Learning how to livestream & record for video projects...
❤ Still managed a few in-person events ❤
Little did we know how much would change & so fast... Thankfully a lot of fun was crammed into February: Blue's Hornpipe Night with Owen Marshall, Mardi Gras up in UMO's Franco American Centre, busking at the Center for Maine Craft and the Brunswick Winter Market for teeny dancers and a proposal - that's right down on one knee and everything! He said my tunes gave him courage!
Included multiple St. Patrick's Day appearances, sharing a tune with Andrea Beaton & Troy MacGillivray in Farmington, a Pineland Fiddlers birthday at Mindful Folk Farm, and a performance at the Waterville Opera House.
THE SHETLAND ISLANDS
With the Pineland Fiddlers! Owen fell in love with Shetland and the Shetland style of fiddling, attending workshops at the Shetland Folk Frenzy, performing at the Big Gig, exploring St. Ninian's Beach, traveling up to the bird sanctuaries in Unst, and jamming every night.
After leaving Shetland by ferry, Owen made a QUICK TRIP TO EDINBURGH, visiting The Antiquary and Dalriada for jams, playing tunes out on the Royal Mile, and touring Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Park.
The island, the fiddlers, the tunes & tradition - has a special place in Owen's heart. He first visited with the Pineland Fiddlers in 2015, stopping at the Celtic Interpretive Centre, signing in at the Red Shoe Pub, and taking a workshop at the Gaelic College with Rodney MacDonald. Back home in Maine, he played at a commemorative event hosted by the Maine State Archives, where a tree from Cape Breton stopped on its way to Boston in appreciation of the men and women from Maine who helped their Canadian neighbors after the Halifax Explosion of 1917.
Owen returned to Cape Breton for the 2018 Celtic Colours International Festival, fiddling at sessions and the Bras D'or Yacht Club open mic every day and attending shows every night. He is looking forward to heading back up for the 2020 Colours!
Owen plays in several CONTRADANCE BANDS including the Maine Folque Co-op and the Pineland Fiddlers. He also enjoys joining other Maine trad musicians in pick-up bands, including Steve Muise, Bennett Konesni, John Cote, and Ben Foss. Watching the dancers respond to the music and make lively patterns on the dance floor are two of Owen's favorite parts of fiddling for dances.
Owen joined the MAINE FOLQUE CO-OP in 2014. His first performance with the group was at the American Folk Festival in Bangor, where they returned in 2018 to play with Pascal Gemme's band, Genticorum. Led by Cindy Larock, the Folque Co-op spreads the joie de vivre of jigs and reels throughout Central Maine, playing for schools, various concert series, dances, and events like Maine Maple Sunday and St. Patrick's Day.
FIDDLE HEROES inspire and motivate Owen, whether he's listening to tunes, taking a workshop, jamming, or joining them up on stage. A few favorite memories include an impromptu invite to play with Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy at The Strand in Rockland, jamming with Rowen Gallant and Jesse Périard of Ten Strings and a Goat Skin, getting up on stage with The Outside Track, and meeting The Gothard Sisters in Farmington.
More recently, Owen's been up on stage with several fiddle heroes, including Pete Sutherland & Pete's Posse, Andrea Beaton & Troy MacGillivray, and Genticorum. He's also taken workshops with Le Vent du Nord's Olivier Demers, Shetland fiddler Kevin Henderson, and Irish fiddler Liz Carroll, and hosted Quebecois fiddler Claude Méthé for a rehearsal in his living room. And he's seen Coig countless times both here in Maine and up in Cape Breton!
The only thing better than making music by yourself is making music WITH FRIENDS... at Maine Fiddle Camp or Maine Acoustic Festival; out on the lake or cheering people up in a hospital lobby; at Van der Brew, Doolin's Pub, Oxbow Blending & Bottling, or Maine Craft Distilling; under a tent, on a stage, or in a church... Owen thoroughly enjoys playing music with other young musicians and with mentors like Ellen Gawler, Owen Marshall, Ben Foss, and Bennett Konesni.
