Barry cleans up at Fiddle Contest and Music Festival

Jess Barry shows the skills that earned him first place in the Show Your Stuff competition at the 45th annual Gila Valley Fiddle Contest and Music Festival last weekend at Graham County Fairgrounds. - David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

SAFFORD — It was a good weekend for Jess Barry.

The veteran fiddle player took home three individual first-place finishes and one team first place at Matheson Music Foundation’s 45th annual Fiddle Contest and Music Festival at Graham County Fairgrounds.

“You just never know when you’re going to make a bobble, but I think it went pretty well,” Barry said.

Barry captured first in the Open Division, Trick and Fancy and Show Your Stuff; and he shared top honors in Twin Fiddle with Heather Perrazo.

Nashville recording artist Phoebe Hunt, left, duets with Halle Johnson, 3, on the title track of Hunt’s latest album, “Nothing Else Matters.”
– David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

The event focused on helping more people understand and become involved with music through a series of workshops all four days. That’s what attracted Nashville recording artist Phoebe Hunt to participate.

“I’m just so glad that there’s an event here in Safford, Ariz., that is promoting education and fiddle music, and keeping the fiddle tradition alive,” Hunt said.

The contests were open to everyone, from those barely old enough to hold a fiddle and bow, to those in their 90s. Meanwhile the music festival featured performances by Hunt, the Edgar Loudermilk Band, Three Angstrom Flat, a Sweetheart Valentine’s Dance on Saturday and a Gospel breakfast on Sunday.

The Edgar Loudermilk Band – David Bell Video

Matheson Music Foundation’s Brianna Morris said the event went well, despite the cold, wet weather forcing the cancellation of some planned activities outside.

“It’s been a display of pure talent, once again, and bravery vulnerability in getting up there,” Morris said.

Fiddle Contest Results

Show Your Stuff

Jess Barry, 285

Henry T. Fiddler, 278

Heather Perrazo, 260

Trick and Fancy

1. Jess Barry, 285

2. Henry T. Fiddler, 282

3. Janene Ferius, 264

4. Heather Perrazo, 262

Little Britches

1. Emily Fletcher, 530

2. Alexa Barnes, 493

Twin Fiddle

1. Jess Barry/Heather Perrazo, 542

2. Danni Carter, Elie Barry, 539


1. Jess Barry, 850

2. Henry T. Fiddler, 826

3. Kevin DeRusha, 796


1. Cade Lamb

2. Elie Barry

3. Dani Carter

Runners-Up Finals

1. Lila Mallar, 500


1. Ben Barry, 565

2. Clay Barry, 544


1. Corrine Gary, 801

2. Janene Ferius, 793

Young Adult

1. Heather Perrazo, 752


1. Ellie Barry, 799

2. Dani Carter, 794

3. Clay Barry, 777

4. Lila Millar, 773

Young at Heart

1. Glenda Anderson, 740

2. Darwin Long, 734

3. Arlene Peterson, 720


1. Emily Fletcher, 808

2. Alexa Barnes, 713

3. Rylan Hughes, 704

Half Pint

1. Leah Johnson, 240

Grand Master

1. Dani Carter, 280

2. Elie Barry, 272

3. Clay Barry, 258