In September 1963, Elgia C. Hickok founded the Original Dulcimer Players Club in Michigan. It was the first dulcimer club in America. Through his efforts and the club, people were introduced to the captivating sounds of the hammered dulcimer.
The role of Mr. Hickok and the ODPC in the revival of the hammered dulcimer in America, is documented in the Smithsonian publication, The Hammered Dulcimer in America by Nancy Groce, published in 1983.
The ODPC created a market for the instrument and builders started building again. The younger generation learned from the older generation how to build and play. The revival was born and continues today.
The Original Dulcimer Players Club
Throughout Michigan, dozens of community based clubs began to spring up, modeling themselves after the ODPC. By the mid 1970's, the revival had reached all the way to Kansas and Florida with groups boasting their own chapters of the ODPC. In the fall of 1973, the ODPC meeting was moved to the Osceola County Fairgrounds in Evart, Michigan and expanded to two days with camping. There was so much enthusiasm after the meeting that they decided to expand again the following year. In June of 1974, the first "Non-Electricical Musical FunFest" was born. This was a place where all non-electric instruments were welcome with an emphasis on the hammered dulcimer. Today, it's the largest hammered dulcimer festival in the world.
Gene Cox was a founding member of the ODPC and served as president from 1967-1981. He was instrumental in the building and branding of the FunFest festival. Hailing from Hickory Corners, MI, Gene, and his wife Esther, were the kind of people the newly organized ODPC needed. He was comitted to making sure every newcomer felt welcomed and that like minded musicians met each other.