Andrew Irwin, who was awarded Young Singer of the Year at Fermanagh Feis earlier this year, starts his first term at Chetham's Music School in Manchester on Monday. It is the largest specialist music school in the UK, which regularly collaborates with Manchester's leading cultural venues on a range of projects and initiatives. Andrew, who studied at Portora Royal School for the past five years, had to pass a rigorous audition and selection procedures to gain a place.
This week he received awards from both the Greg Turley Bursary awards administered by the Fermanagh Trust and the Viola Westminster Music Bursary Trust.
Chairman of the Trustees of the Viola Westminster Music Bursary Trust, Lord Belmore, commented: "At the beginning of 1987, some of us decided that we should make a presentation to Viola Duchess in recognition of her great interest of all things Fermanagh. We were overtaken by events when she died in a car crash. Then, because of her strong interest in music, we decided to set up a music bursary with trustees including the Duchess' two daughters, Leonora and Jane".
He added: "We have made a number of awards since 1988. Andrew Irwin seems to be the most talented candidate that we have helped from Fermanagh. We wish him well. He will make a great ambassador for the county".
"We think that the Duchess would have particularly favoured this award as she knew the Irwin family who lived next door to Ely Lodge at Drumcose".
"The Bursary is still available to others who wish to apply," he advised.
Andrew, who recently received his GCSE results, will study A Levels at Chetham's Music School as well as devoting as many as three hours a day to music.
Outside school, he studied singing with renowned singer and teacher, Gillian Rutherford.
At this year's Fermanagh Feis, Andrew again won accolades from the adjudicator for his exceptional musicality. He won first prize in all of the classes he individually entered (KS4 Vocal Solo, KS4 Songs from the Shows, KS4 Contemporary Solo, Y13/14 ensemble) and for the second year was awarded Young Singer of the Year.
Andrew Irwin receives a bursary from Lord Belmore, Chairman of the Trustees of the Viola Westminster Music Bursary Trust.
Mrs. Kathleen Richey, Fermanagh Trust Secretary, handing Andrew Irwin a bursary from the Greg Turley Bursary Awards with Mrs. Joanna McVey, Chairperson of the Fermanagh Trust.