Meet the MerleFest 2020 Acoustic Kids!

MerleFest 2020 Canceled In response to directives from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and growing concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Wilkes County officials have cancelled all mass gatherings of more than 100 people in Wilkes County through the end of April. Therefore, MerleFest 2020 has been cancelled. While this decision is disappointing for all of us, we fully support the directive from our county officials. The health, safety, and well-being of all involved with MerleFest is, and always will be, our primary concern. – MerleFest

 

Note on MerleFest 2020 Acoustic Kids: Our Kids put a lot of time, effort, and enthusiasm into preparing for their Acoustic Kids Showcases. Although – to everyone’s disappointment – MerleFest 2020 was canceled, those Kids who had chosen, practiced, and submitted their material for the showcases had done their part already. All they couldn’t do was perform at the festival, and that was through no fault of their own. We still consider them to be MerleFest 2020 Acoustic Kids!

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Listings in this roster are voluntary. Therefore, not all participants are listed.

A-C

Kellan Barton

Kellan Barton

Kellan Barton

Wilkesboro, NC | Guitar (1 yr); Ukulele (4 yrs) | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2017-2020

Kellan loves to play outside, participate in youth sports like soccer and basketball, and do silly dances. He is a wonderful student and even better big brother.

Lucas Bartosik

Durham, NC | Ukulele (4+ yrs), Voice (4+ yrs), Banjo ukulele (2 yrs) | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2020

Activities: Baseball, soccer

Janaya Collins

Janaya Collins

Janaya Collins

Wilkesboro, NC | Mandolin (4 yrs) | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2020

Activities: Church, volleyball, basketball, drawing, writing.

Janaya has been a student of Larry Skipper for 4 years. Janaya and Larry are starting a business endeavor of playing weddings and events. Janaya has named her endeavor Melody’s By Janaya.

Owen Combs

Roaring River, NC | Age: 14 | Mandolin (7 yrs), Bass (3 yrs) | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2014-2019

Norah Cool

Norah Cool

Norah Cool

Lenoir, NC | Fiddle (6 yrs), Voice (2 yrs) | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2020

I am 12 years old and have been playing fiddle for 6 years. I attend lessons ( private lessons, group advanced fiddle, band class, ) twice a week at Boone JAMS, I also help teach beginner fiddlers!
Other instruments i play are Ukulele, and String Bass, and hope to learn the mandolin soon.
When I am not playing music I enjoy drawing, swimming on the swim team, listening to music and writing.

Jorja Cornwell

Angier, NC | Mandolin (6.5 yrs), Banjo (2 yrs), Guitar/Voice (2 yrs) | Group: A Cort of Loars (2 yrs) | Website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube |In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2019-w2020

I play guitar for church and youth group, take voice and fiddle lessons, and play shows with my brother Max. I do judo, kickboxing and competitive karate. I also work at an animal refuge, helping with therapeutic riding lessons. I also do a lot of drawing, reading and teaching youngest brother Keller (5) ukulele.

I did Acoustic Kids last year and loved it, you guys are very welcoming and helping, it’s great that Andy is doing this. I am looking forward to being a professional musician full time one day, and doing this really got me a lot of experience performing at a festival. Looking forward to doing it again!! 🙂

Max Cornwell

Angier, NC | Guitar (5 yrs) | Group: A Cort of Loars (2 yrs)  | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2020

I do jam sessions with my sister and teacher, take guitar lessons, and play shows with sister Jorja, our band is A Cort of Loars. I do judo and kickboxing, and enjoy basketball for fun.

D-F

Judah Davis

Leicester, NC | Guitar (3 yrs) | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2020

Judah is also a JAM member.

 

Bayla Davis

Leicester, NC | Banjo (6 yrs), Singing (6 yrs) | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2019-2020

Bayla is a JAM student in Buncombe County and All County Chorus student.

Sylvie Davis

Leicester, NC | Fiddle (5 yrs) | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2019-2020

JAM member and student at AFTA in Asheville. Studies also with Natalya Weinstein and Josh Goforth.

Atti Dyer

North Wilkesboro, NC | Mandolin (5 yrs), Voice (5 yrs) | Group: GroupName (# yrs) | Website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube |In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2017-2020

Atti is the oldest of 6 siblings in her family. She loves playing at the farm, helping her mom with her baby sister, and taking care of animals. Atti is wise beyond her years, caring and compassionate, and according to her dad, is the most beautiful 11 year-old girl in world.

