Traditional music for a new generation

Tara Bradbury
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13th annual Young Folk at the Hall event takes place Sunday, with new and well-known musicians

It will be a great juxtaposition of talent and experience: a group of 30 young musicians will share the stage this Sunday with the likes of Duane Andrews, Craig Young, Denis Parker, Emilia Bartellas and Aaron Collis.

Connor Hynes, Jenna Maloney, Alicia Hurley and Keith Lawton are Newfoundlandish. — Submitted photo by Rick West

The Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Arts Society is presenting its 13th annual Young Folk at the Hall event at the LSPU Hall, starting at 2 p.m.

Established by Irish-Newfoundland musician and former Ryan’s Fancy member Fergus O’Byrne, with the collaboration of the society, the Young Folk program allows children and teens ages eight to 18 to meet others with an interest in traditional music, and share their talents.

O’Byrne also takes the program across the province, giving children outside St. John’s the chance to participate.

He has often told The Telegram of his belief that his generation was the last to learn music at the kitchen table, and the original purpose of Young Folk was to provide a venue for young musicians to learn together. It’s rewarding to see camaraderie develop among the kids, he said.

“My hope is that some of the children will continue to stay in touch both musically and as friends.”

The program functions in the same way every year: it consists of two free two-hour workshops on consecutive Saturdays, in which the children and teens — some of them accomplished musicians and others just knowing a song or two — are divided into groups of five and assigned a musical mentor (this year’s mentors include Brad Jefford, Fergus Brown-O’Byrne and Danny Mills of The Freels and Aaron Collis of The Dardanelles).

They come up with a name for their “band” — this year’s are The Slow Thinkers, Newfoundlandish, Little Chair on the Prairie, Closet Crew, The Big Beat, and The Mystery Oranges — and decide what they’ll play for the concert, which takes place on the last Sunday.

The concert will be presented in two parts: in the afternoon, the young students will present what they’ve prepared with their mentors. At 8 p.m., the event will continue with a showcase of duos: Andrews and Young, Collis and Bartellas, Matthew and Allan Byrne, Joseph Coffin and Nick Earle, Kat McLevey and Maria Peddle, and Denis Parker and John Clarke.

Tickets for the afternoon concert at $12 ($8 for students), and tickets for the evening show are $18. They are available at the LSPU Hall box office, by calling 753-4531, and online at Ticket stubs are good for free admission to any Folk Night at The Ship Pub in February or March.

Twitter: @tara_bradbury

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Arts Society, The Dardanelles, The Ship Pub

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