This week we'll have our regular "third Thursday" meeting of the Prairieland Strings in Springfield, and over the weekend we'll have Mike Anderson's Winter Weekend workshop at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, on Ill. 29 north of Peoria. Then Saturday, March 2, will be the first of a series of slow- to moderate-tempo tune learning and teaching jam sessions for dulcimers and all kinds of other stringed instruments at Clayville Historic Site on Ill. 125 at Pleasant Plains.
Clayville's March 2 jam will kick off a monthly series of events we're calling the Clayville Pioneer Academy of Music. We'll play from 10 a.m. to noon, with some instruction and tips for beginners beforehand from 9:30 to 10. We're all about the fun of making music together in a friendly, non-competitive atmosphere. At a nice, easy pace, too, so we can slow down and hear the music. There's coffee available, too, so we can slow down, hear the music and smell the coffee!
Our academy jams grow out of mountain dulcimer classes we held this winter, but players of all musical instruments are welcome. (I'd love to have a tuba someday - just to say we did it!) We welcome all instruments and skill levels, but most of us are beginning or intermediate players, and we especially welcome beginners.
But first, the "third Thursday" session of the Prairieland Strings from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21 at Atonement Lutheran Church in Springfield, 2800 West Jefferson (Ill. 97-125). Bev Buck will introduce us to "The Battle Cry of Freedom." It's in Maureen Sellers' book of Civil War songs for mountain dulcimer, and it's available in culcimer tablature, in DAA and DAD, on the EverythingDulcimer.com and the Huntsville Mountain Dulcimer Association collection of tab. If you're confused by having both tunings on the tab, get a yellow marker and highlight the notes you want to play.
You'll pick it up more easily if you hear it, and here's a very nice mountain dulcimer performance:
Civil War Medley (including "Battle Cry of Freedom." Performed, finger-picking style, by YouTube user 6FIDS. "Battle Cry ..." is from 0:25 to 0:49 and at the end of the song from 2:18 on.
We're also learning "Si Bheag Si Mohr," a lovely Turlough O'Carolan tune in the Mel Bay book of Celtic tunes arranged by Mark Nelson that Kate Kanaley-Miller introduced in January. Tab is also available on the Three Rivers Dulcimer Society website in Washington state. I posted some YouTube clips and background to a Prairieland meeting notice on Hogfiddle in January. A lovely tune.
You can still sign up. Details on Mike Anderson's website at http://dulcimerguy.com/. Check your email inbox, too. I sent around a reminder with fliers, etc., a few minutes ago tonight. This is a real opportunity to learn - hope to see you there!
Clayville Pioneer Academy of Music
Our beginners' lessons at Clayville in January and February were so successful, we're going to keep them going through this year's season at the historic site about 15 miles west of Springfield on Ill. 125. While the lessons were for Applachian dulcimer players, we hope to expand our scope and invite people who play other instruments to join us, for a non-competitive jam session where we learn new tunes and enjoy making music with other people.
Here's a flier I wrote to post on websites, bulletin boards, etc.:
If you have a dulcimer, guitar, banjo, fiddle or any other musical instrument you haven’t touched in years; if you want to practice your skills; or if you just want to learn more tunes, we’re starting a jam session at Clayville just for you! Beginning in March, we’ll hold a slow- to moderate-tempo tune learning jam from 10 a.m. till noon the first Saturday of every month at Clayville Historic Site. We’ll focus on learning tunes, but we’ll share tips for beginners from 9:30 till the jam begins at 10. In the spirit of jam sessions we’ve enjoyed at old-time music festivals, traditional Irish sessions and dulcimer camps nationwide, we want our Clayville academy jams to bring amateur players together to learn new tunes and enjoy the fun of making music together in a friendly, noncompetitive atmosphere. Our academy jams grow out of dulcimer classes we held this winter, but players of all musical instruments are welcome. We welcome all instruments and skill levels, but most of us are beginning or intermediate players, and we especially welcome beginners.
Pete Ellertsen, who has studied dulcimer and folk music at Mike Anderson’s workshops, Western Carolina University, Common Ground on the Hill and the John C. Campbell Folk School, will coordinate the sessions. For more information, call Pete at 217 793-2587.