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

1/6
Please reload

Recent Posts

September 5, 2019

June 29, 2019

Please reload

Archive