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Young Tradition Festival is ON (line) in 2021! Young Tradition Festival is an annual event most often held on the first full weekend in May and the weekdays prior- a weeklong celebration of the multi-generational mentoring relationships in diverse traditional music and dance communities. Young folks are the major focus, supported by teachers, mentors, friends and families. Young folks use what inspires them, what they learn, and their ability to perform, to be inspired by and to inspire others.
This year, the festival will focus on 3 events during the first weekend in May:
About the Apprenticeship Program: Established in 1991, the Vermont Folklife Center’s “Vermont Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program” (VTAAP) was created to support Vermont’s living cultural heritage. This program brings together master artists and apprentices dedicated to keeping traditional arts vital and relevant to the communities who practice them and beyond. In addition to supporting communities in retaining and invigorating their cultural identities, VTAAP focuses on assisting individual artists in achieving their goals.
We accept submissions for the annual Young Tradition Contest until April 15th. Send us a video (contest details below). Ten finalists will be selected and featured during the Festival n May 1st. Cash prizes are awarded to all finalists, and the top three finalists receive $250 (3rd), $500 (2nd) and $1,000 (1st).
For 2021, the Young Tradition Festival Contest will be an online format only. The contest is designed to encourage young musicians and dancers to perform and support their involvement in traditional music and dance. In addition to cash prizes, the winners are provided performance opportunities in the region and linkages that would support continued involvement in traditional music and dance.
It’s a great way to link with other young people with similar interests, mentors and teachers, and has opened doors for many to other performance opportunities. We award the top three a cash prize ($1000, $500 and $250, respectively). Send an email by the deadline (April 15th) to Young Tradition Festival manager Yasi Zeichner at email@example.com and to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following:
Videos must be at least one minute long and no more than 5 minutes in length. You may send either a video in the email itself, or a link to a video posted online (at a performer website, or YouTube, for example). All contestants must be at or under the age of 25 on May 1st, 2021. The only exception is for groups: If the average age of group members is 25 or younger, half or more of the group is 25 or younger, and no one is over 30, the group qualifies for the contest. We post videos and biographies on the Young Tradition Vermont website for public viewing. Young Tradition Vermont board members and past winners of the contest vote for up to 10 finalists. On May 1st prizes will be announced as part of the Showcase Concert which starts at 6pm.
2020 Contest Finalists
Winners of the 2020 Young Tradition Contest (held entirely online due to the pandemic) were Andrew Caden (1st place), Abi Sandy and Sebastiaan West (2nd place), and Francois-Felix Roy (3rd place). The other finalists included Giri and Uma Peters, the Kowal Family Band, the Brothers Luper and Simon Lace, Owen Kennedy, the Carter Girls, Émilien and Luryane Durocher, and Benjamin Foss. A concert including performances from the winners and the previous year’s winners was broadcast live on the YTV Facebook page on May 2nd, 2020.
2019 Contest Finalists
Winners of the 2019 Young Tradition VT Contest were Spintuition and Nora Rodes, who tied for first place; Beinn Mhór and The Two Tones tied for 3rd place. The other finalists, who were invited to perform at the festival were: The Burlingtones, Courtney and Cordell Drew, Owen Kennedy, The Kowal Family, and Ristika Gurung. The entire contest finals, held on May 4th, 11am-3pm at Contois Auditorium in Burlington can be viewed at this link: http://lcatv.org/young-tradition-contest-finals-2019-05-04
2018 Contest Finalists
The 2018 contest finals, held during Kids Day at Waterfront Park in Burlington can be viewed at this link: http://lcatv.org/young-tradition-contest-2018-2018-05-05 . The video submission of Romy and Ben Munkres, the 2018 contest winners, can be viewed here Romy and Ben Munkres Contest Video 2018
We are accepting contest submissions until April 15th! All submissions will be posted below. See the Young Tradition Festival tab for contest details.
Carling Berkhout (23) is a musician and writer based out of southern Vermont. She performs in neo-old time duo Carling & Will, folk trio Surplus Daughters, and indie rock band Foster Powell.
The Pressley Girls were born and raised in Brasstown, North Carolina. They are an authentic Appalachian duet that focuses on tight harmony and lyrical meaning. Corie (24) and Katie (also 24!) perform a wide range of music including Folk, Bluegrass, Gospel, and Country. Admiring The Louvin Brothers, classic country singers, and traditional folk musicians, they hope to bring transcendent genuine music back to the world. Corie Pressley plays the guitar and mandolin while singing harmony with her sister, Katie, who plays the fiddle while singing lead.
