Hearing a concert played on a beautiful historical instrument becomes even more enjoyable when listened to in a home built in the early 1800’s. On February 11th, members of the Blanco Women’s Club learned about the history of the dulcimer, enjoyed a concert given by accomplished musician Carol Neely Harrington, and were graciously welcomed into the delightfully decorated home of member Linda Lyons.
Harrington entertained the BWC members with a medley of tunes from early America, Yellow Bird (a Calypso song), and songs in honor of Valentine’s Day such as Let Me Call You Sweetheart, dedicating the last song in her set to Lorie Stetler.
According to Harrington, the dulcimer is one of the oldest folk instruments in the world and is the earliest form of the piano. The dulcimer probably originated in the Middle East and most likely traveled into Europe with the Crusaders. Dulcimers were popular and common in early America, Harrington told the group, and were sold by traveling salesmen and even through the Sears catalogue. Dulcimer players even performed in Vaudeville acts. Harrington says that while many dulcimer players are accomplished players on other instruments (she played the piano and tenor sax before taking up the dulcimer), “You can play the dulcimer beautifully from the first week; by ear is just fine, although many do read music too.” As one nationally known dulcimer player puts it “I don’t read music enough for it to hurt my playin’.”
After the musical performance, members were treated to a Valentine’s Day themed banquet including Red Devil Cake with cherries, heart shaped sandwiches, and many other delicious treats. Red roses in a crystal bowl and other beautiful flowers finished out the Battenberg lace covered tables.
During the business portion of the meeting, member Gwen Risinger announced that Blanco’s Real Ale Company will team up once again with Austin Bicycle Sport Shop on May 30th to host another bicycle ride with proceeds to benefit the Blanco Library. Risinger reported that last year $3000 from the race went directly to the Library, with an additional $500 coming in later from the riders. Risinger also commented that “We very much appreciate all the Library volunteers. Without them, we could not do what we do.” Librarian Jan Redmon announced that The Graveyard Book is winner of this year’s Newberry Medal, an award for authors in existence since 1922 and “very much like the Oscar is to filmmakers”. The popular Dinner and a Movie fundraiser, hosted by Friends of the Library, will be held March 27th. This year’s movie, Eat, Drink, Man, Woman, an unrated 1994 movie, will begin at 8:00pm in the Library with dinner prior to the movie in the Old Blanco County Courthouse at 6:00pm. Tickets will be $12.00 and the evening is limited to 100 guests. Blanco’s Sibby Barrett of Onion Creek Kitchens will provide the meal. Linda Ivey Nash was invited to join the group with five additional guests rounding out the lovely afternoon. The next BWC gathering will be held at the Benini Galleries and Sculpture Ranch, near Johnson City.