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Hampshire Student Competes in Bluegrass Festival

Second-year Hampshire College student Tatiana Hargreaves competed in the 2014 FreshGrass bluegrass festival in September.

Tatiana Hargreaves

Second-year Hampshire College student Tatiana Hargreaves competed in the 2014 FreshGrass bluegrass festival in September. The festival took place at Mass MoCa, and included numerous headliners as well as a competition for young musicians. There were three main categories in the contest: Best Band, Best Duo, and Best Banjoist. Hargreaves and bassist Ethan Jodziewicz were one of five finalists in the Best Duo category, and took second place.

Hargreaves and Jodziewicz met at the Savannah Music Festival’s Acoustic Music Seminar in Georgia and spent this past summer touring and performing at various music festivals. They submitted a video to FreshGrass in August, and were thrilled to make the finals.

For Hargreaves, it was less about winning and more about making connections with others. She believes that music is “a chance to lose yourself and become part of a greater whole.” When she describes the atmosphere of the FreshGrass contest, she recalls it being an easygoing and friendly environment. “We were all just hanging out with each other backstage. It didn’t feel like we were competing,” she says.

This was Hargreaves’s first duo competition, although she has competed as a fiddle soloist before. She grew up performing in fiddle contests, and she also plays the banjo and sings. A love of music runs in her family; her parents love music and her older brother is also a musician. Hargreaves learned to play music using the Suzuki method; named after a Japanese musician, the method is designed to teach children to learn music by ear.

Appalachian stringband music is Hargreaves’s passion, although she has always loved bluegrass as well. She names Brittany Haas of Crooked Still, Bruce Molsky, and Darol Anger as being three of her most influential mentors.

At Hampshire, Hargreaves plans on concentrating in music. She is trying to stretch musically and is studying ethnomusicology and performance. She has performed in several other students’ Division IIIs (senior projects), and offers fiddle and banjo lessons. Although she and Jodziewicz are currently living far away from each other, they plan to continue performing as a duo whenever they can.

Hargreaves encourages new and aspiring musicians to do what they love and not worry about success. “Music should be ego-less. You don’t have to be a virtuoso,” she says. “Sound is all around us. Play the sounds you want to play.”

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