Dexter (13) and Serena (11) Sernoskie: Dexter & Serena’s love of entertaining has brought them to many stages as musical performers over the years, including charity events, community celebrations, farmer’s markets and the popular production of a local theatre company. Since the pandemic, they have only strived to build on their skills by picking up the flute, mandolin and music video editing, while continuing to grow their passions for the fiddle, piano and Ottawa Valley step dancing. They have continued to entertain through “Isolation Videos” that they have released weekly since our first week of lockdown in March 2020. While Dexter is also quite advanced in classical violin and piano studies, playing and performing traditional music brings great joy to the brother and sister duo while connecting them with their audiences both near and afar in a unique way.
Our names are Hadley Stockwell (16) and Stella Ewald (16). We met in the Young Tradition Vermont Touring Group and have been jamming together ever since. Hadley has been fiddling for eight years, which led her to a deep passion for bluegrass music: Stella played classical music for seven years before adding traditional music into her repertoire three years ago. Both are extremely excited to continue to share music and are looking forward to a time when music can be shared in person!
Esme (10) lives in Vermont where she plays music, loves the outdoors and obsesses about magic. She lives with her Mom, Dad, brother, sister, cat and dog. She enjoys mountain biking, skiing, and practicing tricks on the trampoline. She plays piano, guitar (electric and acoustic), ukulele and is learning the fiddle.
The Carroll Sisters Trio (Nora Carroll, age 14; Emilie Carroll, age 16; Sammy Wetstien, age 17): We are a trio based out of Simsbury CT, and we met and began playing together in February 2020, right before the pandemic shut down our area. Since then, we have played in venues all over Connecticut, and we even launched our own driveway concert series during the summer where we raised over $2,000 for local food pantries. We love arranging sets and adding our own stylistic ideas, but we are deeply rooted in the Irish, Scottish, and Cape Breton traditions, as we are heavily influenced by musicians such as Alisdair Fraser and Natalie Haas, as well as our teachers: Jeanne Freeman, John Whelan, Katie McNally, and McKinley James. This specific set features three jigs we learned from Katie McNally this past summer and then created our own arrangement: Hannah of Elgin, Lady Elizabeth Cole’s, and Pattern Day.
Holland Goddard is a 17-year-old fiddle player from Nicholville, NY. She has been playing the fiddle for eight years and is going to the Crane School of Music for music education in the fall. Brooke Goddard is a 16-year-old bodhran player from Nicholville, NY. She has been playing the bodhran for four years and is currently a student of the 2010 World Champion, Aimée Farrell Courney. Together they have performed at many venues along with their duo, the Goddard Girls, and their band, Nicholfalls, including the Hammond Scottish Festival, the Remington Arts Festival, the Potsdam Food Co-op, and various local nursing homes, farmer’s markets, and talent shows, where they finished as the top musicians in New York at the NY State Fair Talent Show. They have also participated in the Young Tradition Vermont Touring Group for two years, touring in Scotland and Metropolitan New York and New Jersey, and have competed in the Young Tradition Vermont Contest, finalizing for three years.
Anna Butcher (20) is a fiddle player from Stamford, Vermont. She grew up around folk music and developed a passion for it from participating in various folk camps and programs like the YTV touring group. After a break from playing the violin while living in Colorado, she is excited to start playing music again and playing around with her new looper. This video features special guest, Lily, the cat who refused to get out of the chair.
Owen Kennedy is a fifteen-year-old fiddler from Maine whose love of traditional music and enthusiasm for performing has charmed audiences from San Diego to the Shetland Islands and all over New England. Kennedy has been playing the violin for eleven years, and performs solo as well as with the VT-based Young Tradition Touring Group; the Pineland Fiddlers; and the Maine Folque Co-op. He is a student of Seán Heely and Ellen Gawler. Whether capturing the jazzy bounce of a Maritime reel, mimicking the bagpipes in a Scottish march, or driving a good ol’ New England contradance tune, Kennedy’s powerful playing, clean articulation, and artistic ornamentation are a delight.
