by Alice Gould

Thank you for choosing me to be one of the 2023 recipients of the Fletcher Bright Memorial Grant for Young Musicians. I used the grant for tuition at Montana Fiddle Camp, and boy oh boy, it was an excellent year!

 I met some of my musical heroes and played my favorite songs with them, which was life-changing. In addition, I made some great musical connections, not only with people already deeply rooted in today’s music scene but also with many like-minded young musicians who have the same passion for music as I do.

In the first week I kept to my origins, the fiddle. I took classes from Ross Holms, most well-known for his roles as composer for Mumford & Sons and Tyler Childers, and as fiddler/mandolinist for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Cadillac Sky. I really connected with him, and it was amazing to be in a class with someone who thinks about music so similarly to me. In addition to classes, I got to do many other things such as take masterclasses from my childhood hero, Bruce Molsky, who was so nice and incredibly passionate about his music.

One of the many highlights from camp was jamming with Greg Cahill and Greg Blake of Special Consensus, which was a big bucket list item for me. Along with that, I met one of my favorite swing fiddlers of all time, Elana James. As the fiddler for Hot Club of Cowtown, she’s sweet and spunky and had a lot of really valuable advice for me that I hadn’t thought of before.

I had the honor in my second week of learning the mandolin, a very new instrument to me, from the great Harry Clark, IBMA’s 2022 Momentum Instrumentalist of the Year and also known for his role in The Dan Tyminski Band. I also got to take some private lessons with Maddie Denton, 2021 IBMA Momentum Instrumentalist of the Year.

Everyone was extremely nice and personable, staff included. Overall, camp this year was as amazing as ever, and I deeply appreciate what this grant has done to help accomplish my goal of becoming a better musician.

RETURN to the July 2023 issue of The Cornerstone.