This has been a wonderful workshop. I wish everyone could come along with us and experience this. We have met people from as far west as Oregon, down south in Florida and to the east in North Carolina as well as from Arkansas and many other states. We have found the dulcimer community a great group of people. The teachers are so talented and knowledgeable. Today I took a class from Aaron O’Roarke who is probably one of the best dulcimer players I have ever heard. If you ever get to meet him make sure you ask him to play Boil Them Cabbage Down. And on to class with Dottie Sheppard learning to sing along with church songs. My last class of Welsh Church music with Nancy Galambush. Stephanie spent her class time with Linda Brockinton and Jeff Furman on technique. After the concert (picture of all performers included) I participated in learning Contra Dance but quickly decided I had two left feet. Until next time..... (Click photos to see Elaine and Stephanie’s slideshow).
Well its 10:22 so this will be short and sweet. Another busy day at NGFDA. I want to share some photos from the concert tonight introducing to you some new faces for me in the dulcimer community. Names are on photos. Also have uploaded a video of a "planxty" by Linda Brockinton.(Check back tonight for video)
Last week my son, Stephen, and I headed over to the Rhodes Scholar Rendezvous Festival in Kentucky. Stephen was teaching a Dulcimer class there for five days along with two other teachers. Many people call it the Jabez Festival. They hold it twice a year in Nancy, Kentucky: once in the spring and once in the fall. It’s a wonderful festival directed by John Tierney and his wife, Lalana. Its so beautiful there. One afternoon we carpooled to a high point nearby overlooking Lake Cumberland and John gave us a history of the area in period costume. With a short walk from the lodge you can also look out at Lake Cumberland.
John is a really interesting naturalist. He has done so much for the state of Kentucky that they gave him a Lifetime Achievement Award this year! He knows everything about nature. On some days he gives walking tours in the afternoon.
In the evening, weather permitting, we jam on the large front porch that has rocking chairs. One evening an old time group puts on a show for us complete with dancing dolls. Another evening you can watch the Jean Ritchie movie “In The Cumberland’s” about her life story. Thursday evening is when the classes perform for us lead by their teachers. Then we have open stage to play something or tell a story. At the end John leads a jug band handing out unusual instruments such as kazoos, washboards, Jews harp, etc. while John plays an autoharp. We sing along old time songs like Old Susanna or She’ll be coming around the mountain among others. Sometimes we do a little jamming in the evening.
One of the most interesting things to see and do is to go to this old-timey store they have nearby where you can find the most usual things that you can’t hardly find any more. At the festival it’s known as the Jabez Mall and they have the best creamy whip ice-cream. But it’s only available in the spring.
You never go hungry with three meals a day, including a salad bar and snacks in the morning and evening. Coffee is available 24 hrs. a day.
When you go to this festival, you stay in a 4-H lodge that has rooms decorated with all different kinds of themes.
At the spring festival they have four teachers and the fall three teachers. The classes are broken up into levels.
At the open stage Stephen and I were asked to play a duet of the old Hank Williams song, “Kaw-Liga”. We can’t post it because it’s copyrighted, so I hope you enjoy these photos instead.
I started my day with classes on flat picking and fingerpicking with Judy House and Linda Brockinton in the first two sessions of the day. The session in the afternoon was with Jeff Furman working on hammer-ons and pull-offs as well as smoothing our playing with chords. It was so exciting when something clicked and “the lightbulb came on in my head”. Of course, looking and shopping in the booths is a special treat between sessions.
As we nestle in this German town in the mountains of north Georgia we learn, learn and learn. Today for me was Butch Ross, Ann Lough, and Linda Brockinton. A day of 70's music, playing in G without a capo and hymnals with many teaching points. Ended the evening with a concert. Everyone needs to check out Matthew Dickerson on hammered dulcimer for some beautiful music. And look who we ran into.
Stephanie and her sister Elaine leave this dispatch as they head out to the North Georgia Foothills Dulcimer Association’s annual festival in Unicoi State Park. (Link here.)
Stephanie writes: Long day of traveling in the rain to the North Georgia Dulcimer Festival. Stopped in Cleveland for the Cabbage Patch Hospital. Beautiful views along the way.