Come celebrate the joy and beauty of both the hammered and lap dulcimer in a small, intimate, non-competitive setting. Unlike any other dulcimer camp, Dulcimer Celebration, now in its 15th year, is a unique week designed for both hammered and mountain dulcimers to provide the opportunity to improve technique, expand repertoire and have fun with harmony and chords. With four instructors, two skill levels are offered for both instruments – novice/intermediate or intermediate/advanced. Morning class time is spent in a concentrated session building skills and repertoire with at least two different instructors through the week. A flexible week, participants can choose to stay with one instrument, or do a couple mornings of hammered and a couple mornings of mountain if they wish.
The highlight for many participants is the afternoon session, bringing all together for ensemble playing. With everything from dulcimers, guitars, flutes, fiddles, bowed psalteries, harmonicas (the list goes on) it is opportunity to put into practice some of the skills from the morning session, learning some new tunes introduced by a different instructor each day. Top that off with optional jam sessions, craft studio demonstrations, folk dancing, singing, new friendships and you have an experience that you will want to come back to year after year!
I have been asked, “What is the difference in the Mountain Dulcimer and the Hammered Dulcimer?” The mountain dulcimer is truly an instrument of the Southern Appalachians, where it has evolved from a German Folk instrument over the last 250 years. A small, usually hourglass shaped instrument with 4 strings, is played on the lap and strummed or plucked. It is very easy to learn and sounds good from the beginning. The hammered dulcimer is a large trapezoidal shaped box with many strings which are struck with a wooden “hammer.” Its history goes back to ancient Persia and it is considered the forerunner to the piano. Both require no musical experience to play and are wonderful for many kinds of music. The word “dulcimer” literally means “sweet music” and both instruments definitely can express that.
I never tire of coming to JCCFS and eagerly anticipate each new group of students, new friendships and new discoveries. My first class at JCCFS was September 1991 and I have taught close to 200 times since then.
The beautiful setting of the school, it’s history, sense of community, traditions, focus and philosophy, give me new inspiration at every trip and are the key elements of inspiration to the students as well. Students leave with a new sense of their creative abilities and potential, and so many times with a deep feeling of renewal. I meet such wonderful people in the dulcimer community and I have wondered if nice people are drawn to the dulcimer, or that playing the dulcimer produces calmness and sweetness. Maybe some of both, but I always say I am doing my small part in making the world a better place by sending more dulcimer players out to share their music.