By: Scott Linford
Published: June 15, 2016

The UCLA Bluegrass Band won 1st place at the Topanga Fiddle Banjo Contest at Paramount Ranch on May 15. This marks the third consecutive first place win for the UCLA band when they have entered the Topanga competition, a southern California institution now in its 56th year. Competing under the name "The Bluegrass Hoppers," the UCLA Bluegrass Band includes Patrick Gardner (mandolin), Casey James Holmberg (banjo), Elliot Kay (guitar) Jules Levy (bass), Cory McClintic (guitar), and Stephanie Nagler (fiddle) under the direction of ethnomusicology graduate student Scott Linford. In addition to the band prize, Holmberg won first place in the advanced bluegrass banjo category, Linford won first place in the advanced traditional banjo category, McClintic won second place in the advanced flatpicking guitar category, Nagler won first place in the intermediate fiddle category, and recent UCLA grad Josh Gurney won third place in the advanced traditional banjo category. The band was joined by current students Ellyn King, May Claire La Plante, and Laura Jue along with a cadre of recent graduates for the true highlight of the day: a series of extended jams in the shade of an old oak tree.













Far left and bottom right photos by Helen Rees. Top right photo by  Scott Linford.