Day 45: Interstate Tour 2018
I went for the full breakfast today and then headed inside and started breaking down the vending table. The schedule snafu wasn't a total train wreck, but I missed some of Common Ground On The Hill and also missed some of Dutchland Dulcimer Gathering. They were both still awesome.
It's amazing to see what Jeffrey Hamilton and his volunteers have created here in this part of the country. They are a perfect example of what most dulcimer players are all about - sharing the simplicity and fun of this instrument with people who have always wanted to play something. Their success is due to their enthusiasm, and that passion is what makes this community so amazing.
I taught "Ashokan Farewell" first thing this morning and we all got wrapped up in the lovely movements of this tune. I go to the source when I can, in transcribing a piece, and this one was picked up directly from the playing of Jay Ungar, the author of the tune, so I feel confident in teaching it and saying, "this is how it goes."
After a frenetic break between classes, trying to get packed and connect with everyone, I taught Native American flute to a group of hardy adventurers.
Teaching NAF has been such a treat, because it's really one of the most down-to-earth instruments that you can play. After laying down the basics, I sent the students into the outdoors to mine inspiration from "playing nature." Using the ridgelines as cues to bring the melody up or down and imitating wild life to bring new melodic vocabulary into the tool box is what I had them doing. It was great to hear all of the songs coming from everyone as they found their places and their happy spots with new insight into music through the flute. It's like watching kids at Walt Disney World for the first time. I love seeing those little moments of "oh my GOD, how COOL! I'm doing this!"
Caught some video moments during the break, made a really bad-for-me cocoa coffee loaded with sugar and said my goodbyes. It seemed really brief, but it was nice to see everyone, and some of them I'd see next week in Michigan. These circuits we travel, they have patterns and we run into each other in various collisions of coincidence. Always fun and always enlightening. I call them "eccentric circles."
It's customary to receive some neat local gifts at the gathering and I was delighted to receive more Amish apple butter of varying themes as well as a beautiful hand-made "good news egg box" hand crafted in Vietnam by Ten Thousand Villages, (Jeffrey and company are good people through and through) then I bolted for CGOTH, arrived with 90 minutes to spare. This is such a fun festival and I missed out on a lot, but what little I experienced today totally got me in the groove. I played a really fun set, met some new friends, said goodbyes and checked out and drove to Altoona, PA. Ate at Casa Valadez and was waited on by the best server ever. Checked into the Walmart Resort. Winding down.
This was a phenomenal week. CGOTH is always incredibly inspiring and the infusion of elements gave me an amazing jolt of energy going into the second month of tour. Dutchland Dulcimer Gathering seemed like a brief skip across a pond, but so much good was packed into those two days. When life is a blur, close one eye. Tomorrow, it's Michigan or Bust (and this has been a stellar year for motorhome travel. By this time in subsequent years, I'd blown tires, gaskets, engines and what-not. This year. NOTHING is going wrong. Hoorah!)