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UConn-Trained Social Worker Became ‘Highway Philosopher’ Through Her Music

Twenty years ago, when I was working on my master’s degree in journalism, I needed to find an interesting subject to write a feature profile about for a class assignment. Since I was also writing for several publications, including the Connecticut weekly section of The New York Times, I sometimes used my freelance stories to fulfill class assignments.

While working on a Times feature about a new performance venue in Bridgeport called The Acoustic Café (which has sadly closed since then), I was introduced to Lara Herscovitch ’95 MSW, program director at the Greater Bridgeport Area Foundation, who also performed music on weekends, including at the Café. At the time, she was in the process of recording “Sin Tierra,” her first album of original, Latin-flavored contemporary folk music, which was released on LaRama Records, the label she started for her music. After some conversations, she agreed to be the subject of my writing assignment.

Over the next several weeks, I had long conversations with Herscovitch about her music, passion for helping people and the possibility of pursing music full-time in the future. I spoke with musicians she recorded with and others who knew her. I wrote my story for the class and then used an abbreviated profile on Herscovitch as a sidebar story to the feature I wrote on The Acoustic Café published in the Times on Nov. 1, 2001.

Lara Herscovitch at the Black Bear American Music Festival in October 2019
Lara Herscovitch at the Black Bear American Music Festival in October 2019 (Photo courtesy of Frank Piercy)

Over the next two decades, she continued to spend her days evaluating a nonprofit program, writing a grant, or testifying before a legislative committee. At night or on the weekends, she would

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