BUSKING helps Owen earn money for summer music camps, workshops, and travel to learn about other cultures' musical traditions. Plus it's a terrific way to connect with the community - sometimes travelers from Canada hear their home music & stop to say hi; other times tired little kids perk up and dance. Actually lots of people dance... putting a cane aside for a moment or kicking off shoes. One time a man just returning from a trip abroad ran back to his car (literally) for a huge Scottish flag, and paraded around with it draped like a cape. Hearing music in unexpected places brings joy to listeners, whether they pause for a moment or pull up a chair and eat their lunch.
PRACTICE... practice, practice, practice! As Dr. Suzuki said "you only have to practice on the days that you eat!" And that was the guideline for Owen as a young violinist/fiddler. Now he practices everywhere - at home, outside, in hotels and green rooms; with a looper or drones; with other musicians via YouTube and recordings from lessons & workshops; or in small ensemble or large group rehearsals.
In Fall 2019, Owen joined the YOUNG TRADITION VERMONT TOURING GROUP, an auditioned band of committed young traditional musicians, 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 season, including an April performance tour. Sadly, the end of the tour and the trip to Japan was cancelled. In both 2019 and 2020, Owen participated in the Young Tradition Festival, earning a top ten spot in their youth showcase. He has rejoined the group for the 2020 season, with virtual rehearsals and performances.
Crista Lavenson and Ken Walsh at the ALFOND YOUTH CENTER BOYS & GIRLS CLUB of Waterville have been extremely supportive of Owen's musical career. He was selected to perform twice in the local Youth Talent Show and was chosen to be one of ten young performers from around the country to entertain at the Boys & Girls Club National Conference in 2018. Owen kicked off the conference in San Diego for an audience of several thousand, as well as playing at the Board of Directors dinner. Owen is proud to have been part of fundraising for AYC endeavors, including the Mary Nash Beaupre Greenhouse where children learn to grow & share fresh food and the Chef Celebrity Gala held at the Sugarloaf Conference Center.
DROPPING IN ON SESSIONS AWAY is also good fun and Owen has enjoyed sessions from Fiddle Hell in Massachusetts to The Old Triangle Irish Alehouse in Charlottetown PEI, at Celtic Colours in Cape Breton (Pressed for Time with a piper!!), Festival Memoire et Racine in Quebec, at the Mareel in Lerwick, Shetland, and several pubs in Edinburgh!
Owen began CLASSICAL VIOLIN at four years old, as a Pineland Suzuki School student. He has played in multiple ensembles including Kennebec Valley Youth Symphony and Pineland Suzuki School chamber groups; he also attended New England Suzuki Institute over several summers. Currently, he performs with Mozart Mentors Orchestra conducted by Anthony Antolini; Pineland Suzuki School's advanced ensemble, Capital Strings; and has been selected for Maine's All State Orchestra Festival, with a concert scheduled for May 2020. Owen has also played in Pineland Suzuki School's solo recital at least once a year since 2010.
Owen has been part of the PINELAND FIDDLERS since 2012; his debut performance as a fiddler was with the Pineland Fiddlers at Skye Theatre in 2013 where his grin lit up the stage. Led by Master Maine fiddler Ellen Gawler, the Pineland Fiddlers' repertoire ranges from New England contradance tunes to tunes from the Canadian Maritimes, Quebec, Shetland, and Ireland. They perform in Central Maine for dances, in concert series, and at local events as well as going on tour abroad every several years. Owen has been to Cape Breton and the Shetland Islands with the Pineland Fiddlers.
JUST FOR FUN... proof that Owen can nap anywhere, loves animals, and has a ridiculous sense of humor. His other interests include getting outside as often as possible biking, fishing, skiing, or boating; pottery and art; and cooking.
THE BEGINNING: Owen began playing the violin at four years old, learning by ear with the Suzuki method. Even before his first real violin, he "played" the homemade cardboard & dowel rod model. His sister Madelyn was his first teacher and mentor. At seven, Owen started fiddle, and his first performance with the Pineland Fiddlers was at the beloved Skye Theatre.