Sharon, Lois & Bram

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Sharon, Lois & Bram
Sharon, Lois & Bram - 1994
Background information
Origin Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Genres Children/Family
Instruments Sharon: vocals, piano, guitar
Lois: piano, autoharp, vocals
Bram: guitar, banjo, vocals
Years active 1978 (1978)–present
Labels Elephant, A&M, Drive Entertainment, Skinnamarink Entertainment, Casablanca Kids Inc.
Associated acts Eric Nagler, Raffi, Fred Penner
Website www.sharonloisbram.com
Members Sharon Hampson, Lois Ada Lilienstein, Bramwell Morrison
Sharon Hampson
Born (1943-03-31) March 31, 1943 (age 72)
Toronto, Ontario
Lois Ada Lilienstein
Born (1936-07-10)July 10, 1936
Chicago, Illinois
Died April 22, 2015(2015-04-22) (aged 78)
Toronto, Ontario
Bramwell Morrison
Born (1940-12-18) December 18, 1940 (age 74)
Toronto, Ontario

Sharon, Lois & Bram (currently performing as Sharon, Bram & Friends or Sharon & Bram) is a Canadian children's musical trio composed of Sharon (Trostin) Hampson, Lois Ada (Goldberg) Lilienstein, and Bramwell "Bram" Morrison that formed in 1978 in Toronto.

Group formation[edit]

Sharon Hampson, Lois Lilienstein, and Bram Morrison began their singing careers as individuals, and met while performing for the "Mariposa in the Schools" program.[1] The three performers quickly discovered that they shared a common philosophy about creating quality music for children. In 1978, armed with vision, talent and $20,000 borrowed from family and friends, they recorded their first album One Elephant, Deux Éléphants, released by Elephants Records distributed by A&M.[2] The folk-style album, with its eclectic musical mix, was an instant success, becoming one of the fastest-selling children's albums ever produced in Canada.

The group began touring Canada in 1979, in The Greatest Little Touring Super Show, and then appeared in the United States at the Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors Festival in New York in 1980. The group had a diverse musical sound and themed songs. It ranged from folk songs, school yard chants, pop tunes, camp songs, singing games, rounds, and nonsense rhymes that were performed in diverse styles such as jazz, calypso, rock'n roll, country and folk. Their music was for families and leaned heavily towards participation and sing-along styles. This style was further developed in their television show, The Elephant Show, which began airing on CBC in 1984.

Their unique singing style can be attributed not only to themselves but also to producer Bill Usher.[2] Usher was looking for a more energetic twist to children's music and a shift away from the previous traditional folk style. Usher used a technique in which songs were no longer filtered through personalities and trademark sounds of the performer. Instead, songs drew upon various musical styles, such as rock'n roll, Broadway or calypso. This sound was regarded as completely new. Sharon, Lois, and Bram's appeal crossed a variety of demographics.[3]


During the 1980s, the trio starred in The Elephant Show on CBC. The series was later aired in reruns on the U.S. cable network Nickelodeon, through 1995. Each thirty-minute installment featured episode-length storylines, in addition to songs and sketches, featuring the trio alongside a human-sized elephant puppet and children's entertainer, Eric Nagler. Special guests, which included Fred Penner, Ann Mortifee, Louis Del Grande, Jayne Eastwood, Andrea Martin, The Nylons, Murray McLauchlan, Jan Rubes, Sneezy Waters, The Shuffle Demons, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, and many more, also appeared on each 30 minute episode.

A second series, titled Skinnamarink TV, featured a different format and two new puppet characters. The series ran for 52 episodes on the CBC in Canada and The Learning Channel in the USA from 1997 to 1999.

The group won the Juno Award for best children’s album in 1979-named Smorgasboard, their 1980 album Singing ‘n’ Swinging and in 1999 Skinnamarink TV Sing-along album. These three albums had record sales exceeding 100,000 copies in Canada alone, this also brings to exception three additional albums who achieved the same successful records sales, Mainly Mother Goose, In the Schoolyard and Sharon, Lois and Bram’s Elephant Show Record. Their influence on Canada’s children’s records became an international influence, with their international sales above 2.5 million dollars in 1991.[2]

Sharon, Lois & Bram 1986

They know and respect children; each had an extensive background in children’s music prior to the group uniting.[1] Since 1988, Sharon, Lois & Bram have been members of UNICEF. They began by supporting the Trick-Or-Treat for Unicef campaign. In 1989, the trio were appointed National Ambassadors by UNICEF Canada. They were involved in events, education, and public service materials, special appearances and fund raising. Through their work, they have reached children, educators, parents, the media and heads of government. In 1996, Sharon, Lois & Bram were appointed by UNICEF Canada, the spokespersons for its 50th Anniversary Year Celebration.[4]

The White House Annual Easter Egg Roll & Hunt in 1994 featured Sharon, Lois & Bram. The trio performed a concert in the Ellipse and were invited into the White House to have breakfast with President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

In 1995, the trio was approached by Collective of Western Canada Planetariums and asked to produce a "Laser Sharon, Lois & Bram" multi-media presentation. This was so that children at an early age could be introduced to the solar system by way of education through entertainment. Make A Wish with Sharon, Lois & Bram premiered in June 1995 for extended runs in Vancouver's H. R. MacMillan Space Centre and Toronto's McLaughlin Planetarium, which no longer exists.

