Ben Catt, Rick Thum, Dan Landrum, Stephen Humphries,
David Mahler and Mark Wade play "I'll Fly Away"
The ODPC and its
Each year during the third weekend in July, musicians and music lovers alike converge on one small town near the center of the Lower Peninsula: Evart, Michigan. Located in close proximity to Route 131 near Reed City, Evart has small town friendliness and charm. And each July, its population swells by several thousand people who come from all over the nation to attend the country's largest hammered dulcimer festival, held at the Osceola County Fairgrounds. Some come just for a day, while most camp on site for $20 a night. Admission is $15.00 for the three-day festival or $7.00 a day, and includes workshops, evening concerts, shopping and lots of jamming for musicians. For those who don't play, one can wander the campground in search of listening opportunities, of which there are many, or just to enjoy a favorite festival food. Music goes on all day and most of the night.
The Original Dulcimer Players Club sponsors Funfest, as it has done each year at Evart since 1973. The ODPC is a club that promotes the playing of the hammered dulcimer, and it also encourages participation by players of other acoustic instruments as well. The festival is family-friendly, and no alcohol is allowed on the grounds. There is a complete workshop schedule geared just for children, including its own youth stage show on Saturday morning. There is also an open mike concert held on Saturday afternoon, where anyone is welcome to sign up to perform on stage. During each of three nights of outdoor evening concerts, one can hear not only local talented musicians, but also professional musicians who come from near and far to perform and to teach. Over 30 acts are seen during these concerts during the span of the festival. And if you feel the urge to dance, there is a popular square dance held on Friday evening.
The purpose of the Original Dulcimer Players Club is to promote and preserve the art of playing the hammered dulcimer, to provide an organization where dulcimer players can exchange with each other information and knowledge regarding the instrument. It shall provide for workshops, seminars and concerts. It shall make this instrument better known to the public. It shall perpetuate the art of construction and of playing this instrument, so that this knowledge can benefit future generations.
Excerpt from the Bylaws of
Original Dulcimer Players Club
Video provided by Ken Kaiser
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