What we do
We're a folk music club based in Newport.
We run a range of musical activities, including a choir, Celtic session, blues session and drumming group. Our focus is on participation.
At most of our events you can join in, sing or play, (but you don't have to!)
You don't need to be a club member to attend our activities, but we do offer discounted entry to members. We are an Incorporated Association with an elected committee.
The Newport Fiddle and Folk Club aims to:
Provide a venue for those interested in locally produced music
Provide opportunities for amateur musicians to get together, play and learn from each other with an emphasis on, but not restricted to, folk music
Provide opportunities for non musicians to come enjoy and participate in music through listening, singing, and dancing
Provide opportuntities that challenge our members to refine and develop their performance and presentation skills.
Beyond the monthly gatherings of the NFFC, the Club has a role to play in the development of young and older musicians through workshops and other planned musical gatherings.
The NFFC aims to develop links with sponsors of the Arts to source funding for professional musicians who will be able to provide musical both leadership and inspiration for developing musicians.
Our policy on acceptable content at events
The Newport Folk and Fiddle Club aims to make all its events inclusive and welcoming to everyone, regardless of gender, age, race, disability or sexual preference. We ask that all performers consider whether their material is likely to cause offence. Offensive content is not welcome at our events.
Become a member for only $20 a year, $25 for a family membership.
Membership entitles you to discounted entry to our events, to stand for election to the Committee, and to be listed on the Performers page if you're a performer or music teacher.
Join or renew online
You can join or renew your membership online using Visa or Mastercard.
This payment service is provided by PayMate.
After we receive your payment, we will send you a membership card in the mail.
Individual membership ($20)
Family membership ($25)
Family membership covers 2 people. When filling in the payment form, please enter both names in the "First name" box, separated by full stops, e.g. "Alan.Sue"
Please note that children get the same (or better) discount as members for all our events.
Organisation membership ($25)
Available to schools, community groups etc. One representative from the organisation has full membership rights including voting. Membership includes 2 guest cards for member-price entry to events.
When filling in the payment form, please enter organisation name after last name, separated by a full stop, e.g.
"Nguyen.Newport Heights Primary School"
The Club has an elected Committee that oversees and makes decisions about our activities.
All Committee positions are open to election at our AGM in March.
All financial members are eligible to stand for election to the Committee.
Michael started the Club’s initial meeting, the monthly session, with some friends in 2004 and then took on the role of President when the first committee was formed in 2005. He has been amazed at the number and range of groups that have evolved from this simple gathering, and has enjoyed being part of the development of the Newport musical community. Michael plays violin with the Newport Strings. He is also the Director of the Newport Folk Festival.
Alan joined the club in 2005. He is a choir leader, singer and guitarist. His ‘day job’ is in online communications. Alan has been the conductor of the Newport Community Choir since its formation in late 2008. He has been involved in many aspects of the club’s activities, including maintaining and operating the club’s PA system, Festival organising and co-ordinating the club’s online and print communications.
Rick has been a club member from the beginning and a founding committee member – and took over the club’s secretarial reins from Alison in 2012.
He has strummed guitars, mandolins, bouzoukis and tenor banjos over the last 45 years and also flirted with harmonicas and tin whistles in a desperate attempt to amuse himself - and occasionally others!
Currently he plays with his partner Nicola in the imaginatively named duo The Ricolas – they play a mix of mainly Irish and Scottish tunes and songs.
Neil joined the Committee as Treasurer in 2018. After a lifetime of loving music, Neil was a late starter, and a slow learner, beginning to learn the guitar and occasionally bass six years ago. Neil is 6 of the strings of '18 Strings' - an acoustic guitar trio. When not butchering music, Neil's day job is as a tax lawyer.
Alison played tin whistle with the club’s founding group of friends way back in 2004. Alison took on the role as secretary/treasurer during the early years of the club, passing these positions on as the club grew beyond our expectations. Alison has the club to thank for discovering the ukulele and her solo voice. She now teaches several classes, workshops and one on one students the wonders of this marvellous 4 stringed instrument. Her band the Ukulele Dolls play regularly throughout Hobsons Bay and beyond.
