Clayville/Prairieland Sessions


The beginnings of a playlist below to mountain dulcimer tablature available on the World Wide Web for tunes played by two groups of amateur musicians in the Springfield area: (1) the Clayville Pioneer Academy of Music at Clayville Historic Stagecoach Stop on Illinois 125 at Pleasant Plains; and (2) the Prairieland Strings dulcimer club, at Peace Lutheran Church, 2800 West Jefferson, Springfield. Our groups overlap, in repertory and membership alike, and some of us just think of ourselves as the Clayville-Prairieland Sessions.

We began as a group of mountain dulcimer players who wanted to play more by ear, and with other instruments, and we've evolved into a "slow jam" and tune learning session. Most of us were beginners ourselves very recently, and we especially welcome beginners in both groups. For further information on both groups, and other opportunities for dulcimer players in central Illinois, (close up the spaces, delete the hyphens and) email Pete Ellertsen at hogfiddle -@- or telephone at 217-793-2587.

But the best way to find out about us is to visit one of our sessions. Here's our schedule:

  • First Tuesday of the month, 7-9 p.m., at Peace Lutheran.
  • First Saturday of the month, 10 a.m. to noon, Clayville.
  • Third Thursday of the month, 7-9 p.m., at Peace.

Gray Cat on a Tennessee Farm John Stinson's No. 2

June Apple Over the Waterfall Rocky Top Squirrel Heads and Gravy Walking in the Parlor

Clayville Pioneer Academy of Music

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’ve started a jam session at Clayville just for you!

We call it the "Clayville Pioneer Academy of Music," and it meets from 10 a.m. until noon on the first Saturday of every month in the barn at Clayville. All acoustic instruments are welcome, and all skill levels are welcome. We're not about the fine points of technique as much as sharing our knowledge and making music with each other.

Prairieland Strings

If you're interested in music, if you enjoy playing … or if you want to learn how to play that dulcimer you picked up last year at a craft fair … please join us! We meet from 7 to 9 p.m. the first Tuesday and third Thursday of every month at Springfield’s Atonement Lutheran Church, 2800 West Jefferson [Ill. 97-125 just west of Veterans Parkway/Ill. 4].

We spend the first hour learning songs, and the second hour going around the circle playing tunes suggested by members. We play the common dulcimer jam tunes, gospel and folk hymns, old-time fiddle tunes, Celtic and American folk songs, waltzes, Broadway show tunes, Tin Pan Alley standards, early English carols - and anything else we want to. Most of us are beginning- to intermediate-level players, and brand-new beginners are welcome.

We're not just for dulcimers! We're branching out into ensemble arrangements and improvisation lately, and we've had members who play mountain, bowed and/or hammered dulcimer, guitar, banjo, ukelele, harp, cello, bowed psaltry and Irish whistle at our sessions. But we've always got time to share our knowledge with beginners.

1 comment:

Rushd Lady said...

Sounds like fun. Here's one of my favorite photos of my husband's ancestor playing the fiddle and his son, the banjo, that we used on a Family Reunion reminder several years ago --
I would love to be able to play an autoharp. Do you have any of those at your sessions? Not that I could travel there, but do you know of any autoharp tutorials online such as at Youtube?