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Justin Hein

When your childhood home is nicknamed “Toadranch,” you’re bound to have some interest in nature. Hein grew up about 15 minutes from downtown Boulder, CO with a love for all things living. Most free time in his young summers was spent searching for bugs, which progressed to reptiles and amphibians, which evolved into becoming a student of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at CU Boulder. 

 

The bug fascination survived, and in 2012, Hein petitioned his parents to get a beehive. It’s been a sweet and sticky ride ever since. His love for the outdoors fed a passion for documenting his adventures, and he started doing professional photography via Divide Visuals in 2018. 

 

Hein’s bluegrass exposure started at four months old, when he attended the 2003 Telluride Bluegrass Festival. In fifth grade, when he decided his piano career wasn’t going anywhere, he was introduced to the mandolin by a friend (who also keeps bees) and picked up the double bass in orchestra as part of the fifth grade instrumental music program. He began mandolin lessons with Bonnie Sims of Big Richard and Everybody Loves an Outlaw, and later learned with Greg Schochet of Greg Schochet and Little America. He studied classical double bass with David Crowe, acclaimed Boulder bassist, and Hein was the principal double bassist of the 2020 Colorado All-State Orchestra. In 2019, Hein co-founded Hurricane Hill, a five-piece bluegrass and folk band. 

 

He plays a 2017 San Juan F5 mandolin, made by Bobby Wintringham in Dolores, Colorado. With Honeyshed, you might catch him on mandolin, octave mandolin, guitar, and double bass, and he really likes whistling (so you might hear that too).

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Olivia Breen

Born and raised in Chandler, Arizona, violinist and fiddler Olivia Breen started piano lessons at the age of 5. It wasn’t until one fateful day in second grade when a student played “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on the violin in the school talent show, that Olivia knew she had to learn this new instrument.

 

Olivia grew up studying classical violin with Eric Cousineau and Dr. Marie Sussland, and performed in the Metropolitan Youth Symphony of Arizona (MYS) for seven years. In 2016, Olivia began studying with Taylor Morris. The same year, she co-founded the Willow String Quartet (WSQ), a folk band in which she has performed original arrangements for diverse audiences throughout Arizona. Olivia is also an alumna of the Gilbert Town Fiddlers, a high school fiddle group through which she gained invaluable collaboration and performance experience.

 

At University of Colorado Boulder, Olivia majors in Violin Performance, studying with Charles Wetherbee. In the summer of 2022, Olivia was the Teaching Assistant at the Tetra Chamber Music Institute. She has had influential experiences as a student at summer festivals like the Mike Block String Camp, Madeline Island Chamber Music, and Hilton Head Chamber Music Institute.

 

Olivia loves playing and listening to vast genres of music. If you ever look at her music history on Apple Music, there’s no predicting the latest songs. Anything from the Bee Gees to Frank Sinatra, Mendelssohn to Punch Brothers could be on the list (maybe even in that order). 

 

For the 2022-23 academic year, Olivia has the honor of playing a Jonathan Cooper fiddle commissioned for the Mike Block String Camp by an anonymous donor in memory of the slain journalist Daniel Pearl.

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Peter Ashmore

Peter grew up in the foothills west of Denver, right in the middle of Evergeen, Conifer, and Indian Hills. Born into a concert-loving family, his first show was Trey Anastasio at Red Rocks when he was 5 months old. A month and a half later, he went to the 30th Annual RockyGrass Bluegrass Festival in Lyons, CO. The bluegrass seed was planted and he has gone to the festival every year since. 

During elementary school, Peter fell in love with jazz, listening to Miles Davis cassette tapes and local jazz station KUVO. He soon picked up the saxophone and played in both concert and jazz band through middle school. Around the same time, he went to RockyGrass academy for the first time and started to play the mandolin. When he went to high school he transitioned to playing mandolin in the Conifer High School jazz band, competing and playing at local jazz festivals. He now attends CU Boulder where he is studying Creative Technology & Design and Music Technology.

His first teacher was local mandolin and fiddle player Emily Wilson. He has attended RockyGrass Academy since 2013 where he has learned from Sierra Hull, Matt Flinner, John Reischman, Mike Compton, Tim O'Brien, and more. His main musical influences include Tony Rice, Wayne Shorter, Sierra Hull, Ben Gibbard, Chris Thile, Thom Yorke, and John Frusciante. 

When he's not playing mandolin or guitar, you might find Peter collecting records, programming synthesizers, designing album covers, building LEGO sets, or probably at yet another concert. 

Peter plays a 2016 Pava F-5 Mandolin built in Austin, TX by Pava Knezevic and a 2014 Martin D-18 built in Nazareth, PA.

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Will Pavilonis

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