For Molly Trunfio ’24, playing an instrument is all in the family. A guitar player and singer, she often performs at festivals with her uncle Dave McKeon and his bluegrass band Moonshine Falls. In 2019, Trunfio performed as a soloist at the Ennis Music Festival in Ennis, County Clare, Ireland.
“I have been surrounded by music for as long as I can remember,” says Trunfio, of Clinton, Mass. At the age of five, Trunfio began violin lessons and later learned how to play the trumpet. Just as she started at Hudson High School, Trunfio began to teach herself how to play her late grandfather’s prized Martin guitar. After participating in several open mics, Trunfio gained confidence in her ability as a musician and performer.
Trunfio has deep familial roots in Ireland, where her great grandfather was born and where he returned every summer for nearly as long as he lived. Through a family friend in County Kerry, Trunfio was recommended to the Board of Ennis and invited to play at the Ennis Music Festival. Every year, thousands of audience members arrive in Ennis to join the festivities. Past performers include The Chieftains, Chris Droney and Kitty Linnane, Joe Burke and The Liverpool Céilí Band.
While in Ireland, Trunfio also played at a gig in the village of Sneem and had the opportunity to see old family landmarks, including a thatched cottage on the Bay of Kenmare where her great great grandfather grew up. “Ireland felt like home,” Trunfio says.
Last year, Trunfio also had the opportunity to perform with Moonshine Falls at the Morgan Opera House in Aurora, N.Y.
In the video, Trunfio takes the stage at the Morgan Opera House at 17 minutes 50 seconds.
Trunfio says another outlet for her creativity and self-expression is film and documentary. After taking a TV News elective during her sophomore year of high school, Trunfio found a passion for the medium. Her first work, a biopic about her uncle, was selected as a finalist to be screened at the Salem Film Festival. A guitar teacher and mentor to Trunfio, the work includes interviews and performance footage of McKeon, who has worked with Pino Palladino from The Who and been on world tour with American singer-songwriter D’Angelo. She also received a New England Emmy Award for her work documenting the life of a family of wood carvers in Plymouth, Mass.
Even though she has performed for large audiences, one of her favorite performances to date took place on the back patio of the Office of Admissions at HWS. After her tour and interview at the Colleges, Trunfio joined Assistant Director of Admissions Max Gorton ’16 for a jam session. Gorton played “Take a Load Off Annie,” by The Weight.
At HWS, Trunfio intends to pursue studies in pre-med and biochemistry. “I think there is a connection between music and science,” Trunfio says. “So much of each requires problem solving. I am eager to work toward becoming a surgeon at the Colleges, but also to have the opportunity to take classes in my other interests.”