After the marvelous summer I have had touring, I feel like I should be called American Pharoah, because I, too, am a Triple Crown Winner!
My first tour of the season took me to Memphis for a day of workshops and a clinic on jamming together at the home of Betty Dawson in Memphis, TN. Then a house concert and Nancy and Tom Adams‘, a workshop at Gilda’s Club in Louisville and a house concert at Teri and Larry West’s in the south part of town.
Then to Kentucky Music Week, where the copies of my new Playing Blues on the Mountain Dulcimer book had arrived and were waiting for me to have a wedding by adding the Demo CDs.
And what a week it was! Jean Ritchie Tribute, organized and led by her son, Jon Pickow; stellar concert performances, a week-long class on Resonator Dulcimer, Blues on Hammered Dulcimer, a Noter Style Mountain Dulcimer class and a Dulcimer Orchestra class were highlights.
|Captain’s Cabin Concert S.E.a
Playing a Backporch concert to the crickets’ chirp on a temperate evening in the middle of the week with my bandmates Erin Mae Lewis and Amber Rogers in our trio, S.E.A was memorable and amazing in a completely restored log cabin (Captain’s Cabin) that now serves as a B and B! Then I joined them for their concert set singing our trio arrangement of Hold On.
|Steve, Karen Mueller & Heidi Muller in front of
Chief Joseph & Lake Wallowa
I am grateful to the non-playing spouse of a festival participant who gave me an on-time ride to the Louisville airport for my flight home.
The glow had not even worn off in my two-day turn-around at home before I received a “warm welcome” when I landed on the tarmac in Lewiston, ID (where it was 120°) en route to an even better Dulcimer Week in the Wallowas in Joseph, OR. The relaxed pace and supportive community atmosphere was balm for my weary soul and the magical faculty concert with Karen Mueller, Bob Webb and Heidi Muller remains fixed in the recesses of my memory.
I had amazing classes, the Open Mic revealed talent, commitment, celebration, and laughter that left our sides aching with joy. (There is a life goal, to be aching with joy!)
|My Beginning class in their yurt classroom in Wallowa
Having had two such amazing weeks of musical and educational experiences I was a little nervous about heading east for the final festival of my summer season.
I took a red-eye from San Francisco to Charlotte, NC, had lunch with a friend, then reunited with the parents of my godchildren in Chesapeake, VA, before driving to another Soup and Song House Concert with Charlie and Marilyn Bernhardt in Maryland.
|Charlie & Marilyn, Soup and Song House Concerts (10 years!)
Following a short night’s sleep, I had a dawn sabbath drive through the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia and through the northeast corner of Tennessee and down through the Smoky Mountains for a late afternoon arrival at Dulcimer U in Cullowhee, NC. There is was revealed that my anxiety had nowhere to lay its head! Larry and Elaine Conger run a fantastic festival in this verdant setting, I was very excited to be invited to return to teach here. And my time with my classes and two different mountain dulcimer ensembles were marvelous celebrations of people playing beyond their fears to experience the delight that comes when they relax and do this together!
My classes this week were as enthusiastic, attentive and adventurous as the others had been. The fun and mischief that arises when people create a Brigadoon-like community together bubbled with joy.
|Soundcheck view, through Lorinda Jones’ harp
I have been part of many faculty concerts which can be a crazy quilt of performances, but this time something of the veil between the worlds of the mundane and the spectacular opened up and everyone’s tune choices, transitional stories and the overall flow of both sets let us have a little taste of heaven…and it was a tasty nectar, too.
So..I believe I won the triple crown this summer and am glad to wear the name American Pharoah!
|Dulcimers on high in the Wallowas!