Kerry Duke was born in Footscray and moved to Williamstown in 1954. He was a member of the Williamstown Sea Scouts for 44 years, rising to Group Leader. When he retired from his career as a plumber and company manager, Kerry took up learning mandolin and has been an active member of the Newport Bush Orchestra since joining the NFFC.
Kerry is a Life Member of the Hobson's Men's Shed Inc, and also Challenge Cancer Support Network. Kerry’s hobby is making ukuleles and along with Michael Stewart has taken about 25 of them to the LEF For Life School in Dhaka, Bangladesh and taught some of the school children how to play them.
Greg has been a club member since 2008. He has been a performer since primary school where he would sing unaccompanied (and uninvited) in show-and-tell. A keen songwriter, he helped to run “The Incredibly Supportive Songwriting Group”. He is currently co-host of the Club’s Open Stage nights and helps to organise the Club’s Theme Nights. While his main instrument is the guitar, he also plays a little banjo and is currently extending his harmonica and mandolin skills. He is half of the comic “ratbag blues” duo Sunny and Cloudy which performs original songs and schtick. His other “duties” for the Club have included MC-ing and venue management at festivals and maintaining the Atrocious Pun Quotient at Committee meetings.
Adrian was co-opted on to the Committee in August 2021. He is a retired IT support technician, and joined the club in 2017 as a member of Tues Blues and primarily contributes as lead guitarist. After being inspired by a Monkees concert in Festival Hall in 1967, Adrian took up the guitar to eventually follow the styles of the singer-songwriters of the 60's & '70s, but his most significant musical influence was Don McLean. He plays and composes in a number of musical genres, and has a modest but effective home recording studio.
After first learning the ukulele in primary school, Deborah picked it up again, 15 years ago, only to realise that ukulele playing had become a world wide phenomenon. She sought out other ukulele players and, in 2016, joined the Saturday morning uke group, which had just started to meet in Hall St. Through this group, Deborah discovered the NFFC and the many talented musicians in the area. She became a member of the NFFC in 2017. Since then, Deborah has participated in, and supported the festivals and various theme nights of the club as a member of the Ukulele Dolls.
It's important to us to be part of our local community.
We run our activities with the co-operation and support of many other local groups, including:
Statewide and nationwide
The club is a member of:
The club was founded by Michael Stewart in 2004.
For the first 2 years of its life, the club was simply a monthly jam session. Then the Bush Orchestra started up in 2006, the choir in 2008 and various other monthly events along the way.
The club's early history was documented in monthly website updates and then from 2009 in a blog.
Since 2015 we have used Facebook to report on events.
(These reports are not yet available on the new website: we're still working out the technical issues...)
Research - Music is Good!
We all know playing music and singing feels good. But why? Why is music universal in every human society? And is there any evidence that involvement in music is good for our health?
The club commissioned local musician and academic Steve Martin to research these questions over several months in 2016. Steve presented his findings at a "LIve@Newport" event on 21 August.
Here are Steve's PowerPoint slides.
The Mozart effect (Jenkins, Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine Volume 94 April 2001)
Arousal, Mood and the Mozart Effect (Thompson Psychological Science)
Music as a technology for social bonding: Comment on “Music, empathy, and cultural understanding” by E. Clarke et al. (Launay, Phys Life Rev . 2015 December)
The ice-breaker effect: singing mediates fast social bonding (Pearce, Royal Society Publishing, 2015)
The nature of music from a biological perspective (Peretz, International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research (BRAMS), University of Montreal, 2006)
Music Influences Hedonic and Taste Ratings in Beer (Carvalho, Frontiers in Psychology, 2016)
Singing and social bonding: changes in connectivity and pain threshold as a function of group size (abstract) (Weinstein, Evolution and Human Behaviour 37, 2016
Community choirs growing as members reap health benefits (ABC News 18 June 2016)
The neuroscience of singing Ockham's Razor, 22 June 2014)
Clearing the fog of dementia with song - Kate Stanton, University of Melbourne, 2017
More to come!