The club meeting for the AGM in November, with a residential weekend arranged round it in Cromford, Derbyshire, proved a great success, with around 30 people attending. The AGM business was dealt with late on Sunday afternoon, which left nearly two days for the pleasures of meeting other members, playing together ad hoc or in the more purposeful sessions laid on to improve and develop our playing techniques. As a totally ignorant new member I had not heard of, or heard, any of the people there (except Jim Couza - someone had lent me a tape of his - sorry the rest of you) apart from the Birmingham group that I had met in the summer when, happily, Fred and Syd Woodley were also present and I heard Fred's marvellously evocative playing for the first time.
They came as guests to Cromford to demonstrate this style of playing with the fingers, and show instruments of Fred's or his father's making. Graphic accounts of
his father piercing the bridges with a red hot poker, outside in the yard, and of the various materials pressed into use as required made us think that perhaps it wasn't so
Annual Gathering at Cromford 1993 - Full House!
There was a lot of expertise gathered in that once place, and the Saturday night concert, and the lesser impromptu sessions, showed how well the dulcimer blends with another stringed instrument, be it guitar, mandolin or harp.
There were added delights in the form of Sally's account, and tapes, of the International Cimbalom and Hackbrett Festivals that she and others had been to in Brno and Munich. Now we all wanted to go!
It was a great pleasure to meet so many purposeful and talented people, and to have the opportunity to learn from the experts. All in all, a very good weekend.
impossible to make our own dulcimers if we only had enough willpower and perseverance. It was a real eye-opener to see - and hear - the expert playing of those who were no longer beginners, and in some cases of course are total masters of the instrument.