The Dulcimer guy

Official website of Matthew Dickerson 2012 National Hammer Dulcimer Champion.

Matthew Dickerson is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and National Champion on the hammered dulcimer.  His record and performances offer a delightful compilation of crowd favorites ranging from traditional, to classical, to 100% original.

Recap of the Summer

Hello everyone!  I was looking back and couldn't believe that my last post was from February!  Talk about falling off the face of the earth, huh?  So much has happened this past summer so I thought I'd do a quick recap....

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In June, Matthew decided it was time to check out Willie's Pickin' Parlor here in Columbia, SC.  We've been told about it since he moved down here and everyone said he'd love it, which we did!  Willie arranged a time slot for him to play and the crowd loved him!  Willie is a wealth of information, having been in the music business for decades, so he was a wonderful local source to get in contact with.  If you're ever in the area looking for a fun evening filled with good music, you've got to check out Willie's Pickin' Parlor.

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July found us in Evart, MI for the annual ODPC Evart Funfest!  We again camped on the grounds, this time with our little fella, who although had a cold, slept right through the nightly jams!  Matthew was able to teach several workshops and enjoyed talking and interacting with his attendees.  He also had a Saturday evening performance where he kept the audience captivated with his music (as well as laughing at his Kermit the Frog impression while singing and playing "The Rainbow Connection")!

Ben loves music (following in his Daddy's footsteps) and enjoyed listening to the daytime jams.  One of the vendors took a liking to him and gave him with a beautiful, handmade pillow which he proudly carried around with him the rest of the day!  What a sweet gift from a new friend!

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Matthew jamming out a tune with the Squirrel's Nest!  We all thoroughly enjoy their liveliness!

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And....the best part of the summer......

At the beginning of August we found out some exciting news!  Ben is gonna be a Big Brother!  We are expecting again, due around March 22nd!  We couldn't be more excited and thrilled at this new little life the Lord has given us!  Ben is a wonderful little fella and I'm sure he'll make a great big brother.

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Our local Columbia farmer's market, Soda City Market, has been booming, so since the beginning of September Matthew has been back at playing on the street.  It always amazes us at the crowd it attracts.  Even those who wouldn't normally be interested in the particular genre, stop by to listen and comment just because it's such a different and unique instrument.

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Matthew teaching Ben his "trade"!  Like I said earlier, Ben loves music and his daddy and I couldn't be more thrilled!  My parents are even getting him his own toy xylophone for his birthday so he can hammer like daddy!  

 

To finish off our summer, Matthew just bought himself a cajon drum as well as hi hat symbols to add to his musical instruments.  He's been having fun trying to play guitar while using both new instruments through pedals, and I've been having fun listening to him!  It's a little like patting your head while rubbing your tummy; it works all sides of your brain at the same time, but I have no doubt that he will get it in no time flat!  

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Well, that was a quick, little recap of our summer.  What has your summer looked like?

The Prime Timer's Valentine Banquet

Matthew put on a Valentine Dinner performance this past Friday night.  It was called the  Prime Timer' Valentine Banquet and it was held at the Midland Valley Community Church of the Nazarene.  He played some beautiful pieces for them while they finished up their dinner, and explained what a hammered dulcimer is.  Some of them had never heard one before.  They were a fun bunch to perform for, asking Matthew questions along the way.

We enjoyed talking with everyone afterwards as they continued to ask some more questions about the dulcimer and how Matthew got started.  Our little fella, Ben, was a huge hit with them all, as he smiled at them while they talked to him.  (He enjoyed listening to Daddy's music too, and bounced up and down on my lap while Matthew played!) Fun Valentine memories!

Kids Presentation

Last night, Matthew put on a "mini" performance for the kids group at a local church.  Before he unpacked his dulcimer from its case, he asked if any of the kids knew what was in there.  He got a lot of "unique" answers: a piano, a harp, a table, etc!  He pulled it out and explained what it was, and as he started to play it, it was neat to see the amazement in the kid's eyes! 

