single default

Touring Group

The Young Tradition Touring Group are teen and near-teen players, singers and dancers who focus on learning and performing traditional music and dance repertoire over the course of a 9-month, early September through early May session, including an April performance tour.  Group members learn from and are supported by artist leaders, visiting master musicians and dancers/dance leaders, in addition to musical exchanges with master artists, young musicians and dancers while on performance tours. Touring Groups have previously traveled to Scotland, Japan, Cape Breton, Northumberland in England, the West Coast of Ireland, and metropolitan New York and New Jersey.

Members attend rehearsals, participate in fundraising, perform at dances, concerts and festivals regionally, and travel as part of a performance tour. Members have been mostly from Vermont, but are not limited to Vermont. The group has also included members from Quebec, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Maine. There are no entry, membership or participant fees other than rooms and meals costs associated with a late December rehearsal (2 overnights) and travel costs associated with the performance tour.

Quotes from group members:
  • Being part of the Touring Group, I discovered the kind of connections that music can make, especially when you are using it to give back to your community. (Romy-Ireland, Cape Breton, Japan, Scotland)
  • Being in the group is about welcoming people into your music. It is about connecting with your audience, it is about teaching people of any age what it means to play an instrument, and it is about inspiring music in others. (Eliza-Cape Breton, Japan, Scotland)
  • Because of the Touring Group I am proud to be a teenager that continues to learn and perform traditional and Celtic music. I no longer shy away from explaining what the fiddle is. I am proud of what I do and that there are other people my age and younger that enjoy it. (Molly-Cape Breton, Scotland)
  • Being part of the Touring Group has had a very large positive impact on my musical skill. It has exposed me to many different cultures and musical styles. And it’s given me opportunities to share my music in ways that build community within the group, within communities, and across cultures. (Ben-Ireland, Cape Breton, Scotland)
  • The Touring Group enables young people to continue discovering music traditions that, if not for groups like this, might well find their end in the near future. Through travels, masterclasses, sessions, friendships, and simply listening to music, you are taking advantage of the great gift of being exposed to cultures other than your own and developing as a musician. To be able to travel and play with immensely talented musicians at such a young age builds the foundation for a life appreciating other cultures and playing the music of the past and the future. (Dana- Cape Breton, Scotland)
  • I believe that young people have a responsibility to learn and carry on the traditions of their culture, and the Touring Group supportd youth doing that. I am proud to be a part of this line, and look forward to being a link in our musical history. (Ada-Cape Breton, Scotland)
  • The overall experience is incredible. The people who make this possible are hard-working, dedicated individuals to whom I am eternally grateful. The Touring Group is packed with great tunes, solid performances, and many new friendships. From the Touring Group, some new Vermont bands have even begun to emerge. I look forward to future years of traveling and performing with other teens. (Alexander-Ireland, Cape Breton, Japan, Scotland)
  • The Touring Group does far more than simply allow you to meet a group of incredible people, it truly gives you the ability to grow infinitely as a musician. Whether you take a leadership role and grow as a mentor and teacher, or you build your technique and ability to listen, each member comes out as a stronger player and musician. (Ceile-Northumberland, Ireland, Cape Breton, Scotland)
  • Music has brought so much to my life, and in return I plan to give back by performing, learning and raising my skill level, teaching and mentoring younger students. (Hadley-Cape Breton, Scotland)
  • Because of the Touring Group, I now know not only how to better listen to and play with others and how to play a basic traditional accompaniment, but I know to act so that those around me will be the better off, to derive the purest form of happiness simply from being around the people I love and doing the things I love. (Sebastiaan-Cape Breton, Japan, Scotland)
Repertoire is ‘traditional’ (*see explanation below), and is coordinated by artist leaders (past leaders have included Oliver Scanlon, Pete Sutherland, Andrea Beaton and Dominique Dodge).  Rehearsals happen 1x a month starting in September, starting between 12 noon and 1pm, ending as late as 5pm.  Rehearsals starting in January are coordinated with evening performances in Vermont on the same date.
*Tradition: This is tough to define, partly because it means so many different things to so many different people, and is itself in a constant state of evolution.  
Every style of music and dance has a tradition.  Classical.  Jazz.  Pop.  Ballet.  A history.  Innovations, creations, contributions from the past influence what we know and do today and how we take it into the future.  But, when we say traditional music and dance in the context of Young Tradition Touring Group, as opposed to other styles of music and dance, we are referring to specific approaches to learning, sharing, creating.       
In general when we say traditional we are talking about songs, dances and other material that is primarily transmitted orally, and from and inspired by composers and creators from previous generations, some unknown.  It is material that has most often evolved through a process of unwritten, oral transmission and is most often performed by in a particular cultural group in a particular place over a long period of time.  There is most often more of an emphasis on participation vs. performance.  Most often what is produced, whether a song, a tune, a dance, a quilt….. has a functional purpose….. something that can be used, something that has and tells a story, something that carries an oral tradition forward in the absence of or as a supplement to a written narrative or system (like musical notation and other forms of transcription: e.g. shape notes, tablature).  Instrumentally, traditional music is often associated with social dance.  At its core, its an attempt to reproduce what came from a previous generation, and the generation before that, and the generation before that….. but each attempt at reproduction inevitably, intentionally or unintentionally, adds to or takes away elements so that it fits an individual’s current experience and circumstances. There is a rich tradition of creating new material, an important element of ‘tradition.’ Sometimes the adjustments are subtle, and sometimes they are dramatic.  Sometimes people making the adjustments have an insight that is profound and different, and they inspire others, and a whole new genre emerges…..  not unlike other styles of music and movement: classical, or jazz, or pop, or tap, or hip hop. Its a constant bubbling and boiling of what we are given by those who came before, and what individuals bring of themselves to the process.

The Touring Group is one of 30 programs operated by Young Tradition Vermont.  For more information contact Executive Director Mark Sustic at

Young Tradition Touring Group 12/27/19


Young Tradition Touring Group 9/7/19


Young Tradition Touring Group at December retreat in Burlington 12/28/18


Touring Group at Elley Long Music Center in Colchester Spring 2018

Young Tradition Touring Group in Shelburne, Vermont April 2017


Young Tradition Touring Group in Burlington, Vermont December 2016


Young Tradition Touring Group in Donegal, Ireland April 2016


2015/2016 Young Tradition Touring Group in Ireland

Young Tradition Touring Group at the Cliffs of Moher, Ireland April 2016


touring group

Young Tradition Touring Group on Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland, England April 2014