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Colorado Dulcimer Festival to bring sweet sounds to Littleton venue

February event will offer two days of magical music at church on Belleview


Two 7 p.m. evening concerts on Feb. 2 and 3 will offer the sweet music of mountain and hammered dulcimers, combined with additional instruments: fiddle, guitar, banjo and mandolin. Nationally recognized concert musicians will be part of the annual Colorado Dulcimer Festival, held this year at St. James Presbyterian Church, 3601 W. Belleview Ave., Littleton.

Celtic, bluegrass, old-time, country and jazz music will be heard throughout the weekend and there will be a dance band, according to Judy Jones of Roxborough, an instructor/musician on the hammered dulcimer.

This festival began 15 years ago in Fort Collins with musician/teacher Steve Eulberg, and moved to the Denver area five years ago.

Jones says: “There are two kinds of dulcimers: the hammered and the mountain or lap dulcimer. Both use strings stretched across a soundboard, but differ in shape, sound and playing. Hammered dulcimers are 5,000 years old, from ancient Persia, sit on a stand and have 72 or more strings stretched across a wooden sound box. The player strikes the strings with wooden hammers, producing music in a great dynamic range. Mountain dulcimers originated in the Appalachian Mountains, rest on the player’s lap, and the three or four strings are strummed like a guitar. The tone is gentle and became very popular in the 1960s folk music revival.”

During each day, there will be scheduled classes/workshops for beginners through advanced players, with rental instruments available on-site. Also, daytime hours will include jam sessions, perhaps some dance sessions and lots of exchange of music and ideas. On the afternoon of Feb. 3, there will be a children’s class.

Visiting musicians include:

• Multi-talented Kim McKee, who will appear with her guitarist husband, Ken Wilson, performing traditional and original Celtic music. They teach in southern Colorado.

• National Hammered Dulcimer Champion Ted Yoder, Goshen, Indiana.

• Tina Gugeler, national champion who performs with contra bands locally.

• Steve Eulberg, festival founder.

• Erin Mae, youngest National Mountain Dulcimer Champion at 17.


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