One of the groups I play dulcimer in, The Jubilee Pickers, hosts a festival every spring. We have a few vendors come to hawk their wares; other groups in the area are invited as well as any individual players or listeners who want to join in; and there is a professional dulcimer player invited to give workshops to those who are interested. We start Thursday morning with our usual practice session and then the festival itself begins on Friday evening and goes through Sunday morning. This year the festival was held at Southwind RV Park which is located very close to our park.
Friday began with folks coming in about 2pm ready for some jamming, then a potluck supper with more jamming to follow through the evening. I love potluck suppers!! The food is always great 'cause people only bring what they make best. I had the honor of being MC for this evening and Saturday evening. That's just a glorified way of saying I was to make announcements and pray for our meal. Well, any of you who know me at all know that I love having the microphone in front of a group of people! :) We had a good time and played some great music. There were a few items for silent auction; a handcrafted dulcimer with custom case, a wood carved whimiscal; and another handcrafted instrument called a wokamer (its body was actually made from a wok!).
Today's schedule was a busy one. Those of us helping with registrations were on duty from 8:30am until . . . uh, I think we're done. :) We had several workshops scheduled, two with our professional dulcimer player, Jeff Hames, (www.jeffhames.com) and others with some of our own folks teaching hammered dulcimer, beginner mountain dulcimer and bowed psaltery. And throughout the day, we were selling 50/50 raffle tickets, giving out door prize tickets, showing folks where to put their donations to tonight's dinner and just trying to be helpful in any way we could.
I think all of the workshops went well. I attended Jeff's intermediate mountain dulcimer workshop during which we learned more technique in strumming and picking. Have I mentioned that Jeff is just 20 years old? Yes, I said 20 years old! He is such a nice young man – not cocky or obnoxious as you might expect a National Champion could be. He has recorded CDs; his first at the tender age of 17!! He was great with us old folks, very patient as he encouraged us in our stumbles.
After the workshops and lunch break, it was Open Stage. This is where folks who wish to perform sign up to do so. We had several clubs (including the two I play with) perform as well as soloists, duos, and groups. Lots of good music. I even took a deep breath and performed a solo myself. I played a song entitled “Lamplighting Time in the Valley” and sang. I was pretty nervous, but got through it without embarrassing myself or Randy. And I was proud of myself for doing it; I had almost backed out, but knew that I would be mad at myself if I did. So, I did it and glad that I did. Randy video'd my performance. Hope you like it! But, remember – it's not a professional recording!! :) Click on this link to see it. http://entertainment.webshots.com/video/3089540100083931530lZBaiz
Once Open Stage was over, it was free time during which some folks jammed and others went home to get their contributions to the supper this evening while still others just relaxed and chatted with each other.
This evening ended with a soup dinner and a concert. There were lots and lots of pots of soups and breads and all were good from the way folks were eating. Once dinner was over, Jeff Hames performed for us. It didn't take long to see why he is a National Champion. He was great. And it was a nice way to end the night.
The festival officially ends tomorrow morning with a Hymn Sing. We'll bring our instruments and gather together to praise God with our voices and our music. It will be a great way to worship and thank Him for the gift of music.
I have had a wonderful time playing with this group over the last three months. They are so warm and have completely welcomed me into the group. I am sorry to leave them, but look forward to seeing them again in the fall when we get back.
Gosh, just three days until we leave this park. While I am looking forward to traveling some, it's always hard to say good-bye to the wonderful friends we have here. We just hugged and said our good-byes to Darrell & Judy tonight. They leave in the morning for their trip north. I believe we are the next to leave. But, it's really never good-bye, it's more we'll see you down the road.
Until the next time . . .