Walnut Valley Festival

November 16, 2018


So I've got to say I sincerely appreciated those of you that came out to cheer me on at the Walnut Valley contest!  It was great fun!


Going into the contest, I really wasn't very nervous.  I wasn't particularly overwhelmed.  When someone asked me later how I did?  I replied "Well, let's just say I competed!"


Did I choke?  Not really.  I might even say I was perhaps a bit over confident.  When I found out that there were over 20 contestants, I concluded the odds were greatly increased against my placing in the contest, so I resolved to make a good showing and do the best I could!


I feel what actually happened is probably worthy of note and instructive.  Let's not worry about the outcome.  By now most of you have heard me play, "Lazy John".  It is a favorite of mine and a good choice for the contest.


So, my big moment came, I was set up and ready to go.  My dulcimer was tuned and I started to play Lazy John.  Finger picking.  There are many times when I do play this song with finger picking so it felt quite natural to do so at that moment.  However, the manner in which I had this song arranged demanded I use a pick.


I happily played along and got almost completely through the 1st part when I realized that I had no pic in my hand.  That pic was still in the pocket. My backup pic was neatly tucked underneath my capo.  So, with the pic I intended to use residing in my pocket, I found myself trying to figure out what would be the easiest, fastest, and most unobtrusive way to grab a pic.


There was no other way; I had to break the momentum of the song, reach up and grab the pic from underneath my capo, and continue.  It, of course, came out like a hiccup. And, this was the point at which my "newbieness" shone forth.  For the rest of the set and all the way through my second piece, I was unnerved.


Competing in the National Dulcimer Championship at Walnut Valley was great fun.


I'm not saying that just because I can't say anything else about it.  I may have a few regrets about the way I did it.  But I have no regrets about doing it.  I got a chance to visit with very many extremely talented musicians, all of whom were likewise nervous but also friendly and encouraging. 


I was so glad that Wendy Songe was the ultimate winner!  And I am so glad that Cassie (from Ark City and a friend of many of our club members) came in 3rd.  I thought Eunice [our club member!] did exceptionally well!  All in all I was happy to be in such good company!



When I finished and I went backstage.  Duane Porterfield handed me a pick.  I assume that he had surmised exactly what I had done, he smiled and said, "Here, you might need this someday!"  That pick is the one pictured at the top of this column.  I will treasure it for a long time.



After all the dust settled and we got home that night, I had a moment to come back down-to-earth.  What did I do?  Well, I did what any musician would do.  I took out my dulcimer.  I played through all five of my pieces.  Flawlessly (just to prove to myself that I could do it), and then I composed a song.


Rest assured, you will get an opportunity to hear this song sometime when we happen to have an open mic.

And, I will most probably play it next year it at Walnut Valley!

Gary Bell, V.P.

Please reload

Featured Posts

Old Time Jam

August 15, 2018

Please reload

Recent Posts

September 3, 2020

July 8, 2020

Please reload

Please reload

Search By Tags
Please reload

Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square



Monthly Meetings:

Second Saturday of each month