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Wisconsin musician to teach mountain dulcimer workshop

Published: Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

ELIZABETH – Early settlers in this lead-mining area had to entertain themselves throughout long, cold winter evenings.

One musical instrument they may have used is the Appalachian dulcimer, often called the mountain dulcimer. This dulcimer is a hollow-bodied, fretted, wooden instrument, generally with three or four metal strings. It is hourglass-shaped or oval, held across the lap, and played in a variety of styles with fingers or picks.            

Nancy Garrett of Janesville Wis., known for her dulcimer playing and teaching, will share the basics of this folk instrument on Jan. 26 at the Apple River Fort Interpretive Center, 311 E. Myrtle St. The Volunteer Corps at the Fort and the Apple River Fort Foundation will sponsor this half-day workshop for players of all experience levels – or no experience at all. 

Garrett said her family all played music, but she could not even hear whether the tune was going up or down. That changed when she saw dulcimers at a buckskinners rendezvous. When Garrett’s children were grown, she saw dulcimers at another rendezvous; this time she bought one.

She took eight lessons in Madison, Wis., and found material on the Internet.

Since then, she has started two dulcimer groups for adult players, and volunteers in the Janesville and Milton schools about mountain dulcimers.

Space is limited at the Interpretive Center; call 815.858.2028 by Jan. 19 for complete details and costs.     

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