Alanabeth Duncan

Alanabeth Duncan

Alanabeth Duncan

Roxboro, NC  |  Banjo (3 yrs) | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2020

I am 12 years old and homeschooled at Shore Creek Academy. I enjoy playing the piano and banjo and learning challenging songs. I had the chance to perform on stage at Pickin’ by the Lake Bluegrass Festival in 2019. I also enjoy acting and have had roles in a number of shows with the community theater. My favorite part of theater is watching how everyone transforms into their character roles. I like to read and travel to new places with my family.

Vivian Fant

Galax, VA | Fiddle (6 yrs) | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2016, 2020

I enjoy participating on the swim team and my favorite stroke is butterfly. I also have joined the local Scout Troop as one of the first girls in the area. This is also my first year learning to play French horn in beginning band. Acoustic Kids was very fun in the past and exciting playing with all levels.

Charlotte Foster

Charlotte Foster

Charlotte Foster

Elkin, NC | Ukulele (9 mos) | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2020

Charlotte loves listening to music and dancing. She loves putting on “shows” at the house. She’s very active and enjoys sports, such as soccer and tball.

G-O

Maddie Gambill

Maddie Gambill

Maddie Gambill

Wilkesboro, NC | Fiddle (6 yrs) | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2020

Maddie is homeschooled along with her brother and sister. She loves playing the fiddle, doing arts and crafts, and especially sewing! She enjoys playing all sports but especially basketball, softball, tennis and golf! She has performed at the Ashe and Galax Fiddler’s Convention as well as many other smaller events and festivals.

Ryleigh Gilreath

Ryleigh Gilreath

Ryleigh Gilreath

North Wilkesboro, NC | Ukulele (6 mos) | Group: Ryleigh and Corin (2 mos) | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2020

I love all genres of music, playing the ukulele, theater arts, softball and spending time with my family and friends.

Mason Hollar

Granite Falls, NC | Ukulele (5 mos) | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2020

I am a fifth grader at Granite Falls Elementary school. I am a member of the Jr. Beta Club and Project Unify. I enjoy playing baseball, football, and my ukulele.

Chance Mastin

Chance Mastin

Chance Mastin

North Wilkesboro, NC | Guitar (5 yrs) | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2017-2020

I love playing the guitar and have enjoyed the Acoustic Kids Showcases for the past 3 years. I like different types of music, but country is my favorite. Playing the guitar is fun and I enjoy playing for people because of how music can inspire and be meaningful to others.

Robert Meyers

Mechanicsburg, PA | Mandolin (3 yrs), Singing (9 yrs) | Group: Pyxus (2.5 yrs) | Facebook | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2017-2020

Eagle Scout, go to Capital Area School of the Arts, play soccer, play in the band Pyxus

Adam Orsak

Adam Orsak

Adam Orsak

Holly Springs, NC  |  Guitar (5 yrs), Singing (a few months), Mandolin (2 yrs) | YouTube  | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2019-2020

Actively involved in church and operates the A/V system during worship service; Leader for the third place team in the Raleigh MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association) walk in 2019; serves as vice president of the guitar club at Holly Springs High School; active in the Baptist Men’s group at church; has accompanied my guitar teacher to play for the elderly in a nursing home.

P-R

Sabrina Patel

Sabrina Patel

Sabrina Patel

Burlington, NC  |  Violin (3 yrs) | YouTube  | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2019-2020

Sabrina is learning multiple styles of violin/fiddle including Suzuki, Old-time, and Irish. She is a member of the Walker Street Fiddlers; an Irish Band that performs in the Greensboro area. When not playing violin; she is learning piano, ukulele, and is on a competitive dance and clogging team.

Pickin’ Thistles

Pickin' Thistles

Pickin’ Thistles

Todd, NC | Hayden Walker mandolin/guitar, Robina Josephine Walker violin, Rosemary Walker violin/guitar | Website | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2017-2020

Pickin’ Thistles is an all sibling band that enjoys performing their favorite Scottish, Irish, bluegrass, & old-time tunes. They’ve won awards at area fiddle competitions and played at many area festivals including IBMA Wide Open Bluegrass JAM stage, Andy May’s Acoustic Kids, Appaloosa Festival, & Festival in the park. They are also regulars on the back porch of the Original Mast General Store. The have been participants in the JAM program in Boone, NC for 4 years.

