A brief history of the Northeast Texas Dulcimer Chorus
IN THE BEGINNING
In the northeast Texas area, many people took beginner Mountain Dulcimer lessons from professional dulcimer player and teacher Debbie Porter, at either a festival, college or church. Others had learned to play the dulcimer on their own from available books and instructional tapes. However, after the lessons were over there was no venue for the budding dulcimer players to grow with their instrument. About the only time they would play was when Debbie would invite her students to play a few numbers with her at local festivals. The players always enjoyed it, but when a group's featured song is Bile Them Cabbage, there's room for growth. In August, 1997, eight people met at the home of Janice Marsh of Pittsburg and formed the Northeast Texas Dulcimer Chorus representing Mt. Pleasant, Mt. Vernon, Pittsburg, and Texarkana.
This was the start of something wonderful for the group. We all had
new friends that we could play a few songs with and have the best
fellowship and fun. Since then, we have covered many miles & states
to play our music. With Debbie's help a whole new world has opened up
for us. She let us know of the festivals that were coming and
encouraged us all to go. She also encouraged us to take workshops
from other teachers to give us a wider variety of songs and styles.
During the first festivals that we attended, she was there to guide us
to the workshops she felt would benefit us. She introduced us to many
of her dulcimer friends who in turn became our friends. Some of the
dulcimer festivals that many of us have attended are:
- The Lone Star State Dulcimer Festival- Glen Rose, TX
- The Huntsville Jam- Huntsville, TX
- Dulcimer Jamboree- Mt. View Arkansas
- Western Carolina University Mountain Dulcimer Week-(a.k.a. Boone)
- Mardi Gras Festival- Covington, La
- Winter Festival of Acoustic Music- Irving, TX
- Memphis Dulcimer Festival- Tennessee
- SamFest- Houston, TX
- Sawdust Festival- Bennington, OK
We've promoted the mountain dulcimer by playing for several local town festivals: i.e. Pittsburg Pioneer Days & 4th of July celebration, DeKalb's Oktoberfest. We've played several times at the Christmas Open house of First National Bank of Mt. Vernon, assorted church gatherings, banquets, club meetings, nursing homes and school programs. We play for the love of the music and our special instrument. We've progressed far beyond Bile Them Cabbage. Wherever we've played we've had fun and so has our audience.
In February, 1999, a new chapter of the Northeast Texas Dulcimer Club was started in Texarkana under the leadership of Al & Shirley Parsons (charter members of the N.E. TX Dulcimer Chorus). Unfortunately, Al and Shirley moved off to the Tyler, TX area and there were no volunteers to keep the club going. Maybe sometime in the future another person or persons will feel led to assume leadership and reactivate the club.
On June 23rd, 2007 a group of interested dulcimer players and potential dulcimer players meet at the DeKalb TX First United Methodist Church and organized The Wildwood Dulcimer Players. Unfortunately, this group had dwindled and no longer meets.
The club has hosted several wonderful dulcimer players coming through our area. We've been fortunate to have Steve Seifert, Neal & Coleen Walters, Debbie Porter, Sue Carpenter and David Schnaufer. Each has taught workshops, performed concerts and shared their talents with us. In the future, we hope to have more special concerts and workshops.
Play opportunities abound
When our club began in 1997, the nearest place to play the dulcimer in
an organized group setting was either in Dallas or Crockett. Today,
there's a multitude of clubs in the area with which to play. Contact
each of the following clubs for meeting details:
- The Northeast TX Dulcimer Chorus-Pittsburg, TX
1st Saturday of the month
contact Janice Marsh, 903-856-2507 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Northeast TX Dulcimer Chorus-Texarkana, TX
3rd Saturday of the month
contact Al Parsons, 903-832-2421 or email@example.com
- Circle of Friends-Longview, TX
3rd Saturday of the month
contact Sharon Roberts, 903-753-6438 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mineola Sweet Sounds Dulcimer Club-Mineola, TX
4th Saturday of the month
contact Charles Delker 903-882-4051 or email@example.com
As Jan's e-mail signature always says, "Keep strumming."