Stage Show Satuday Night Featured Performers
All shows start at 6:30pm...
The Silver Strings Dulcimer Society features the Hammered Dulcimer, along with a variety of other acoustic instruments such as the Mountain Dulcimer, Guitar, Fiddle, Banjo, Autoharp, Bass, Marimbula, Banjola, Mandolin, Concertina, Ukulele, Harmonica, Penny Whistle, and Recorder.
Meetings take place on the first and third Thursdays of every month, 7-9 pm at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 30650 Six Mile Rd, Livonia, MI.
We start jamming at 7 pm, break for a brief meeting and snacks at 8:30 pm and then back to jamming. If you play or enjoy listening to any of the above instruments, you are invited to visit us at our next meeting.
Bill Robinson is a 3rd generation hammered dulcimer player living in St. Charles, Illinois. Known for his upbeat playing style, and unique dulcimer traditions handed down from generation to generation, Robinson is a master of the instrument..
Bill Robinson has been playing for over 60 years and formed the band Bill Robinson & Friends in 1980. He has also taught hundreds of students how to play the instrument and continues to teach new students.
Colin is a Mobile, AL based musician who specializes in hammered dulcimer, steel pans, and percussion. Known for his unique style of playing, Colin mixes elements from a variety of genres in his music. These include classical, jazz, Irish folk, African, Brazilian, Cuban, Caribbean, and various others.
He has released a self recorded solo hammered dulcimer album "La Tranquilità", Italian for "tranquility". Consisting mostly of slower, more delicate songs, this album features music from around the world as well as a few originals. It's the perfect album to relax, sleep, and think to.
2013 National Hammered Dulcimer Champion, Katie Moritz is a musician and teacher hailing from the Chicagoland area in Northern Illinois. She’s been playing music ever since she could remember, starting piano as a very small child and playing the tuba through school.
Her taste in music is geared towards more eclectic sounds and it wasn’t till she started playing the hammered dulcimer that she found her authentic musical “voice”. The unique instrument was able to seamlessly sew together Katie’s love of traditional music from around the world, 1940’s jazz standards, Broadway musicals, bluegrass, and pop.
While studying under an Illinois hammered dulcimer master, Bill Robinson, Katie has been awarded 7 consecutive folk arts apprenticeship grants with the Illinois Arts Council She has spent over a decade studying traditional music and is dedicated to teaching and continuing a traditional style of playing. At the same time, she has also spent most of her life learning and playing music in scholarly settings, which has influenced her dulcimer playing to encompass an uncommon blend of old and new. This edge has led her to receive various recognitions including placing 1st in the Mid-East and Southern regional contests, and the National Hammered Dulcimer Championship. In 2019 Katie even became a finalist in the National Mountain Dulcimer Championship.
Katie holds a Master's degree in Design & Media and an Associate's degree in Music Performance. She has taught and performed at many festivals and gatherings around the United States. Along with the hammered dulcimer, Katie is a multi-instrumentalist who plays mountain dulcimer, 'ukulele, steel pan, guitar, and more.
Pam is a northern Michigan native - growing up a "stone's throw" from the Evart (Funfest) area and hailing from Marion, Michigan. A teacher by trade and a musician by birth, Pam Bowman has played guitar and sang from the time she was young.
It was in this dulcimer rich region that she first heard and saw a hammered dulcimer being played by a friend's father, while still a teen. It was nearly 10 years later when she noticed its unique tones drifting through the atmosphere of a local, historic craft shop - inquired if it was a hammered dulcimer in the recording - and thought to herself..."I'm old enough to buy one of those now!"
Since that time she has been performing with the hammered dulcimer for over 25 years as a soloist, as a duo with guitarist Jeff Gardner, and with a five piece group called Just Jammin' - performing gospel/country/bluegrass music.
In 2005 Pam entered and won the Southern Regional Hammered Dulcimer Competition in Mt. View, Arkansas.
Pam gives private lessons and group lessons (in person and online) on the hammered dulcimer, as well as teaching work-shops and performing at various festivals. Her students love and give acclaim to her incomparable hammered dulcimer tablature, which she developed and includes with her lessons and arrangement books. Pam also performs her unique style of hammered dulcimer and arrangements for many other venues.
She has eight recordings available, as well as four books of arrangements for the hammered dulcimer - and a series of instructional cd's focused on hymns.
Pam gives all of the glory for her talents and abilities, to our God & Savior and is truly thankful for the gift of music!
The Olde Michigan Ruffwater Stringband, often referred to as “Ruffwater”, was founded on September 26, 1978, out of the membership of the Paint Creek Folklore Society in Rochester, Oakland County, Michigan.
Our vision was to create a large country dance and concert orchestra that allowed small groupings within it to support the traditional dance community that was growing quickly in Michigan. The hammered dulcimer was selected as one of the pillars of our sound. Our dulcimer players through the years have been Bob Hubbach, Judi Morningstar, Sharon Robinson, Cecelia Webster and William Webster.
Since inception, we have presented more than 3000 concerts and dances the length and width of Michigan from Ironwood to Detroit and from Holland to Port Huron as well as the Midwest and Canada.
In 1979 we joined with the newly formed Detroit Country Dance Society to play for their monthly dances at St. Timothy Methodist Church in Detroit (yes, the source for Judi Morningstar’s tune “March of St. Timothy). In October 1980 we were “discovered” by the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village as we played with other groups under the umbrella of the Original Dulcimer Players Club.
In February 1981 we recorded our first album “Michigan Winter”. In October of 1981, we were engaged by the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn to play the music and lead the dancing for the American Contra Dancing series in Lovett Hall (circa 1937). Ruffwater member Glen Morningstar called the dances and Ruffwater played the music monthly, three seasons out of each year for 23-1/2 years!
