DUBOIS – Nationally-known, mountain dulcimer performer/teacher Joe Collins will visit DuBois on Monday, Aug. 15, to provide workshops and perform in concert.
The activities will be held at the DuBois Area Historical Society, 30 W. Long Ave., DuBois, beginning at 10 a.m.
The cost for one workshop is $20; $30 for two; $35 for three; the fourth workshop is free if the other three workshops are taken. Workshop participants pay at the door.
The tip for the 4:30 p.m. concert will be “pass the hat.” The day is sponsored by the Sandy Lick Mountain Dulcimer Players. To pre-register, e-mail email@example.com or telephone 814-371-4627.
The workshops and ability level are:
10 a.m. Can You Sing with that Thing? (upper-novice & up). This is a workshop on using the mountain dulcimer as an accompaniment instrument.
Participants will play some rhythm and blues, rock, folk and maybe even country rhythms while singing some popular songs. The main focus will be on using chords and strumming rhythms for accompaniment.
11:15 a.m.: Playing Pretty (intermediate & up), focuses on developing technique that will help participants become more expressive on the dulcimer and less mechanical.
The class will go beyond learning the notes to learning about how to use dynamics and phrasing to make music more emotive (capable of pulling out feelings). Exercises will be shared that may be used to continue to develop these skills.
2 p.m.: Funny Songs for Your Repertoire (all levels). This is a kick back and have fun workshop on playing and singing a variety of songs to tickle the funny bone.
A portion of the lesson will focus on how to use the dulcimer as an accompaniment instrument while helping people laugh.
3:15 p.m.: Harping on the Dulcimer – Songs of Turlough O’Carolan (intermediate & up). A repertoire workshop of songs from the great, blind bard of Ireland arranged for the mountain dulcimer.
O’Carolan was a harpist/composer at the end of the 17th into the early 18th century. Although he never wrote down any of his music, over 200 tunes have survived and are played all over the world today. These tunes are especially beautiful on the mountain dulcimer.
4:30 p.m. Concert: Joe Collins fell in love with the mountain dulcimer in 1978. At the time, he was doing occasional coffeehouses as a college student in eastern North Carolina, and a good friend thought that he might be interested in tackling another instrument besides the guitar.
He took her little instrument home, and she did not get it back for three years. Today, he plays a lot less guitar and lot more dulcimer than in those early days.
After competing in a number of competitions and winning several regional competitions over a 10-year period, he won the National Mountain Dulcimer Championship in 2007 in Winfield, Kansas.
Over the past 20 years, he has had the opportunity to teach and play in festivals from California to the east coast, from Florida to Vermont, and a lot of places in between.
A folk musician and mountain dulcimer player since the late 70’s, Collins combines mountain dulcimer wizardry with good, solid vocals. He is a songwriter and vocalist, inspired by artists like Simon & Garfunkle, Gordon Lightfoot, Bob Dylan and Kris Kristofferson.
But as he grows older and pudgier, he realizes that perhaps the most profound influence on his musical bent was the old Burle Ives records he listened to over and over again as a kid.
His performances are sprinkled with a lot of humor and some excellent mountain dulcimer playing – sure to bring a smile to audiences of all ages.
Collins graduated from East Carolina University with Bachelor and Master’s degrees in English, from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity with religious education, and from North Carolina State University with a Doctorate in adult education.
He has worked in religious education for most of his professional career and is professor emeritus of religion at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, N.C.
Now that he is retired, he has more time for dulcimer, writing music and traveling to work with clubs and in festivals.