Giving Back in Song

Billy McLaughlin and Katy Vernon perform at Matoska Music Festival.

“It was very fun to play at my daughter’s school,” says Katy Vernon about performing at the Matoska Music Festival, a fundraiser for the annual fourth-grade camp experience for Matoska International IB School students. Another performer, local legend Billy McLaughlin, says, “It was a great celebration of the community coming together for the kids.” The event gave both McLaughlin and Vernon an opportunity to give back to the community and to the school where their children have attended or are still attending.

McLaughlin, now in the “second half of his career,” uses his experience as a performer and life with focal dystonia, a neurological condition, to add an educational aspect to his performances. He recently won an award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Pacific Southwest chapter for his composition “Starry Night,” and will be traveling to Beijing and New York to perform.

Katy Vernon will perform at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts regularly this September, and at the Uke Fest in Minneapolis in October. Also in September comes the long-awaited release of her new album, which will have more of a pop sound than her previous folk album.