Shana and Dillon Brown are teen musicians that have been performing from a very young age. Formerly known as Shillon, this solid musical duo have been recognized as outstanding vocal and instrumental musicians. They are evolving towards further improvements in their instrumental abilities and will focus on this in their musical performances moving forward.
They have many accomplishments for their ages of 14 and 16, which includes 2 CDs under the Shillon Music, Youth Ventures Award for Excellence In Arts and Tourism and, Youth Business of Distinction. Recognizing the importance of continued learning in music, there’s sure to be lots of new opportunities in their future.
The STEP Fiddlers are a group of fine young fiddle players, ranging in age from seven to 16, drawn mostly from the students of the Suzuki Talent Education Program (STEP) in St. John’s. They are directed by Christina Smith, who founded the group in 1982 to give young Newfoundlanders an opportunity to learn their own traditional music. The STEP Fiddlers have been featured performers at local concerts, festivals and events, have played for local, national and international audiences and have brought Newfoundland music to Ontario, England, and Northern Ireland. Over the years the group has released two CDs: “Galing for a Storm” and “Fiddling in the Fog.”
Jayne Batstone (vocals, ukulele, guitar, piano) is an emerging singer/song writer from St. John’s NL, who regardless of any more of Mother Nature’s curve balls, definitely plans to graduate from high school in June 2021!! Her performance of acoustic music has been described as “smooth and haunting” underlined by a “quiet confidence”.
Jayne has spent her “COVID Quarantine”, listening to and learning from the music that has erupted world-wide in a unifying voice of love and support. She is more grateful than ever for the unending support of our own arts community and committed to following in the NL tradition of using her voice to lift others up and change the world
Gracie Reid is a button accordion player, guitar player and vocalist. She has been playing music since she was eight years old and has been performing publicly for almost as long. She enjoys playing in a variety of different genres such as Newfoundland traditional, Irish, Folk, Rock, and Pop.
Violet Blackie is 11 years old and has been playing violin from the age of three. This is her fourth year performing for the Newfoundland Folk Festival. She has received several awards and scholarships from the Saint John’s Kiwanis Music Festival for her fiddle playing, and has performed opening for the Atlantic String Quartet, Rozalind McPhail and with the Ennis Sisters. With the STEP Fiddlers she has performed at Shamrock City and many other locations in St. John’s and is regular participant in Young Folk at the Hall.
Elizabeth Clarke is 16 years old and lives in St. John’s. She has been taking music lessons for 12 years. Elizabeth is classically trained in voice and piano and has received many awards. Recently she completed her RCM Level 10 piano, receiving First Class Honors. In 2019, she played Ariel in Holy Heart’s production of The Little Mermaid, performed with three Holy Heart choirs, and was the piano accompanist for the Holy Heart Chamber Choir. In addition to classical music and theatre, Elizabeth enjoys performing folk music with her guitar. She was a contestant at the 2019 NewfoundTalent Contest. Elizabeth is excited and grateful to share her music with the audience of the NL Folk Festival for the second year in a row. Special thanks to John Clarke for reaching out and organizing the recording session and to the NL Folk Arts Council.
Matilda and Jasper have both been playing the violin since they were four and the fiddle since they were six with the STEP fiddlers under Christina Smith. Matilda played solo sets on the Neil Murray stage each year since she was seven and Jasper with the STEP fiddlers since he was six. At the 2014 St. John’s Kiwanis Festival Matilda was awarded the Kevin Neary Memorial Award for best ten and under fiddle performance and the Maurice Wilansky Memorial Award for violin and at the 2016 Toronto Kiwanis Festival the Kiwanis Foundation Scholarship for Violin Performance. At the 2019 St. John’s Kiwanis Festival she was awarded the Bartellas Family Award for best fiddler and was a Junior Rose Bowl finalist. As a singer she performed in five Best Kind shows and sang the Ode for the 2018 Folk Festival. Both will play the fiddle and guitar and sing.
Folk music has been part of Aine Waterhouse and Annie Lewis’ lives for as long as they can remember. They have played at Young Folk at the Hall and made appearances on the Neil Murray Stage at the NL Folk Festival consistently for the past 6-7 years.
They have both participated in the STEP Fiddlers touring group, playing countless performances with the ensemble locally and away. They have performed as part of the STEP Fiddlers in the St. John’s Kiwanis Festival Rose Bowl, have traveled to the Tales, Trails, and Tunes Festival in Norris Point, NL and to the New England states of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Annie and Aine are excited to share their love for folk music with audiences this summer.
Luke Mercer has been listening and dancing to music since he was old enough to crawl.
A familiar face at traditional music sessions at O’ Reilly’s Pub and Erin’s Pub, Luke has played at the Newfoundland & Labrador Folk Festival, Young Folk at the Hall, George Street Festival, Eastport Accordion Festival and was the opening act for the sold-out High Kings show at Holy Heart Theatre in 2016. He currently plays accordion with the St. Pat’s Dancers and also plays guitar and sings. A student at Music Immersion, Luke has been playing and learning from his instructor Aaron Collis.
A Grade Five student at St. Matthew’s Elementary, Luke is always excited to join a jam session or play for a crowd at any time.