Day 73: Interstate Tour 2018

Such a great group!

Such a great group!

I arrived at Calvary United Methodist Church in Latham, about five minutes from the Walmart Resort, around 9 am, set up my teaching space and vending, then set to printing out materials for the four workshops.

We started with A Pick Is Worth A Thousand Notes, an introduction for flatpicking on the mountain dulcimer that used the tune "Twinkle" as a demonstration piece.  This is such a great tune, fun, impressive, real note-y, and it can scare intermediate players, but I took the students through, one measure at a time, and we were all playing it at the end of the hour.  The Technicolor Mountain Dulcimer was the next workshop and, this summer, I've been teaching it using "Can't Help Falling In Love", which I arranged so that two dulcimers could share parts of extended chords.  I love hearing the Maj9 and min9 chords while watching the students' expressions when those gorgeous colors come spilling out of their instruments!


One of my longest-running workshops, Seven Modes For Seven Dulcimers, took place after a 30 minute lunch break and it's pretty heavily steeped in music theory. This one tends to get the brows furrowed as I explain where the modes came from, how they've been used and how we relate to them now.  I recognize that pummeled gaze from the expression I've caught on my own face while digging deep into this stuff not too long ago.  Having come late to music theory appreciation, I can empathize with the folks who are still struggling to get a basic grasp of it and the modes are a good place to start, especially on the mountain dulcimer since many of our tunings (DAD, DAC, etc.) are actually by-products of each mode.

We wrapped with A Spoonful Of Blues, a hybrid version of my popular Delta Blues Mountain Dulcimer class; this one's always a blast to teach.  Lots of fun, lots of laughs, and happy people discovering a cool new approach to their instruments.

In stark contrast to last night's concert, with its copious use of the pedal board, the day-ending performance was completely unplugged, yet still as freewheeling and unpredictable.  The bio on my website states that you "never know what you're gonna get" with one of my shows.  Hell, I never know what I'm gonna get.  I'll segue between tunes, and just catch myself snickering out loud when the next song selection suddenly pops into my head and I launch into it without question.  

It was a fabulous group all day - hungry learners, question-askers, many of my patrons from Patreon were there, so I felt super-comfortable and when that happens, my shows gets even more casual and informal than usual. Some of the group drove a very long way to attend, so I was deeply grateful for their effort and eager to please.  CarolLynn Langley, the organizer, said there was something different about this year's event that she couldn't put her finger on, but it was a certain sort of magic.  I wholeheartedly agree, though from whence it came, I know not.  Just feeling incredibly blessed, fortunate and joyful.  

with CarolLynn Langley!

with CarolLynn Langley!

Afterwards, I went to dinner with friends Jeni and Shel, enjoyed their fantastic company and conversation, then bid adieu and headed back to the Walmart Resort: Latham, though I parked closer to Lowe's, which has the killer WiFi.  It usually reaches out to the street - that's some pretty alright coverage.  

All day, I had my laptop rendering Mavic movie files so that I can edit together a new Drone Zone segment for Patreon.  I'm not sure how many total gigabytes this was, but the computer ran from 9 am till 1 am and still wasn't finished processing the data.  After some emergency data management to avoid running out of space on the external drive, I'd have to re-download a bunch of files in order to get a clean purge.  Final Cut Pro X does a lot of storing of render files that can quickly claim a drive's real estate, so I have to stay on top of it.

Right before heading to bed, I tracked some vocals for a new song called "Breaking Waves" that I'm pretty excited about, then read all about this guy who stole the plane and flew it like a boss before crashing.  The news cycle remains ever more surprising, while at the same time, it's come to be expected any more - life just gets weirder all the time.

Day 74

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