Group hopes to inspire interest in the dulcimer

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 1:48 PM EDT
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VINTON, Va. (WDBJ) - An instrument unique to Appalachia is finding its way into the laps of more musicians in our area.

The Roanoke Valley Dulcimer Group has been meeting together once a month since 2014 to share music and prepare for shows.

“It is a traditional Appalachian instrument, but the interesting thing is that there are pockets of Appalachia where the instrument is very common and there are other places where it is almost unheard of,” Earl Vanover said.

Vanover is one of the members inside a community room in the Vinton Library that proudly straps the instrument around his waist.

He’s joined by about a dozen other enthusiasts, including Gloria Howell.

“It’s a simple instrument that you can never learn everything about. It’s accessible to anyone who is 8 years old to 80 years old,” Howell said.

During this visit, several members are preparing for a performance at Parrish Chapel UMC in Bedford County.

“So we really need to practice and have it down pat so we can really know what we are doing,” Vanover said.

These types of events are important because members say it helps teach more people about the dulcimer and it sparks a renewed enthusiasm for it.

“A lot of people have bought dulcimers with the intention of learning to play them and either hung them up on the wall or stuck them in the closet just to gather dust,” Vanover said.

Instead, they want to see the instrument in your lap so their group can grow and inspire more people to explore its strings.

That’s why they are inviting the community to the Vinton Library Thursday, Sept. 22. There they will offer a presentation and give people a closer look at the instrument from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.