Harvest Festival of Dulcimers

by Susan Howell and Niels Andersen

From The Folknik Nov/Dec 1998

We just returned from our second time at the Harvest Festival of Dulcimers, hosted by the Southern California Dulcimer Heritage. We were pleased to see an increased number of dulcimer players attending this year. There were five workshop periods with two choices in each time slot for hammered and mountain dulcimer players, plus noontime and twilight concerts, a contra dance, an open mike, and classy vendor booths. (Several people bought a banjomer, but we won't divulge their names.)

Mountain dulcimer classes offered included fingerpicking with Cyntia Smith, rounds with Connie Allen, repertoire and jamming primer with Lois Hornbostel, and improvisation with Andy Robinson. Lois's classes were packed with students--a testimony to her popularity, as well as an increased interest in the Appalachian dulcimer in Southern California. We gave a workshop on swing dulcimer accompaniment. Great students--some of them took turns playing lead to Blue Moon while the rest of the class did the chordal accompaniment.

There certainly were a lot of varieties of dulcimer playing presented: Connie showcased the versatility of the instrument with a set that included bowing and hammering of the mountain dulcimer on some great new tunes and songs (written with Steve Dulson); Andy Robinson entertained us with his own tunes and rock and roll; Mike Jerrauld played standing up in a set that mixed mountain and hammered dulcimers; and Cyntia and Ruth treated us to the sounds of two Aeolus dulcimers in harmony.

The entire festival ran smoothly, and with a feeling of warmth and fun! Thanks to the hard working (and hard-playing) volunteers who made this Fourth Harvest Festival of Dulcimers the best yet.

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