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The January Dulcimer Gathering 2008

The seventh annual January Dulcimer Gathering was held January 18 & 19, 2008, at Lindenwood Christian Church, 2400 Union Avenue. The workshops began on Friday afternoon and included a jam session.  Workshops continued all day on Saturday and concluded with a concert in the Lindenwood Library featuring instructors Larry Conger, Betty Dawson, and Lee Cagle.

Larry Conger presented intermediate to advanced workshops on mountain dulcimer, and Lee Cagle lead beginner and novice workshops on mountain dulcimer workshops.  Betty Dawson lead hammered dulcimer workshops.

The event was well attended by many long-time friends, as well as some newcomers to the dulcimer community.  Twenty-eight people participted in workshops, jam, and/or concert.  We had a great time!

Many thanks again to Loyal Murphy for his photography during the event and to Paul Lathum for his video. 

Paul Lathum generously produced a DVD of the Satuday night concert, along with some clips from workshops.  If you would like a copy, the cost is $15, and you can order by e-mailing Paul.

Information about the schedule and class topics is included below the photos from the weekend.

Betty Dawson lead HD classes

Lee Cagle taught New Player
and Beginner MD classes

Larry Conger taught intermediate
and upper level MD classes

Lee and Betty opened the
Saturday night concert




Betty played some beautiful solo
pieces at the concert

Betty & Lee put down their dulcimers to become
The Ukes of Hazard with the old time song "Groundhog"


Friday, January 18, 2008

Registration 3:00-3:30 p.m.

Session I – 3:30 - 5:30 p.m.

Supper on your own

Jam Session – 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Registration 8:30 - 9:00 a.m.

Session II – 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Lunch on your own – 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Session III – 12:30 - 2:30 p.m.

Break 2:30 - 2:50 p.m.

Session IV – 2:50 - 4:50 p.m.

Supper on your own

Concert – 7:00 p.m.


Larry will lead intermediate to advanced mountain dulcimer classes.

Lee will lead mountain dulcimer classes for the new player into novice level (players who have been playing about a year or so). Some dulcimers will be available for loan to those who do not have an instrument.  Instruments should be reserved by January 11.

Betty will lead hammered dulcimer workshops beginning with the new player and building on that information into more challenging techniques as the workshops continue through the Gathering. A limited number of HDs are available for a rental fee of $30 for the weekend.  These must be reserved by  and should be reserved by January 8.

SESSION I: Friday, January 18, 2008 Time: 3:30-5:30

Larry – Twisted Tunes – This workshop will focus on taking somewhat familiar tunes and "twisting" them into something other than what they were intended. A fiddle tune might become a waltz, a major key tune might become minor, a slow ballad might become a jig.

Betty – Make a New Friend – First Things First – This workshop will cover a brief history of the hammered dulcimer; anatomy of a HD; hearing the "voices"; care and tuning; hammers and hammering; finding the mark. Students will also learn their first tune.

LeeGetting Started for New Players – This workshop will introduce new players to the mountain dulcimer, focusing on how to tune the instrument, strumming techniques, and reading tablature.

SESSION II: Saturday, January 19, 2008 Time: 9:00-11:00

Larry – Hymns – All new material from any tunes you might have collected from any of Larry's previous workshops, perfect for adding to your Sunday morning repertoire. The perfect workshop to challenge the advancing beginner.

Betty – Getting to Know You – In this workshop, students will learn to listen and to read tabulature ("tab"). Players will learn a tune and begin playing by patterns.

Lee Mixed Bag – This class will provide an opportunity to try a variety of song types such as waltz, simple fingerpicking, and Celtic.

SESSION III: Saturday, January 19, 2008 Time: 12:30-2:30

Larry – Jigs – Explore 6/8 time while learning some great old Irish jigs (new to you), using a combination of strums and flat-picking skills.

Betty – Jazz it up! – Students will venture into embellishing their tunes by playing in a different octave, adding intervals and chords. We will learn a tune and explore playing in Key of G and changing keys for variety.

Lee Mountain Dulcimer Favorites – This class will focus on popular fiddle tunes for dulcimer, including Soldier’s Joy, Liza Jane, Wildwood Flower, Amazing Grace.

SESSION IV: Saturday, January 19, 2008 Time: 2:50-4:50

Larry – Civil War Music – Ballads and rallying songs from both sides of the conflict. All new content, perfect for the intermediate level player's repertoire.

Betty – Play it Again – This workshop will cover aspects of jam etiquette (teaching jams, open/closed jams, naming & starting tunes). The class will learn popular jam tunes, while learning new skills, such as "side to side," "runs," and "rolls" and how to put it all together.

LeeIntroduction to Playing in the Key of G – Students will explore adding variety to arrangements by playing in the key of G. The ability to play in the key of G will help when playing with other instruments. A capo will be needed for some songs and will be available in class.

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