BEN DIAMOND is considered one of Canada’s most promising young contemporary classical guitarists. He spent the summer of 2019 performing in several Canadian provinces such as Quebec, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Newfoundland. In August 2019, Ben performed as a soloist and ensemble musician in the inaugural “21st century guitar conference” where he commissioned a new work for guitar and electronics titled “Prime Directive”.
He has been invited to the second installment of the 21st Century Guitar Conference in the fall of 2020 which will be held in Lisbon, Portugal. Upcoming plans include performing in dozens of solo and ensemble concerts throughout the year 2020 in St. John’s, and abroad. Ben strives to compete more frequently in competitions, and has already succeeded locally, provincially, and nationally.
In 2017, he was the first guitarist to win the Junior Instrumental Rose Bowl at the Kiwanis Music Festival in St. John’s. Ben participated in the Kiwanis festival again in 2019 and proceeded to win First Place in the Newfoundland Provincial Music festival. From there, he performed in the FCMF-National Music Festival in Saskatoon, SK and won Second Place in the National guitar competition.
Ben was featured as a guest artist in the second annual “Long and McQuade Classical Guitar Camp” where he hosted a masterclass, coached guitar ensembles, and premiered new works by Artistic Director Steve Murphy.
Currently a third year BMus student majoring in classical guitar performance at Memorial University studying with Sylvie Proulx, he participated in the “Domaine Forget” guitar academy where he studied with Jérôme Ducharme and performed in masterclasses with Jason Vieaux, and Matteo Mela from “SoloDuo”. He has performed in masterclasses with Louis Trepaniér, Michael Kolk, Renaud Côté-Giguère, Philip Candelaria and Isabelle Héroux. Ben is also studying a minor in composition under the tutelage of Andrew Staniland and Clark Ross.

JIM PAYNE + FERGUS O’BYRNE are two of Newfoundland’s most respected and multi-award winning performers who combine instrumental prowess and humorous repartee, to cover a broad spectrum of Newfoundland folk culture, including songs, stories and dance tunes. Their repertoire includes rousing sea shanties and work songs, poignant ballads, comic ditties, folk tales and recitations, and toe-tapping jigs, reels and polkas on a variety of instruments.

A native of Notre Dame Bay, Newfoundland, JIM PAYNE (vocals, accordion, mandola, guitar) is a leading performer, collector and producer of traditional Newfoundland music. He is also one of the province’s most prolific songwriters, as well as being a singer of traditional songs, a storyteller, writer, actor, step dancer and instructor and caller of traditional Newfoundland set and square dances. He has performed extensively on radio and television both in Canada and abroad, and has toured throughout North America, the US, Europe, Japan and Australia.

Originally from Ireland, FERGUS O’BYRNE (vocals, 5 string banjo, guitar, bodhran, concertina) became a familiar voice on radio and television as a member of the renowned folk group, Ryan’s Fancy, with whom he recorded 14 albums. Since then, he has followed a busy solo and freelance career, touring throughout Canada, the United States, Europe, Hong Kong and Australia. He can be heard on recordings by Newfoundland artists Great Big Sea, and he has contributed to several anthologies of Newfoundland music. Fergus was a member of the celebrated Newfoundland traditional band Tickle Harbour, whose album Battery Included, besides being an ECMA nominee, won three awards at the 1999 Newfoundland Music Industry Association Awards. In 2001 he produced a Ryan’s Fancy retrospective CD Songs From The Shows, featuring songs from the renowned 1970’s CBC National television series, Ryan’s Fancy and in 2011 he produced the highly acclaimed CD Ryan’s Fancy – What A Time!