Gig precinct: Shon Dunn’s favourite open mic relocated to Field Street’s Volta shortly before the COVID-19 lockdown. Photo: EDWINA WILLIAMS

Young guitarist gives back as awards ambassador

July 15, 2020 BY

IT’S been almost a decade since twenty-two-year-old musician, Shon Dunn first picked up a guitar to learn to play.

Through high school, he became a member of a few ensembles. A passion for music grew, and for the last five years, he’s been involved in Ballarat’s youth music scene.

“I started singing two years ago, and since then, I’ve been a solo act and also formed a hard rock band, late last year, called Loving Elara. I sing and play guitar in the band,” Dunn said.

“When I can, I love performing live because it’s challenging, but rewarding. I only started performing two years ago, through Ballarat Youth Services, their Battle of the Bands and Sonika Records.

“I used to frequent the weekly open mic night at The Printer’s Room. I’d just get up, even if I couldn’t play drums or bass, or another instrument, I’d have a crack on stage.”

Dunn balances his rehearsals and gigs with study. He is a past president of the Australian Catholic University Student Association at Aquinas Campus, currently in his fourth and final year of a primary education degree.

He said time on the stage, and teaching in the classroom is very different, but both spaces sometimes offer similar experiences.

“In the classroom, you’re almost on stage because you’ve got to keep the attention of the audience, and keep them engaged.”

No stranger to a leadership position, Dunn was approached by Ballarat Youth Services earlier in the year, to be an ambassador for their 2020 Youth Awards.

“They said multiple people had raised my name as a potential person for the role, as someone respected in the community,” he said.

“There are a lot of ideas and creative, innovative thoughts among young people. I get to be a hype man, of sorts, getting more eyes and ears on the awards to get more of these young people nominated and watching online.

“With my networks, at uni and in music, there’s a wider audience I can bring to the table. I enjoy that it’s a way to contribute to the community, be a part of it, invest in it and put back.”

Visit for more information about the awards nomination process which closes this Monday, 20 July.

“It’s an opportunity to recognise the contributions of young people in the community and a positive reinforcement that they should keep going,” Dunn said.