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
Members Sharon Hampson (1978-present), Lois Lillenstein (1978-2000), Bramwell "Bram" Morrison (1978-present)
Sharon Hampson
Born (1943-03-31) March 31, 1943 (age 72)
Toronto, Ontario
Lois Lilienstein
Born (1936-07-10)July 10, 1936
Chicago, Illinois
Died April 23, 2015(2015-04-23) (aged 78)
Toronto, Ontario
Bramwell "Bram" Morrison
Born (1940-12-18) December 18, 1940 (age 74)
Toronto, Ontario

Sharon, Lois & Bram (also known as Sharon, Bram & Friends or Sharon & Bram) was a Canadian children's musical trio comprising Sharon (Trostin) Hampson, Lois Ada (Goldberg) Lilienstein, and Bramwell "Bram" Morrison that formed in 1978, in Toronto, Canada.

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 people. In 1978, with $20,000 borrowed from family and friends, they recorded their first album One Elephant, Deux Éléphants, released by Elephants Records and distributed by A&M.[2] The folk-style album, with its eclectic musical mix, was an instant success and became one of the fastest-selling children's albums ever produced in Canada.[citation needed]

The group began touring Canada in 1979, in The Greatest Little Touring Super Show, and in 1980 appeared in the United States at the Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors Festival, in New York City. The group had a diverse musical sound and themed songs which included folk songs, school yard chants, pop tunes, camp songs, singing games, rounds, and nonsense rhymes that were performed in diverse styles such as jazz, swing, 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 program, The Elephant Show, which began airing on CBC in 1984.

Producer Bill Usher contributed to their unique singing style.[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, he sought songs that drew upon various musical styles, such as rock'n roll, Broadway, and calypso. This sound was regarded as completely new. Sharon, Lois & 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 30-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 Louis Del Grande, Jayne Eastwood, Andrea Martin, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Murray McLauchlan, Ann Mortifee, Fred Penner, Jan Rubes, Sneezy Waters, The Nylons, The Shuffle Demons, 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 for three of their albums: Smorgasboard (1979), Singing ‘n’ Swinging (1980), and Skinnamarink TV Sing-along (1999). These three albums had record sales exceeding 100,000 copies in Canada alone. Three more of their albums achieved the same successful records sales: Mainly Mother Goose, In the Schoolyard, and Sharon, Lois and Bram’s Elephant Show Record. The group's influence on children’s records extended beyond Canada, with their international sales exceeding 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's 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 as spokespersons for UNICEF Canada's 50th Anniversary Year Celebration.[4]

The 1994 White House Annual Easter Egg Roll & Hunt 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.[citation needed]

In 1995, the trio was approached by Collective of Western Canada Planetariums and asked to produce a "Laser Sharon, Lois & Bram" multi-media presentation, so that children could be introduced at an early age 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.[citation needed]

Also, in 1995, the song 'Old John Braddelum", from their album, One Elephant, Deux Éléphants (1978), 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 her husband's death and decision that life on the road was too hectic, Lilienstein retired from touring with the group, which from that point on often performed as Sharon, Bram & Friends (friends referring to life-size animal puppets that appear alongside them). Lilienstein continued to play benefit shows and record with the group.[6][7][8]

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: 25 Years of Skinnamarink.

In 2002, all three Received the Canadian Version of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal.[9][10][11]

In 2012, all three Received the Canadian Version of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.[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]

On November 30, 2006, Sharon's husband, Joe Hampson, died. Joe had 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.[citation needed]

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

In 2009, the trio received 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 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 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]

Lois' death[edit]

Lois Lilienstein (born Lois Ada Goldberg on July 10, 1936, in Chicago) died Wednesday, April 22, 2015, aged 78, at home in Toronto.[18] Her son, David (an attorney), said the cause was endometrial cancer. In addition to David, Lilienstein is survived by a granddaughter.[19][20]

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[which?] written to highlight the work of UNICEF.



Television awards[edit]

Sharon, Lois & Bram's The Elephant Show[edit]

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

Candles, Snow & Mistletoe[edit]

  • Gemini Nomination - Candles Snow & Mistletoe Best Children's Program or Series, 1995[citation needed]


  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. 
  5. ^ "Our honorary degree recipients". 2015-07-07. Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  6. ^ a b "The Governor General of Canada > Find a Recipient". 2002-05-01. Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  7. ^ a b "The Governor General of Canada > Find a Recipient". Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  8. ^ a b "The Governor General of Canada > Find a Recipient". 2002-05-01. Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  9. ^ "The Governor General of Canada > Find a Recipient". Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  10. ^ "The Governor General of Canada > Find a Recipient". Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  11. ^ "The Governor General of Canada > Find a Recipient". Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  12. ^ "The Governor General of Canada > Find a Recipient". Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  13. ^ "The Governor General of Canada > Find a Recipient". Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  14. ^ "The Governor General of Canada > Find a Recipient". Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  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. ^ Weber, Bruce (April 23, 2015). "Lois Lilienstein, of the Children’s Trio Sharon, Lois & Bram, Dies at 78" (Print/Online). New York Times. Retrieved 10/31/15.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  19. ^ Colker, David (April 24, 2015). "Lois Lilienstein dies at 78; sang in Sharon, Lois & Bram trio". Los Angeles Times. 
  20. ^ "Lois Lilienstein, of Canadian children's trio Sharon, Lois & Bram, dead at 78". CBC News. 2015-04-23. Retrieved 2015-04-23. 

External links[edit]