A group of young musicians perform at the LSPU Hall in St. John's in this file photo. — Submitted photo
This Sunday is a big day for folk musicians in the province who are normally limited when it comes to places to perform, because of their young ages.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Arts Society is presenting a full day of events at the LSPU Hall for young folk musicians: first with the annual Young Folk at the Hall concert, then in the nighttime with a showcase of new artists.
This is the 12th year for Young Folk at the Hall, established by Fergus O'Byrne to provide a venue for youth aged seven to 17 to share their talents when it comes to traditional music. The program - which is free - sees the young musicians take part in a pair of two-hour workshops on consecutive Saturdays, and a concert on the final Sunday. O'Byrne divides the kids into small groups, making an effort to pair returning Young Folk participants with others with whom they haven't previously worked.
Each group is assigned an older, more experienced musician as a mentor - possibly a graduated program participant.
"When I first started the program, the concert aspect was really secondary," O'Byrne explained. "It's a way of getting young people together to learn and share their talents."
Sunday's concert, which begins at 2 p.m., will feature the different bands created over the past two weekends, individually presenting their own choice of traditional music and song.
At 8 p.m. a lineup of a up-and-coming local performers will take to the stage: Brianna Gosse, Kat McLevey, Jenna Maloney, Peter Lannon, Nick Earle, Leslie Amminson and Esmee Gilbert, as well as a special appearance by Chris Kirby.
"Thanks to the groundwork done by Fergus O'Byrne's Young Folk at the Hall program, the Neil Murray Stage and endeavours by MusicNL and others, musicians are reaching near professional quality at younger ages," said the Folk Arts Society's events co-ordinator, John Clarke, in a written statement. "It is the goal of the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Arts Society to provide more venues to encourage and showcase this exciting pool of artistic talent."
Tickets for the Young Folk at the Hall concert are $9 for adults ($5 for students), and tickets for the new artist showcase are $15, and both are available by calling the LSPU Hall at 753-4531 or online at www.rca.nf.ca.
Tickets stubs from both shows are valid for free admission into a regular Wednesday night folk night at The Ship pub from now until the end of March.