The Bursary

The SHINE Music Bursary is an annual financial award intended to support young musicians who wish to further their study or practice of traditional or folk music. Individual award amounts vary, ranging from a minimum of $1,000 to a maximum of $2,000.

This bursary is available to youth who:

  • Face financial barriers which impede their practice and/or study of music
  • Are between the ages of 16 and 24
  • Are living in the Greater Toronto Area or surrounding communities
  • Are seeking to further their study or practice of traditional or folk music*.
    (*This includes roots, Celtic, bluegrass, and singer-songwriter, etc., accompanied by an organic musical instrument. This does not include music created by digital production, sampling or computer.)

Originally known as the Jim Fay Music Bursary, SHINE was inaugurated in 2010 by the family and friends of Jim Fay. Native to Ireland but home in Toronto, Jim played guitar and mandolin and was an ardent fan and performer of Celtic, folk and acoustic music. Jim had always been very involved in Toronto’s music community, and he consistently encouraged others to foster their musical pursuits. In 2008, Jim died of a heart attack just a few days shy of his 45th birthday. A music bursary to assist struggling young folk musicians seemed a fitting way in which to honour Jim’s memory.

In August 2013, the Toronto music community lost another great friend and talent. James Gray, a brilliant and versatile musician and long-time keyboard player for Blue Rodeo, died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 52. His family and friends held a tribute concert at the Dakota Tavern to celebrate his life. Many performers took part and people were so generous that James’ family found they had raised a significant amount of money. We are very grateful that they chose to donate that money to the SHINE Music Bursary. Since that beginning, the Gray family have become integrally involved with SHINE, and their on-going involvement and generosity have almost doubled SHINE’s ability to reach and to support struggling young musicians in the GTA.

In March 2014, the Toronto musical community suffered another great loss when Doug Queen tragically lost his life at the age of 49, leaving behind his wife and two young sons. Doug was an accomplished songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist, and was a member of the Toronto rock/bluegrass band Jughead, which included his twin brother Andrew. Their hit single “Hockey Song” earned them a gold record and can be heard at the Hockey Hall of Fame. Doug was also an exceptional teacher and is greatly missed at Brock Public School, where he taught music for 18 years.  Since 2016, the SHINE circle widened to welcome Doug’s family and friends into the fold, and together we are pleased to be able to help honour Doug’s memory by offering the Douglas Queen Music Bursary.

In 2020, SHINE embraced the family and friends of Bruce Adamson.  Father to a young son and daughter, and lead guitarist for Toronto band Staggered Crossing, Bruce was a brilliant guitarist who remained an influential contributor to the Toronto music community until his untimely death in 2015. Bruce was a graduate of York University, Queen’s Faculty of Law and the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California. His hot guitar licks, good humour and intelligence will be missed by all who knew him.  SHINE is pleased to offer a Bruce Adamson Music Bursary annually.

In 2023, SHINE welcomes Gord Goodwin into its family of bursaries.  Gordie was known all over the city at open stages and local musical gigs as a gifted guitarist, yet one who shunned the spotlight.  He never wanted to direct the song, he simply and beautifully complimented everyone with whom he played, sharing in the joy and wonder of the song.  After his sudden passing late in 2022, his friends and family organized a two-day GordFest to celebrate his life and his contribution to Toronto’s music community. SHINE has established an annual Gord Goodwin Music Bursary to be awarded beginning in 2024.

Funding for the SHINE Music Bursary is raised through our annual SHINE! Concert and through generous donations from individuals and groups. Donations are welcome throughout the year and can be made by clicking on the Donate Now button.

Candidates wishing to apply may do so at any time throughout the year. Applications received by January 15th will be considered for this year by our Selection Committee, which is made up of music industry professionals, performers and youth agency workers, among others. This year’s award(s) will be announced early in the new year and will be presented at the next SHINE! Concert fundraising event. Applications received after the submission deadline may be considered among the following years’ applications