Passing down music from generation to generation is an important part of the Evart Dulcimer Festival.
The festival took place on July 19 – July 21 encouraging players young and old to participate in workshops designed for all skill levels.
“We are a family environment,” said President of the Dulcimer Festival Kathy Raymon. “Our goal is to promote and educate not just on the dulcimer but other instruments as well.”
Raymon stressed her own excitement to pass down the traditions and folk music to her 3-year-old granddaughter.
“I can’t wait to share the experience with her and watch her experience the festival,” she said.
While parents went to different workshops for their instrument, kids gathered in the youth pavilion to have a day filled with learning different instruments like the dulcimer and recorder and practice their rhythm with maracas.
“We have quite a few kids this year,” said Youth Program Director Deb Gorby who lead kids in crafts and some of the instruments they learned. “I just took over the program this year, and it’s great getting the kids involved and trying to help them find interest in something new or help develop skills they might already have.”
Deb’s daughter, Erin Gorby, at 10-years-old was found in many different workshops throughout the day from the more advanced like the ones lead by Rick Thum to the very basic like the one held at the end of Thursday by Pam Bowman.
“She has worked with Rick Thum before so she was excited to take his workshop,” said Deb as her daughter was getting back from her final workshop of the day. “But I think the basic classes are important to just for a break and a refresher on the important skills.”
Deb also talked about how working with Erin inspired her to get her own dulcimer so that they could learn together.
Raymon also talked about this years turn out of the younger generation.
“Each year it fluctuates,” she said. “Some years we get a lot of young kids, others there are a lot of teenagers. This year I have seen a nice amount of all ages, but I have noticed more teenagers than previous years.”
One grandparent, director of the hammer dulcimer preshow and youth teacher Peggy Peryam, talked about how welcoming the fest has been this year to the younger groups.
“This year has given such a warm welcome to the younger kids,” said Peryam, “My 13-year-old grandson has been going from workshop to workshop all day and has just been having a great time.”
Later, Raymon emphasized the important role the youth play in the Dulcimer Festival.
“Music is designed to be passed on from generation to generation,” she said. “That’s why it is so important to include the youth and encourage them to take on music. [The older generation] isn’t going to be around forever, so [the festival] would like to keep the history going down the line.”