EMERGING TALENT: River Rose Boyce is one of four winners of the  Bello Winter Music's Youth Mentorship program, who had the opportunity to perform at the festival.
EMERGING TALENT: River Rose Boyce is one of four winners of the Bello Winter Music's Youth Mentorship program, who had the opportunity to perform at the festival. Claudia Jambor

Bello winter music boasts youth talent

ASPIRING teen musicians were given 20 minutes of fame during the Bello Winter Music festival line-up.

The young performers were the four winners of the three-day festival’s youth mentorship program, which aimed to foster young talent by teaming emerging acts with established artists from the music festival’s line-up.

A performance slot on stage was one of the many prizes received by the winners. The winners were treated to a 20-minute rehearsal with their mentor, a backstage pass for their mentor’s performance and a weekend pass to the festival.

Fifteen-year-old Bellingen High School student River Rose Boyce was among the winners who performed on stage during day two of the festival.

While nerves and a lingering cold unsettled the young performer at first, once River started singing, her confidence grew with each song.

River’s mentor and soul legend Jo Smith joined the young artist on stage for a strong performance finish with the pair belting out a soulful appropriation of George Gershwin’s hit Summertime.

Jo, or Jo Jo as she was affectionately nicknamed by River, was the perfect mentor for the young singer-songwriter.

From voices to the way they perform, River said Jo Jo identified various similarities between the pair as artists.

“I’m like her, she said; it made me feel so special,” River said.

Music runs in River’s family, according to her mum Julie, who says her son Retaw is a world-class violinist.

Singing around the house has been commonplace in the family since River was a toddler.

Winner of the under-15 category of the Bello Winter Music’s youth mentorship program, Juno Pepper Nebauer, 14, on stage with guitarist Nadja Bircher.
Winner of the under-15 category of the Bello Winter Music’s youth mentorship program, Juno Pepper Nebauer, 14, on stage with guitarist Nadja Bircher. Claudia Jambor

“We were to have all our conversations in singing around the house. There were never any boxes or rules around it all,” Julie said. “I’ve wanted her to be a performer since she was three; she’s got it in her.”

Winner of the under-15 category, Juno Pepper Nebauer, 14, said the program had enhanced her performance skills.

“Not a better singer, a better performer I’d say because it’s not like my range improved or anything,” she said.

“I’ve got a better understanding about how to perform ... (and) definitely with performance techniques and how not to get as nervous.”

For a full wrap-up, pick up Wednesday’s edition of The Advocate.



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