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Hurricane girl places 3rd in fiddle contest

Jun. 14, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

The hills of West Virginia are saturated with the sounds of traditional mountain music.

If there was ever any thought this style of music would be pushed aside by the Justin Biebers of the world, let it be known the future is in good hands.

Two of those hands belong to 14-year-old Chloe Sergent, who will begin her freshman year at Hurricane High School this fall. Chloe recently placed third in the Youth Old-Time Fiddle (age 15 and under) category at the 2013 Vandalia Gathering at the capitol in Charleston. What makes the accomplishment so unique is Chloe didn't pick up a violin until the fall of her seventh-grade year and didn't start formal lessons until January of this year.

"We had her in an after-school program but she wasn't progressing beyond 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,'" said Chloe's proud mom Jill Sergent. "When Christmas came along she was playing (Christmas carols) by ear."

Jill said her family knew Chloe had a gift and turned to the folks at Fret and Fiddle in St. Albans to foster the budding musician. At Fret and Fiddle, Chloe fell into the capable hands of Cathy Grant.

"Cathy told her a few months ago to do the Vandalia Gathering," Jill said. "We never expected her to place."

But place she did. But it wasn't a walk in the park for Chloe.

"When we got there I looked around and thought, 'I don't belong here,'" Chloe said. "Those people are so much better than me."

During the Vandalia Gathering, Chloe played "Arkansas Traveler" with accompaniment by Grant on Guitar. But the song that sealed it for Chloe was her rendition of the song "Rock Candy."

Chloe's first public appearance was at the Alban Theater as a part of St. Alban's Founders Day activities in May.

Chloe says she wished she had picked up the violin earlier because she loves playing and seems to have a gift for it. But sometimes too much of a good thing can be bad for those around you.

"Sometimes we have to make her stop playing or send her to the front porch," laughs Jill.

Chloe tried out for Hurricane High School's Red Hot Show Choir. According to Jill, the choir director liked what he heard from Chloe and will make a spot for her.

Chloe said she prefers Celtic music over any other form of music that traditionally uses a violin. She said she listens to Celtic Woman and hip hop violinist Lindsey Stirling.

To sum it up simply: "If it has a violin in it, I like it," she said.