We included the music of the old Ford Orchestra, made popular from 1926 to 1943, and often reconstructed the old Ford Orchestra ensemble for special events for Lovett Hall and the Ford family.
Members of the Ruffwater crew attended the Evart Funfest in July 1977 and 1978, even before Ruffwater was formed. Ruffwater was a regular fixture in the evening concert programs at the Funfest in the 1980’s and 1990’s while we launched our second recording “Michigan Spring”. “Michigan Summer” came along in 2002.
We’ve led Funfest workshops through the years including dulcimer, piano, slow jams, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, shape-note singing, and dance band. We enjoyed a great stretch of hosting the Friday night Funfest dance. While 16 members strong in our heyday, retirements and passings have reduced our number to our active 9 members that are performing at the Funfest July 15th.
On dulcimers at the 60th anniversary will be Judi Morningstar, Sharon Robinson and Cecelia Webster. On fiddles Brad Battey, Glen Morningstar and Carl Visconti (also mandolin). On piano and banjo-ukelele Jan Pavlinak. On guitar, Don McCoy. On bass, Rosemary Kornacki. Congratulations ODPC!
Every year we invite all hammered dulcimer players to join in a massive jam session at the start of the Saturday evening concert. This is why we are here, to celebrate the players, the music and the instrument. Join us.
National Dulcimer Champion, Mark Alan Wade performs in orchestra halls and music festivals alike with his characteristic mix of classical precision and raw, traditional American style.
Classically trained as a trumpeter with master’s and doctorate degrees in music from The Ohio State University, his unique style emerged as the technique and discipline of his formal training crossed over into his dulcimer playing.
He earned his undergraduate degree in music education at Ohio Wesleyan University. His performances bring world music to life and revitalize familiar classical pieces on hammered dulcimer.
Mark Alan Wade is based in Northeast Ohio, but his 30+ years performing have taken him all over the U.S., Europe and Asia. In 2013, he was a featured performer at the World Cymbalom Congress in Taipei, Taiwan. 2014 found him playing trumpet in an orchestra on the very stages where Beethoven and Haydn performed near Vienna, Austria. Recently he premiered his Irish hymn suite for hammered dulcimer and orchestra, Streams of Mercy, with the Tuscarawas Philharmonic Orchestra and Good King Wenny with the Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra. He also is a founding member of the wildly successful QuaranTUNE Dulcimer Festival. Wade has also performed with the Beach Boys, the Buckinghams, and with numerous orchestras including the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra.
Despite his active performing schedule, he maintains a thriving private studio with six of his students having also won the National Contest for hammered dulcimer. For 11 years, Wade served as professor of music theory, trumpet, and wind ensemble at several universities, before leaving to perform fulltime.
His nineth book for hammered dulcimer, “Classical Masterpieces for Hammered Dulcimer,” was published in May 2020 with Mel Bay, Inc. Publishers. He has also published seven hammered dulcimer CD albums, including Serenade, a collection of classical gems for hammered dulcimer. He is also a regular contributor to Dulcimer Players News Journal.
Ranked as the most influential dulcimer player of the last decade by readers of Dulcimer Player News, Rick Thum has made his mark on every aspect of the hammered dulcimer world. Rick is perhaps best known for his festival performances, which have regularly earned him the “most popular performer” title at the largest national dulcimer festival.
He brings a combination of passion and friendly accessibility to his teaching that makes his workshops and master classes favorites at festivals across the country. He has tapped this teaching experience to produce the best-selling instructional CD series for hammered dulcimer, the “Original Song of the Month Club”.
Rick is also the designer of the highly regarded ‘Professional’ hammered dulcimer, bearing his name. Yet for all his time in the studio, onstage, in the classroom, and in the luthier’s shop, Rick is most at home at a late-night jam session, where you might even find him playing an instrument other than the dulcimer from time to time.
Rick Thum taught himself to play guitar and drums at age twelve and played the trumpet in his high school band. Throughout high school and college (B. S. Industrial Administration) Rick played in rock bands, eventually playing regularly on the upper deck of the Admiral in St. Louis.
While raising his family Rick directed his church choir. Rick’s interest in traditional music was sparked when he bought a hammered dulcimer on a whim and found himself in a three-piece folk band.
In 1991 Rick became co-owner of a large midwestern acoustic instrument shop. In 1994 he sold his interest in the shop to devote more time to being a traveling musician.
He placed first at the 1994 Southwest Regional Dulcimer Contest and third in the 1995 National Championship at Winfield, Kansas. Rick was voted Best Performer and Favorite Teacher for several years running at the prestigious Evart Dulcimer Funfest. (The oldest and largest dulcimer festival in the nation.)
He has shared the stage with Mike Seeger, The Tony Rice Unit, Steve Kaufman, Norman Blake, and Bryan Bowers and opened for John Hartford, Norman & Nancy Blake, and Leo Kottke.
Rick is a popular teacher on the festival circuit and travels across the country playing solo and teaching at music festvals. He currently has five recordings; “Hammered Fiddle Tunes”, “A Reason to Dance”, “Front Porch Waltz”, “Down the Old Dirt Road” and “Seifert & Thum Live at Mt Dora 2014”.
Mel Bay Publishing Inc. has published the companion book to Hammered Fiddle Tunes. Rick is currently manufacturing hammered dulcimers (Rick Thum Dulcimers) which can be seen at a retailer near you and has, by demand, started the Song of the Month Club. Mail order lessons by audio Cd.