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City of Belfast Youth Orchestra

Former Member Profile No.14 Aidan McLoughlin Oboe / Cor Anglais 2009-11

Every few weeks we will be profiling a former member of CBYO and catching up with what they have been doing since leaving the orchestra. We aim to start with recent members and work back through the last 61 yearss !

Profile No.14 Aidan McLouglin - Oboe / Cor Anglais 2009-2011

My name is Aidan McLoughlin and I was an oboist with the CBYO from 2009 until 2011, as well as a student mentor in my final year with the orchestra.

Right now I am spending a year in Japan on an EU-funded internship programme.

It was recently, when I was asked to explain (in Japanese!) about a club or society I had been involved with, that I really reflected on my time with the orchestra. Struggling with vocabulary and grammar, I couldn’t properly describe just how valuable the experience was. What I wanted to say was, even though I am not studying or working in music, I really feel that I wouldn’t be here in Japan if it wasn’t for the CBYO and my other experiences with music


If you take a look through the former member profiles you will read about some amazing musicians excelling in their field. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Not only are they incredibly talented musicians, but they are also hard-working, determined and well-rounded people. Many are also brilliant scientists – a correlation that is not coincidental. All these attributes are, in a large part, due to their involvement with the orchestra and their dedication to music as a whole.

I am not particularly talented at music and certainly not nearly as talented as most of the musicians I have played with in CBYO, but I am reaping the benefits of a host of other skills that being a member gives you.

Being a mentor is a great way to develop leadership skills and is always useful to call upon in an interview situation! It also gave me a new-found confidence that I think still pushes me to challenge myself.

A few years after leaving CBYO, I helped out with the running of Queen’s University Symphony Orchestra - a completely student-run orchestra which has been founded and led by former members of CBYO and St. Malachy’s College. This proves that it’s not just musical skill which is developed, but also a passion for classical music and a drive to help others get involved and appreciate it.

So if you’re a current member, or a prospective one, I really encourage you give it your best shot and you will reap the rewards for years to come. There’s a great team in place, with Paul McBride and Robert Briscoe striving to mould great young people both musically and personally.

All the hard work will pay off and who knows where it will take you – I never thought I’d be working as an engineer in Japan! But perhaps the most important thing you will gain from CBYO is friends for life. To this day I would say most of my closest friends are ones I’ve met through music. So get yourself to Duke’s (…Claudine’s?) after the concerts!

Posted by robert.briscoe on the Wednesday, 06 April 2016