I enjoyed listening along with the kids as he played songs like "Jesus Loves Me" and "Do-Re-Mi" .  You could feel the enthusiasm in the room as everyone performed the moves to the song "Father Abraham"!  Eventually, Matthew wound down the evening with a beautiful rendition of "Amazing Grace".  It's nice to see that the younger generation can enjoy fun music on such a beautiful instrument.  As we packed up to leave, he got a lot of requests by the kids for selfie pictures, which tickled our funny bones.  It was a fun evening, well spent!

(Sorry for the blurry photos!  I took them while rocking Benjamin back and forth!)

Photo Shoot...

Recently, Matthew and I loaded up his dulcimer and went to Hopelands Gardens here in Aiken, SC to snap some new photos for The Dulcimer Guy.  

Matthew and I got married in Hopelands Gardens so it always holds special memories when we stop in there.  It's a beautiful park/arboretum right in the heart of Aiken.

He carried the dulcimer while I toted around the camera.  I've tried carrying his large dulcimer on different occasions and it's heavier than it looks.  It's awkward shape weighs in at about 30 lbs., but Matthew makes carrying it look easy.  He totes it all around festivals and jams that we attend and thinks nothing of it!

My handsome fella!  He's my favorite subject to take pictures of! ;-)

We ran into some friends at the Gardens that we haven't seen in a very long time, so we were able to chat and catch up with them.  Matthew was able to play a sampler song for them, since the wife hadn't heard what a dulcimer sounds like before.

We had a lovely evening walking around the grounds and ended up with some very nice pictures out of the day.  The one below is one of my favorites!

Introducing Baby!

The Dulcimer Guy now goes by another name....Daddy!  We would like to introduce you all to our little bundle of joy!

Benjamin James Dickerson

was born on October 21st, 2016 at 4:23 p.m!

He weighed 7 lbs. 3.8 oz, and was 20 1/2 inches long.

 "Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward."

Psalm 127:3

The Dulcimer Guy is now on TheKnot.com!!!

The Knot | TheKnot.com

We are pleased to announce that Matthew is now a featured vendor on TheKnot.com!  It's the premier wedding website with information on everything from how to set up your own wedding website, manage RSVP's and gift lists, finding the perfect venue or performer for your wedding; pretty much everything they can do to help make your wedding perfect.  

You can click on this link to see his page:  https://www.theknot.com/marketplace/national-dulcimer-champion-matthew-dickerson-aiken-sc-967802

A New Project!

Matthew has recently been hired to compose a song for a special event, so he has been busy at work in the studio.  It always amazes me to hear him come up with a new song out of nowhere, pull it together by adding this bridge or that extra instrument into the mix, and then to hear the final outcome!  True talent!  It just makes me smile.

I was able to "help" him in the studio last night by running the recording set up.  He's a joy to work with.  And of course, popcorn and apple juice make any studio recording better, right?!!!  Stay tuned to hear more about this project in the near upcoming future!

The Scott/Sprankle Wedding

This past Saturday, Matthew had the privilege of playing the music for the wedding ceremony of Josh Scott and Kristin Sprankle!  It was held at The Mitchell House & Gardens in Lexington, SC; a beautiful old home with a lovely backyard perfect for weddings and special events!

It was a beautiful evening with a sweet ceremony.  Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Joshua Scott and may the Lord richly bless your marriage!

Toe-Tapping Fun - The Odell Weeks Performance

Last night, Matthew had the opportunity to perform at the Odell Weeks Recreation Center here in Aiken, along with the Savannah River String Band!

Vicki Gibboney, the "leader" of the band, had asked Matthew to perform a few songs solo as the featured performer and then join in with their band for the last few songs.  This was Matthew's first official performance in Aiken (where we live).  Most of his events are in the surrounding cities: Columbia, Charleston, or Augusta.  So it was a special treat to have him perform right here in my hometown!

