Artist of the Week: Talia Hartigan


Artist of the Week: Talia Hartigan

May 28, 2024

Music made an early and indelible impression on Warwick Valley senior Talia Hartigan. She recalls vividly, the sounds of classic opera and crooners like Frank Sinatra filling the air in her house, as she would help with the Sunday chores as a child. The melodies she grew up on still transport her back in time, even today, and they also inspired her own musical journey. Talia got involved with making music as soon as she could.

“As soon as I got the opportunity in fourth grade,” said Talia. “My mom, who knew music was [an important] part of me, definitely wanted me to participate, too. I wanted to play cello, but my mom was worried that it was way too big, and that I wouldn’t be able to play it.”

So, Talia put her string playing ambitions on hold and took her mom’s advice (for the moment, anyway… more on that later). She picked up the flute and began learning during her final year at her former district in Westchester County. 

“When I started, I was so horrible,” Talia remembered. “I couldn’t get a single sound out. I wanted to play so badly though, so my mom told me to just stick with it.”

Talia’s family moved to Warwick just before the start of her fifth grade year, and she dedicated herself to practice the entire summer beforehand. She said that it all just started making more sense to her, and that something something “just clicked.”

“When I got to fifth grade, I found out that I also had the opportunity to start another instrument,” Talia said with a somewhat mischievous smile. “So, I saw that upright bass was an option, and I remember thinking, ‘Well, if the cello was too big, how about bass?’”

And that’s when Talia started playing the bass — without telling her mom! Fast forward to that year’s spring concert, and…

“I was the first chair bass player in the orchestra,” said Talia with a laugh, “and when I got up on stage, [my mom] was so mad at me!”

But, not too mad. All it took was a quick chat with WVHS music teacher Elissa Maynard (who was teaching at WVMS at the time) to convince Talia’s mom of Talia’s love for, and talent on, the instrument. Talia has been playing flute for nine years and bass for eight, including, bass and flute in WVHS wind ensemble and bass in the chamber orchestra. Talia has been a key member of the WVHS ensembles, and her talents and hard work have also earned her NYSSMA and OCMEA All-County honors over the years.

As much as Talia loves music, she feels called down a different career path.

Talia will be attending SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry in the fall, and plans to study forest ecosystem science. Her interest in this stems from traveling to many national parks as a child, where she said she has seen firsthand how climate change is causing irremediable effects.

“We always used to travel to national parks in the winter,” Talia said. “I realized I’m not seeing snow anymore, and that makes me so sad. I want to do my part to see if we can reverse some of that.”

Music still means so much to Talia, and she does plan to keep it a part of her life. She is exploring opportunities to possibly perform with a nearby group, possibly the Syracuse Wind Ensemble. Right now, Talia is looking forward to graduation (although she’ll miss playing Pomp & Circumstance at commencement), and then seeing what her first semester of college brings.      

“I’m excited to make new friends and to have more independence,” Talia said. “People say that you can’t even prepare for the way you change from high school to college. I’m excited to see what new person I become!”


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