Liz Conway writes to chat about the Dulcimer Workshop Weekend she invented quite a few years ago now, that took place this year at Deneholme over this past weekend, the 22nd – 24th of March.
“This is an annual event which has been happening since the great winter of 2009 -10, and involves participants from all over the country and abroad, who play, and would like to improve their skills on the hammer and mountain dulcimers.
We usually have two tutors, one for each instrument, but this year, about a fortnight before the event, we had an e-mail from the wife of our hammer dulcimer tutor saying he was seriously ill in hospital. So two of our senior members kindly stepped into provide workshops for the HDers (for short) so the weekend could continue.
We met in Deneholme on Friday night, when we had a music session after tea, then the next morning workshops commenced and continued, with pleasant tea and coffee breaks throughout the day. After our evening meal we repaired to the Crown in Catton for a music session, which provides the opportunity for all the players to get together, some with instruments other than dulcimers, and play a wide variety of songs and tunes. This also fulfils one of the aims of the club, which is to give the public the chance to hear instruments that are not widely known about. (I wish I had a tenner for every time someone asks me “what is that you’re playing?” — I’d have been able to retire 2 years earlier!).
The following day our Mountain dulcimer tutor took a class for all of us, until our official weekend finished at midday. But in the evening we had a concert at the High Forest Community Centre at Sinderhope, featuring “Midsummer Blue” John & Caroline Bushby and me, supporting Erin Mae Lewis, our mountain dulcimer tutor, all the way from Kansas, USA.
Participants of the weekend were from all over Britain; we had players from both sides of the Irish border, and one from Belgium, as well as two or three from over our own border, up the road.
We had a good house for both the session and the concert, so the weekend is definitely deemed a success – now the planning for next year will have to begin!”
Thanks Liz, the workshop is definitely becoming a fixture on the folk music calendar, and looking at a tenth anniversary next year, eh? Congratulations!