(Just as a side note, Vicki had been my sister's hammered dulcimer teacher years ago, so it was nice to be able to catch back up with her and hear her group perform again!)

The evening started out with some great toe-tapping jigs and reels, with a few waltzes thrown in.  ( A few brave couples even got up to dance!)  They all did a great job of keeping the audience entertained and eager for the next song.

Although the original plan had been to hold the event outside, due to weather, it was brought inside.  But it was still a great turnout!  We are so thankful to everyone who showed up to enjoy the evening with us!

Back from Evart, MI

Last week was the annual ODPC (Original Dulcimer Player's Club) Funfest held in Evart, Michigan.  The Funfest has been going on for 44 years and is the largest dulcimer gathering in the world!  It's held at the Osceola County Fairgrounds each year.  Matthew has been going to it for about 6 years now, but this was my first time.  He has been telling me all about it from the start of our courtship, so it was nice to finally make the trip up there together to enjoy the festivities!  Evart hosts impromptu jam sessions, daily workshops, several fully stocked vendor halls, and a nightly performance.

The official Funfest starts on Thursday and goes through Saturday, but campers start showing up a month and a half in advance to hang out with their music buddies, see the surrounding area, and simply have fun jamming together!

 

 

Matthew and I showed up on Wednesday evening with enough time to quickly set up our tent and then go join the "Squirrel's Nest".  The "Squirrel's Nest is a jam session that started about 6 years ago when Matthew first started coming.  There are several long time members that jam, but they are quick to welcome in newbies and join them in on the fun!  They were all glad to see Matthew once again and welcomed me in like they've known me for years!  The "squirrels" hold not only the jam, but also skits and activities and shared meals.  They are one of the most popular and larger jam sessions at Evart, and they get many onlookers and listeners because of it.  I soon found out that the "squirrels" only know one speed: fast!  They kept a smile on my face the entire time!

 

 

 

We jammed late into the evening with them and finally hit the sack around midnight, but many of the jams continued into the morning.

 

 

 

 

Thursday morning was the official start and with it started the workshops.  All of the workshops were held in the fairgrounds many barns.  Matthew taught a workshop at 12:30 entitled "Weaving Rhythmic Patterns into Your Melodies" and then taught another workshop at 2:00 teaching students how to play his most popular tune, "The Pirate's Jig".  We were estimating about 15 students per class, but were pleasantly surprised to count close to 40 students in each workshop!  We didn't have quite enough handouts for the amount of students, so I made a few visits to the office/headquarter's printer machine!

 

 

Matthew did an amazing job teaching his workshops.  I enjoy sitting back and watching him play, teach, and convey his methods to the students.  It's such a blessing to be able to be on this musical journey with him!  I love watching him use the gift that God has given him with music!

As the afternoon progressed, the ODPC staff set to work putting up the stage for that night's performances.  Matthew was scheduled to perform that evening, with the opportunity to close out the show that night.

They had several terrific performers lined up to play.  Many of them travel in from all over the country for this event!  Some of the attendees even travel from states such as California, Alaska and Florida, and places like England and South Africa!

When Matthew took the stage, he put on a great performance!  His song list for that evening included "The Pirate Jig", "Sheebeg Sheemore", "The Cumberland Dance", and "Chariot's of Fire".  As he readied to play his last song for the evening, he told the audience that he had just written this one.  However...it was nameless!  So he asked the audience to listen to the song, and if they had any name ideas, they could make their way down to the CD sales table where I was waiting with pens and paper.  They could then write down the name idea, leave their contact information, and the winning name that Matthew liked the most would receive a free CD!  Needless to say, as his performance came to a close, and everyone exited the bleachers, the line started with people eager to share their names!  We had a ton of fun meeting people and talking with them.

