Newfoundland Young Fiddlers Going to Ireland for the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention
St. John’s, NL – January 16, 2011 -Young fiddlers from Newfoundland, aged 12-15, have been selected to showcase Newfoundland’s rich musical traditions and learn from some of the world’s finest fiddlers at the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention (NAFCo) in Derry and Donegal, Ireland in June 2012. They will be joining almost 200 young fiddlers from Ireland, Newfoundland, Scotland, Shetland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom to perform and participate in workshops as part of an inaugural International Fiddle Youth Camp.
Keely Boland, Sarah Harris, Joshua Hartery, Sarah Manning, Darrell Roberts, and Michael Scheeler-Breen have been selected to showcase Newfoundland’s rich musical traditions and learn from some of the world’s finest fiddlers at NAFCo. As part of NAFCo's International Fiddle Youth Camp, they will participate in workshops and give two performances. As 12 year-old Keely Boland explains, “I think it is a great opportunity for me to go to Ireland to play fiddle with many other awesome musicians. We get to show our talent to lots of people and other fiddlers." 15 year-old Sarah Manning adds: “I think that having the experience of getting to watch and learn from some of the world’s best fiddlers will help me improve my playing. I am excited to practice over the coming spring with other youth that share a love for fiddle music.”
During the winter and spring months in Newfoundland, these young fiddlers are be participating in a series of workshops designed to help expand their repertoire, improve their technique, and give them spaces to share traditional music with other similarly interested young musicians. In addition to guest musicians, the project's principle mentor is MUN student Duncan Cameron, a fiddler and multi-instrumentalist with extensive teaching and touring experience who is currently a member of the Juno award-winning group The Irish Descendants. The Young Folk Fiddlers will be joining the Newfoundland's STEP Fiddlers, the only other Canadian youth selected for this international festival, in learning material specially commissioned by NAFCo for
This project is being supported by the Newfoundland and Labrador Folk Arts Society (NLFAS). As NLFAS president Anita Best explains, "attendance at this conference will serve a threefold purpose: to encourage the continuance of Newfoundland and Labrador fiddle traditions among our young people, to encourage professional growth for the young musicians involved by exposure to internationally recognized professional players and to celebrate our culture proudly by sharing the musical traditions of our country with the world. I encourage everyone who reads this to support this project as you find yourself capable. Our traditions will not survive without the younger generation.”
These young fiddlers' participation in NAFCo is being partially subsidized by NAFCo and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, but the fiddlers are also seeking donations from the community to help cover the substantial costs of participation. Donations are being accepted online and charitable receipts are being issued for all donations.