Laura Waters – Provo, UT

Laura Waters, originally from Idaho Falls, Idaho, is the 2013 National Junior fiddle champion and the 2013 Grand Master Fiddle champion. Laura discovered her love for Texas style fiddle music at age 9, when she entered her first fiddle contest in Driggs, Idaho. She is proud to say that in this contest she took 4th place…out of 4 competitors.

Laura has improved in her contest standings since then, becoming the youngest female to win the Grand Master Fiddle Championships in Nashville, TN in 2013 at age 17, and winning her age division at the National Oldtime Fiddlers Contest in Weiser, ID that same year. She also holds several Idaho State, Idaho Open, Colorado State, and Northwest Regional Junior championship titles, and has had many top 5 finishes at the National Oldtime Fiddlers Contest and the Grand Master Fiddle Championships. She has judged the Grand Master Fiddle Championships and other top contests around the country.

Laura has studied Classical violin and Texas style fiddle music for over 16 years. She feels privileged to have learned from some of the best fiddlers in the nation, including Joe and Jacie Sites, Jesse Maw, and Matthew Hartz. Laura also enjoys playing the piano, guitar, mandolin, and other stringed instruments. She sings classical and contemporary music and has studied vocal performance at the collegiate level. Among other vocal awards, she was awarded first place in the 2014 Idaho state solo competition in the mezzo soprano division.

Laura is currently a senior studying marriage and family therapy at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Since August 2017, she has been performing as the lead singer and fiddle player for the band Mountain Strings, an extension of the BYU International Folk Dance Ensemble that specializes in folk music styles from around the world, including American, Celtic, French Canadian, Scandinavian, Yiddish, Balkan, Indian, and Chinese folk music, as well as jazz and contemporary styles. With this group and others, she has had extensive experience with both recording and stage performing. She has had the opportunity to tour China, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, and Poland with Mountain Strings and the BYU International Folk Dance Ensemble.

Philosophy:

I like to hear a fiddler with solid intonation, tone, and rhythm. I feel that it is important to maintain the integrity of the original tune while adding individual style and strong drive. I would rather hear someone play with feeling rather than with perfection. Have fun – it will come through in your playing.