Also, in 1995, the song Old John Braddelum which was on their 1978 album, One Elephant, Deux Éléphants appeared in the feature-film Billy Madison starring Adam Sandler.

In 1996 Sharon, Lois and Bram each received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters (DHL) from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.[5]

In 2000, after the death of her husband and deciding that life on the road was too hectic, Lilienstein retired from touring with the group, which now often performs as Sharon, Bram & Friends (friends referring to life-size animal puppets that appear alongside them). Lilienstein has continued to play benefit shows and record with the group. In 2002 the three were made members of the Order of Canada,[6][7][8] making the Chicago-born Lois one of the few non-Canadians to receive the honour. Video clips of the ceremony can be seen on Sharon, Lois & Bram's 25-year anniversary movie titled "25 Years of Skinnamarink".

All three Received the Canadian Version of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 [9][10][11]

All three Received the Canadian Version of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 [12][13][14]

In 2005 Bram announced on CBC News that he had been found to have a benign tumor which was causing deafness in one ear. He underwent an experimental procedure to prevent further hearing loss.[15]

Sharon's husband, Joe Hampson, died on November 30, 2006. Joe played with the folk group The Travellers for more than 40 years. Lois stepped in and performed with Bram during Sharon's time of mourning.

Sharon, Lois & Bram reunited on stage at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival on May 4, 2008 for a rare performance featuring all three singers and a viewing of their 2004 concert titled "25 Years of Skinnamarink".

In 2009, the trio was awarded the Estelle Klein Award for their significant contributions to Ontario's folk music community. Sharon, Lois & Bram received their award at the 23rd Annual OCFF Conference held in Ottawa from October 15–18, 2009. The Saturday evening gala dinner on October 17 included a short video presentation of their life’s work. On Sunday, October 18, the OCFF continued its tradition of the award recipient being interviewed by Richard Flohil.[16]

In August 2012, Sharon & Bram appeared on Toronto's morning news show CP24 to discuss their special guest appearance at the Ashkenaz Jewish Festival scheduled for September 2, 2012 at the Harbourfront Centre. The duo continue to tour and are currently represented by Jeff Andrusyk at JMA Talent.[17]

On May 10, 2014 at 1:00pm in Toronto, roughly 2,000 people gathered for inaugural celebration and plaque unveiling for the official "Sharon, Lois & Bram Playground" located at June Rowlands Park in midtown Toronto. The playground was named in the trio's honour after Toronto Councillor Josh Matlow put forth the proposal in the summer of 2013, which was later approved in January 2014. The ceremony consisted of a welcome by Josh Matlow, followed by several musical numbers by Sharon, Lois & Bram and short words of congratulations from various key individuals throughout the trio's career. The ceremony concluded with the unveiling of an elephant-shaped park sign.[citation needed]

On April 22, 2015, Lois Lilienstein died at age 78 from endometrial cancer.[18]

Lois Lilienstein's obituary

Lois Lilienstein, whose sunny personality and tuneful, bell-clear voice were central to the live and televised performances of Sharon, Lois & Bram, the Canadian singing group popular among young children and their families, died on Wednesday at her home in Toronto. She was 78.

The cause was cancer, her son, David, told The Associated Press.

A trained pianist and singer, Ms. Lilienstein was an American Midwesterner who in 1966 moved with her husband, Ernest, to Toronto, where she began performing for and teaching music to preschoolers and other children. In the 1970s, she met Sharon Hampson and Bramwell Morrison when all three were performing at the Mariposa Folk Festival in Orillia, Ontario, north of Toronto. They released an album of eclectic folk songs for children, “One Elephant, Deux Éléphants,” in 1978, and began touring with a show that often encouraged singalongs and other forms of audience participation.

Their profile was raised in 1984 with the premiere of their television show, “Sharon, Lois & Bram’s Elephant Show” (initially merely “The Elephant Show”), featuring the trio; another children’s entertainer, Eric Nagler; an actor in a cheery elephant costume, Paula Gallivan; and both child and adult guests. The show was on the Canadian Broadcasting Company until January 1989, and in reruns on the Nickelodeon cable channel in the late 1980s and the 1990s.

