Sunday, July 17, 2011

39th Dulcimer Funfest in Michigan

If you love music this was the place to be this past week from Thursday through Saturday. We probably would not have even known about it had it not been for our sister-in-law Mary Jo. She plays the auto harp and hammer dulcimer and attended workshops sessions featuring those instruments at the festival. That is Mary Jo ( in the foreground of the picture below), she is good form for the dulcimer workshop.
The festival was on the fairgrounds in Evart Michigan. Many of the workshops took place in the swine, rabbit, poultry and livestock sheds. Fortunately there were no lingering smells from the animals.
 As you may note in the picture above, it was not just dulcimers featured at the festival. We sat in on a jam session with ukuleles, and another one featuring harps.What was fun about the festival was that spontaneous jam sessions were always happening during the course of the day.. A variety of music could be heard any where and any time. Even in the picnic/dining areas people would gather together and pull out their guitars, harmonicas, fiddles and banjos. We also sat in on some workshops. We did not know what a psaltery was, so we sat in on a workshop which gave beginning instructions on how to play the bowed psaltery. Instruments were provided by the instructor in that class. The picture below is that of a young girl who is interested in learning to play the psaltery just because her aunt plays it.
 Another unusual, certainly not a common instrument, which we saw demonstrated was the hurdy-grudy. I thought that it was just a matter of cranking a wheel to get the sound out. But I discovered that there are different kinds of the instrument, especially in France and Germany. The one demonstrated to us also has a keyboard which has to be played in addition to the wheel being turned (that part of the instrument looks like an accordion). We also heard a musical saw being played  by none other than Abe Lincoln!
.He can produce a variety of beautiful music on that saw, which we found out later when played his recordings at home. Abe Lincoln is impersonated by Gerald Bestsrom, and he is the closest look-alike of Lincoln I have ever seen! He played the part of our sixteenth president in the recent movie The Conspirator.
John, my brother Wayne, and I did participate in one workshop where we learned the rudiments of singing in harmony. After one hour the class could produce some beautiful choral music. Our day ended with  an evening program given by a variety of musicians, most impressive of which was music by the Original Dulcimer Players Club of Michigan. There were 180 of them who played their hammer dulcimers in concert on the stadium field.

1 comment:

  1. Please tell Gerald Bestsrom to contact the NYC Musical Saw Festival for an invitation to perform at next year's festival. He can contact the festival through their website
    This is the TV News report on this festival which was day before yesterday:
    Thank you!