We are so grateful to Andy May! This experience has opened our hearts to performing.

Prickly Pearables

The Prickly Pearables

The Prickly Pearables

Miramar Beach, NC | Cabe Rieck, mandolin; Holt Rieck, guitar| Facebook | In Acoustic Kids: Walnut Valley Festival, 2018-2019; MerleFest, 2020

The Prickly Pearables from Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, is an Americana band of two songwriting brothers, Cabe and Holt. We love to tell entertaining stories with our music.

Pyxus

Mechanicsburg, PA | Jake Myers, Guitar and Vocals, Robert Myers, Mandolin and Vocals | Facebook | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2017-2020

Pyxus is a contemporary folk duo originally from Jonesville, NC, now based out of Mechanicsburg, PA. We’ve played at many venues in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, a few being the Carolina in the Fall Festival, the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, the Hershey Barn, and Icefest in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. We’ve been playing and singing together for over two years now, and both go to the Capital Area School for the Arts in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Cabe Rieck

Miramar Beach, NC | Songwriting (#5 yrs), Mandolin (2 yrs), Singing (5 yrs) | Group: The Prickly Pearables (4 yrs) | Facebook | In Acoustic Kids: Walnut Valley Festival, 2018-2019; MerleFest, 2020

I am passionate about mandolin, singing and songwriting, origami, drawing, and fishing.

Holt Rieck

Miramar Beach, FL | Guitar (4 yrs), Songwriting (4 yrs), Singing (4 yrs) | Group: The Prickly Pearables (4 yrs) | Facebook | In Acoustic Kids: Walnut Valley Festival, 2018-2019; MerleFest, 2020

I love to fish, play music, and hang out with my brother, Cabe.

Allyson Roberts

North Wilkesboro, NC | Mandolin (4 yrs) | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2017-2020

I love cats, swimming and mermaids.

Ava Roberts

North Wilkesboro, NC | Guitar (4 yrs) | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2017-2020

Activities: Nature, school, roller blading

S-V

Eva Scott

Eva Scott

Eva Scott

Wilkesboro, NC | Mandolin (1 yr) | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest 2020,

Activities: Music, Basketball, Volleyball, Church
Eva is a very outgoing little girl, with a big personality. She has fallen in love with music and her Mandolin is her best friend 🙂

Bailey Smith

Bailey Smith

Bailey Smith

Wilkesboro, NC | Guitar (3 yrs), Voice (3 yrs) | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2020

Activities: Singing and playing guitar at home and school, church, crafts, volleyball, interior design, playing with my puppy.

Amelia Tebalt

Amelia Tebalt

Amelia Tebalt

Seneca, SC | Tenor Banjo (11 yrs), Old Time Appalachian Fiddle (6 yrs), Clawhammer Banjo (6 yrs) | YouTube | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2019, 2020 | Acoustic Kids Ambassador 2019

I have been playing the tenor banjo since I was 5 & hope to help revive it & the music of its era. Some of my favorite musicians are The Avett Brothers, Mike Pingatore, Annette Hanshaw, & Harry Reser. I was chosen as an Acoustic Kids Ambassador @ MerleFest 2019. I aspire to become an Americana & jazz musician & actively pursue this by playing open mics & gigs & composing my own music.

  • Member of both Reedy River Jazz Band & Youth Jazz Ensemble -Greenville Jazz Collective
  • SC State Fiddling Championship -2015-2019 -Jr. Fiddle, Jr. Wildcat (tenor banjo), Jr. Banjo -placed in top 3 in 1 or more categories each year
  • Performed and represented tenor banjo @ Hagood Mill Banjo Extravaganza 2019
  • 2017-2019 -TAM YAM Camp -fiddle, string band, music assistant, and junior counselor
  • Performed @ Pendleton Spring Jubilee 2019
  • Actively perform @ open mics & gigs in town

Everett Toombs

Everett Toombs

Everett Toombs

Mars Hill, NC | Guitar (2 yrs), Appalachian Step Dance (1 yr) | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2020

I participate in the Dance program with Junior Appalachian Musicians of Madison County. We performed the Virginia Reel before Christmas. I also am part of Asheville’s Academy for the Arts’ Jammers program with my guitar where I take my guitar lessons. I like to play outside, and go hiking, biking, and practice archery in my back yard. I am learning how to play tennis and to snow ski. I enjoy painting and drawing and I like to make crafts. I also can’t wait to go to my YMCA summer camp! My parents and my Opa said they have taken me to Merlefest every year my whole life since I was 4 months old.