Before the evening came to a close, Matthew and I once again headed over the to "Squirrel's Nest" to join in on their jam.  Although the jam was well underway when we arrived, they were quick to pull Matthew into the middle of their circle.  They had arranged for three other National Hammered Dulcimer Champions to be there and play in on their jam.  They even arranged for them all to put on a mini performances by playing a few tunes together.  Scott Freeman is the 1999 champion, Matthew is the 2012 champion, Katie Moritz is the 2013 champion, and Tina Gugeler is the 2015 champion.  All of them are wonderful musicians and they did a great job of entertaining the listeners with their beautiful styles of playing.

Scott Freeman, 1999 Champion

Scott Freeman, 1999 Champion

 

As we once again headed to bed around midnight, different jam sessions around the fairgrounds could be heard playing well into the morning.  Matthew and I had to head out early the next morning (Friday) to be heading home as we had two more events that were going on in South Carolina on Saturday.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

We missed not being able to be a part of the whole festival, but hopefully next year we'll be able to stay for weekend!  They are an amazing bunch of musicians up there and they are truly more than just friends; they are one big, musical family!

On our way home the next day, Matthew and I had a fun time reading through the list of name ideas that people had entered!  All of them were very good and original, but Matthew had a definite favorite: "Mosquito on the Stings".  Congratulations, Gail Miloch, on coming up with the winning name!  Below is a little sample of the song to give you a better idea of why this name fit perfectly!

Pictures from the Pocono Fest!

Matthew and I just got back from our trip up to Pocono, Pennsylvania for the Pocono Winter Dulcimer Fest.  (The winter fest got postponed due to bad weather, so they pushed the date back to April and called it the Spring Out Of Winter Dulcimer Fest!)  

On our way up, we stopped in at Washington, D.C for the day to tour the monuments and see the sights.

One of our favorite places we were able to visit was the U.S. National Arboretum.  Everything was well taken care of and beautiful.  The azaleas were in full bloom too, which made for a nice walk. 

After spending one more day visiting with family in the area, Matthew and I headed on up to the Pocono area, where we met our wonderful hostess who put us up for the festival!  (We greatly appreciate you, Joanne, for letting us stay at your place.)

Saturday started with workshops.  Matthew was teaching 3 back to back Master Classes that built upon each other that were titled, "Weave Rhythmic Patterns into your Melodies".  He had a good class of interested and skilled players.  I had never heard him teach a workshop before, so I enjoyed sitting in on his class.

Here he is showing a technique...

Later on that evening, there was a concert open to the public.  Matthew was one of the performers, along with Bill Collins (mountain dulcimer), Karen Ashbrook & Paul Oorts (hammered dulcimer), & Lois Hornbostel & Ehukai Teves (mountain dulcimer).  Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of Matthew up on stage, but he played a lot of crowd pleasers off of his cd and put on a good show!

We had a wonderful weekend, met a lot of new folks, and we both had a great time at the fest.

Expanding His Repertoire!

So, how has 2016 been going for all of you?  It's hard to believe it's already February.

The past few days have found Matthew working on a new song!  Yeah!  He's currently learning and arranging Bach's Cello Suite No. 1 Prelude.  Keep your ears open for new songs coming up!

Postponed - Pocono Dulcimer Fest

Well, right before we were leaving to head up to Pennsylvania for the Pocono Winter Dulcimer Fest, we received a call saying that is was going to have to be postponed due to bad weather up North.  Thankfully we were not on the road yet!  The Festival has been postponed until April 22nd-23rd.  So, for those of you who will be attending, we'll see you there in the Spring!

Gearing Up for Pocono Dulcimer Fest

The Pocono Winter Dulcimer Fest in Pennsylvania is coming up soon!  Matthew will be teaching the Hammered Dulcimer Master Classes, as well as being one of the performers at the Fest, so he has spent this past month putting together his workshops.  His three-part workshop is entitled "Weave Rhythmic Patterns into Your Melodies".

I'm excited because this will be my first time seeing him teach a workshop and perform at a Festival!

Here he is in the living room playing some of the techniques he will be teaching.

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