Each of the 30-minute episodes, which were sweet-tempered with an educational element à la “Sesame Street,” had a theme, delivered mostly in songs. (“Farm Show,” for example, featured songs about barnyard animals and growing vegetables.) Notable for employing a variety of musical styles — from rock to nursery rhyme, country to calypso — the show’s episodes signaled their closing with a regular finale, which became a musical signature: a jaunty ditty called “Skinnamarink,” with a repeated nonsensical lyric that made perfect sense:

Skinnamarinky dinky dink,

Skinnamarinky doo,

I love you.

Lois Ada Goldberg was born in Chicago on July 10, 1936. Her father was an insurance salesman who played piano at weddings and bar mitzvahs; her mother went with her to tap school, and they performed together at family gatherings. She studied music literature and piano at the University of Michigan, where she met Ernest Lilienstein, who was studying sociology. They married in 1959; lived for a time in Chicago, where Ernest completed his doctorate; and moved to Toronto when he was offered a job at York University.

Mr. Lilienstein died in 1998, and shortly thereafter Ms. Lilienstein decided to stop touring with the group, though she occasionally made guest appearances with Ms. Hampson and Mr. Bramwell. Beyond her son, a list of immediate survivors was unavailable.

Sharon, Lois & Bram performed together through most of the 1990s — they appeared on Broadway between Christmas and New Year’s in 1993 — and a second television show, “Skinnamarink TV,” was presented in the late 1990s on the CBC in Canada and the Learning Channel in the United States. Their many albums include “Smorgasbord,” “Singing ’n Swinging,” “In the Schoolyard,” “Mainly Mother Goose,” “Candles, Snow and Mistletoe” and “All the Fun You Can Sing.”

UNICEF Spokespersons[edit]

UNICEF Canada appointed Sharon, Lois & Bram as spokespersons for its 50th Anniversary Year celebrations in 1996.

Sharon, Lois & Bram joined UNICEF in 1988 supporting the annual Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign. They were awarded the UNICEF Danny Kaye Award for their help in raising more than three million dollars that year in Canada.

In 1989, Sharon, Lois & Bram were appointed National Ambassadors by UNICEF Canada, supporting UNICEF activities in Canada and around the world. They were involved in events, education and public service materials, special appearances and fundraising. Through their work, they have reached children, educators, parents, the media and heads of government.

Sharon, Lois & Bram's work for UNICEF continued through 1996. In their capacity as Anniversary Year Spokespersons, they were featured in UNICEF public service announcements and in special education materials for elementary schools, including a new song written to highlight the work of UNICEF.



*Television Awards/ The Elephant Show/ Candles snow & Mistletoe

Sharon, Lois & Bram's Elephant Show- Parents' Choice Hall of Fame - Classics Award and Silver Honors Video for Preschool to Kindergarten, 1991 Ace Award Nomination - Best International Children's Programming Series, 1990 Gemini Nomination - Best Performance in a Variety, Comedy or Performing Arts Show, 1989 National Telemedia Council Special Recognition Award - Excellence in Children's Programming, 1988 National Telemedia Council Finalist - Best Performers in a Variety of Performing Arts Program or Series, 1988 Parents' Choice Gold Award - Children's Television, 1986 & 1987 30th Annual Intentional Film & TV Festival of New York Silver Medal - Television Entertainment Children's Program, 1987 Parents' Choice Gold Award -Remarkable Home Video, 1987

Candles, Snow & Mistletoe Gemini Nomination - Candles Snow & Mistletoe Best Children's Program or Series, 1995


  1. ^ a b "Jason Ankeny. Artist Direct, " Sharon, Lois & Bram,"". Retrieved 2012-09-22. 
  2. ^ a b c "Canadian Encyclopedia. "Sharon, Lois & Bram."". Retrieved 2012-09-22. 
  3. ^ Posen, Sheldon (1993). "The Beginnings of the Children’s (Folk) Music Industry In Canada: An Overview.". Canadian Journal for Traditional Music. 
  4. ^ "Sharon, Lois & Bram. DestinyWeb, "Sharon, Lois & Bram UNICEF Spokespersons"". 1997-10-07. Retrieved 2012-09-22. 
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  15. ^ "Child entertainer sings praises of new hearing aid treatment". 2005-06-30. Retrieved 2012-09-22. [dead link]
  16. ^ "Award description and official website". Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2012-09-22. 
  17. ^ "Artists". JMA Talent. Sharon & Bram are still singing to fans. Retrieved 2012-09-22. 
  18. ^ "Lois Lilienstein, of Canadian children's trio Sharon, Lois & Bram, dead at 78". CBC News. 2015-04-23. Retrieved 2015-04-23. 

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