Tate Vannoy

Wilkesboro, NC | Guitar (3 yrs) | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2017-2020

Activities: Sports – particularly baseball, football and basketball.

W-Z

Hayden Walker

Hayden Walker

Hayden Walker

Todd, NC | Mandolin (4 yrs), Guitar (6 yrs), Banjo (6 yrs) | Group: Pickin’ Thistles (5 yrs)| In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2017-2020

Hayden has competed and won both individually and as a band at area fiddle festivals. He has played at Acoustic Kids Merlefest, IBMA’s Wide Open Bluegrass JAM stage, Appaloosa Festival, and many other area festivals. He has been a participant in the Boone JAM program for 4 years. He also enjoys playing with friends, skiing, and running cross country.

Margaret Walker

 Margaret Walker

Margaret Walker

Todd, NC | Cello (1 yrs), Violin, Piano | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2020

Maggie is learning the cello, violin, and piano, but her favorite is the cello. She is learning some old time tunes that her siblings play on the cello. Maggie also does Irish dancing and Scottish highland dancing. She is also learning to read big girl books.

Patrick Walker

Patrick-Walker

Patrick Walker

Todd, NC | Violin (2 yrs) | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2020

Patrick is learning the fiddle, piano, guitar, and the bagpipes. He also loves to play soccer and ski race. He enjoys reading and building with legos. It won’t be long before he can play with his siblings in their family band Pickin’ Thistles.

Thank you for welcoming our family and allowing them an opportunity to perform and feel like a special part of Merlefest.

Robina Josephine Walker

Robina Josephine Walker

Robina Josephine Walker

Todd, NC | Violin (6 yrs), Voice (3 yrs), Irish step dancing (5 yrs), Scottish highland dancing (5 yrs) | Group: Pickin’ Thistles (5 yrs) | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2017-2020

Josephine has won many awards in old-time and bluegrass fiddle at area fiddle festivals. She has also won awards at Scottish fiddle competitions. She enjoys Irish dancing and Scottish highland dancing. She also loves to read and play piano.

I love playing for Acoustic Kids. Andy May is so nice, and I always have so much fun. It’s fun to tell my friends I have played at Merlefest!

Rosemary Walker

Acoustic Kids LogoTodd, NC | Violin (4 yrs), Guitar (4 yrs), Voice (3 yrs) | Group: Pickin’ Thistles (5 yrs) | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2017-2020

Rosemary has played at many fiddle and music festivals. She has also won awards at Scottish fiddle competitions. She enjoys Irish dancing and Scottish highland dancing. She qualified for the Irish dance national championships which will take place this July. She also loves to read, draw, and play piano.

Allie Rose White

Allie Rose White

Allie Rose White

North Wilkesboro, NC | Fiddle (2 mos) | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2020

I’m a 3rd grader at Millers Creek Elem. I love basketball, fiddle, and my dog Lucy. I can’t wait to play at MerleFest!

Sydney Rose Wray

Sydney Rose Wray

Sydney Rose Wray

Oak Ridge, NC | Singing (7 yrs), Songwriting (7 yrs), Guitar (2 yrs) | Website | Facebook | Instagram | In Acoustic Kids: MerleFest, 2020

Sydney Rose hails from just outside of Greensboro and has been singing for as long as she can remember getting classical training in chorus and musical theater. Sydney Rose’s strong singing ability covers a multitude of genres including contemporary and classic country, pop, and rock. Her relatable original lyrics are strongly influenced by country, folk, and blues. Sydney Rose is currently attending GTCC in the Fine Arts in Music program. She is busy recording her EP set to release Spring/Summer 2020. Sydney Rose is also co-owner of a princess character company where she performs at birthday celebrations and Make-a-Wish reveal events.

 

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