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the foundation of the orchestra. Eileen Herlihy, who accepted the award on behalf  of the County Wexford Youth Orchestra, said: ‘We were all thrilled with the award and the orchestra (who travelled up to the festival specially) sang their delight in the bus going home’.

The PENNEYS/IAYO Award for Organisational Achievement went to the Young European Strings to recognise their tour of Hungary. The award was accepted by Gina Maria McGuinness, leader of the YES Chamber Orchestra, capping off a very successful day for YES, who had opened the festival earlier in the day

The PENNEYS/IAYO Award for a Development Programme was given to St Peter’s College Orchestra, Dunboyne Co. Meath, for their establishment of a free violin tuition pro-gramme, and their integration with the local community through a programme of free recitals and visits to local social groups (see page 3 for an in-depth article on the orchestra). Cathy Desmond, the director of St Peter’s College Orchestra, accepted the award with great pride and acknowledged that ‘the award has given us a great boost and endorsement and the prize money will enhance our bank of instruments’.