The Carter Girls, Madeline (17), Marlise (16) and Maizie (12), are three sisters who play a variety of instruments, (fiddle, guitar, piano, accordion) and genres including, Celtic, Country, and Folk. They are from New Brunswick, Canada but, perform for local events and fundraisers around the Maritimes. Along with playing Celtic and old-time fiddle tunes, they also compose their own music. Their debut album “Crossing Borders” was released in July of 2020 and features 7 original compositions. This arrangement includes two original tunes, Maizie’s Snapper and April Winds.
Benjamin Foss (21) is a musician and luthier based in Brooks, Maine. Benjamin grew up in southern New England attending and playing for contra dances and building fiddles and banjos out of everything he could find. Benjamin plays in several contra dance combinations on fiddle, guitar, tenor banjo, and occasionally other stringed instruments and on rare occasions can be found calling dances. When he’s not playing, he’s building and restoring guitars, banjos and mandolins in Brooks. Some of Benjamin’s other pursuits include restoring player pianos and reed organs, stacking firewood, and finding forgotten fiddle tunes and dances to bring back into circulation.
Fern Tamagini-O’Donnell. Bio/description coming soon!
We are Valeria Gracian (15), Parker Hobel-Furrer (15), Meredith Sundberg (11), Emma Lee (10), and Annaleise Booth (15). We have all been classically trained musicians and have learned through different schools throughout Dutchess County and even Connecticut. We all meet once a week in the town of LaGrange. We all have a passion for music and are very excited to be a part of this event!
Hi! My name is Morgan Moss, I am 16 years old and a high school sophomore. I have been playing cello for 7 years, and about a year ago I made the jump from classical music to fiddle music. In addition to music, I’m interested in agricultural science, and I am a member of FFA. I live in CT with my family and my pet rabbit Patches.
My name is Emerson Jenisch, age 17. I am a senior in high school from Strafford VT and am attending Wesleyan University in the fall. I have been playing instruments since I was five, and took a special interest in the hammered dulcimer, which I have been studying for eight years. My teacher throughout this time, Samantha Moffat of Vershire VT, has helped me to develop a strong foundation in traditional music. In the last year, I have also begun studying with Joshua Messick, former National Hammered Dulcimer Champion, by Zoom. I am passionate about composing music that combines my love for traditional music with contemporary hammered dulcimer techniques and various musical influences.
Lauryane Durochers (14) is a dancer of the group Les Chamaniers from Quebec since 7 years now. Émilien Durochers (18) is playing violin since the age of six. He has taken violin classes to learn classical music but plays trad music in his free time. Lauryane and Émilien are brother and sister. They play a lot together, they like it.
The Buffalo Mountain Bluegrass Band consists of the home schooled sister and brother duo, Autumn and Canyon Moore, from Central Pennsylvania. Autumn, 18, has been playing the fiddle for 13 years. Canyon, 17, started fiddle at age 4, and has played guitar for 7 years. Autumn and Canyon have performed together since 2008, and they enjoy a variety of music styles. The tunes performed in the video above include Tallahassee, Dixie Hoedown, & Wheel Hoss. Autumn and Canyon are excited to share their love of music with others!
Meredith Sundberg, age 11, has been playing the violin for 7 years. She is a classically trained violinist and enjoys playing both classical and fiddle style music. You can also find her playing many other instruments including ukulele, electric guitar, piano, banjo and mandolin. She regularly performs with Stringendo’s orchestra program and the Strawberry Hill Fiddlers of the Hudson Valley, NY.
Julianna Sundberg, age 16, has been playing the violin for 8 years. She is a classically trained violinist, and enjoys playing both classical and fiddle style music. In addition to the fiddle, you can also find her playing the guitar, ukulele, piano, banjo, and mandolin. She regularly performs with Stringendo’s Vivace Orchestra and Strawberry Hill Fiddle group, both located in the Hudson Valley, NY. She is accompanied here by here sister, Meredith Sundberg.
Cullen Luper (18) is a musician whose interests range from Bach to Basie, Gow to Gershwin, and Corelli to Collier. Cullen has studied classical violin, traditional Celtic fiddle, classical and traditional piano, and guitar accompaniment from an early age. He grew up in the vibrant Bay Area Scottish and Irish traditional music scene, playing with The San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers, Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas, Altan, Athena Tergis, and The Hot Club Of San Francisco. While “sheltering in place” in 2020, Cullen performed for online festivals and fundraisers, and organized virtual events, distanced collaborations, and his own solo show on Facebook.
Young Tradition Festival 2021 is sponsored by: