by JULIE-ANN SPENCE
EIGHTEEN year old Andrew McCoy from Lisburn is concluding his last
year playing with the National Youth Orchestra with the extra accolade
of having been promoted to Principal trombone.
This is yet another feather in the talented young musician's cap after ten years of hard work and dedication following his dream of becoming a professional musician and composer.
To become a member of the NYO is the pinnacle of achievement for any serious young musician. Only 170 teenagers (up to 18 years old) are chosen each year from all corners of the UK. They come together to receive tuition from the finest musicians in the world.
"It's an incredible learning experience," said Andrew. "It is not just about how to be a better musician but how to be a better team player and it has given me a lot more confidence. Socially it is terrific and we play in wonderful venues.
"Upcoming performances will be in the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, The Barbican Hall and The Royal Festival Hall in London."
After their performance at The Proms last year in the Albert Hall in London, the Times Newspaper was so impressed by their enthusiasm as to describe the NYO as "the most uplifting orchestra in the world." It is obvious that Andrew loves every minute of his hectic schedule. Since he was eight years old the trombone has been his constant companion.
At ten years he joined the National Children's Orchestra and received the Leverhulme scholarship a year later. He then became a member of the Ulster Youth Orchestra which, in 2008, toured Germany playing at the Konzerthaus in Berlin. Also that year, as part of the Royal College of Music's Brass Dectet (10 players) he performed for Her Majesty the Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh at Westminster Abbey.
Every Saturday since he was twelve, Andrew has travelled to London to the Royal College of Music to receive lessons in trombone, piano and composition.
He leaves home at 5.30am and returns home by about 7.00pm. "The
introduction of checking in
for flights 'online' saves a lot of time," joked Andrew. 'And I know all the crew members of BMI by name now."
Andrew is doing 'A levels this year but that does not prevent him from practising his trombone each morning from 6.15am and again after school. He has also reached the second round of BBC's Young Musician of the Year competition.
Andrew now intends to study music full time at one of the major Music Colleges in London, The Royal College, The Guildhall or maybe the Royal Academy. His progress, no doubt, will be watched by all his friends in Lisburn especially the members of the Lisburn Arts Advisory Committee who have supported Andrew over the years.
"He comes and plays for us occasionally and that is always a great treat," said chairperson Heather Campbell. "It is wonderful to see how his dedication and hard work have paid off. We wish him all the success he deserves."