Guess who's having a birthday?!!!! My dear husband, Matthew, turns 26 today! Matthew is one of the most hard-working, dedicated, talented young man I've ever met. He has such a fun-loving outlook on life and loves to stay busy. He's a handsome, sweetheart husband and a wonderful daddy. Matthew is the love of my life and I'm so glad to be on this journey together.
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!
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."
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
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
Matthew and I are expecting our first baby, due October 20th, so The Dulcimer Guy will soon be known by another name...."Daddy"!
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.
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!
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!
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.
Every year, the First Baptist Church of Aiken holds a Christmas Eve Candlelight Service and this year, Matthew performed the special music for the evening.
We arrived early to set up and go over the order of service. Here Matthew is talking with Mr. Bennet, the music minister at First Baptist.
The church was decorated beautifully for the occasion...
Matthew was able to play a few instrumental pieces as well as background music for the Lord's Supper.
At the end of the service, everyone sang "Silent Night" while Matthew played the dulcimer. The music filled the old church beautifully as everyone's voices rang out the words to that lovely Christmas hymn.
Silent night, Holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin, mother and child
Holy infant, tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.
Silent night, Holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord at thy birth
Jesus, Lord at thy birth.
Silent night, Holy night
Shepherds quake, at the sight
Glories stream from heaven above
Heavenly, hosts sing Hallelujah.
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born.
Merry Christmas from The Dulcimer Guy!
Matthew and I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year! We pray that the Lord would bless your year to come and draw you ever closer to Himself this Christmas season! We are looking forward to a wonderful 2016!
On Sunday evening, Matthew performed two Christmas Candlelight church programs. The first one took place at Little Horse Creek Baptist Church in Graniteville, SC.
The folks at Little Horse Creek were very friendly and receptive and enjoyed Matthew's playing. They were very interested in how the instrument works and came up at the end to ask questions. They invited us to join them for their meal afterward and we had a good time of fellowship with them before we had to head over to our church for our annual Christmas Candlelight Service.
We arrived at our church, Family Fellowship Church, and had a good time of eating, talking and fellowship with our friends and family. After eating, the service began and Matthew once again put on a lovely program of Dulcimer music, guitar playing, singing, and sharing.
The services were beautiful and we had a wonderful time preparing for Christmas.
for winning the Holly Jolly Bingo Game! He picked the winning words and will be receiving a free "When I'm Happy and I Know It" CD in the mail!
Thanks to everyone who played our game! We had a lot of fun and hope you did too! A lot of you came very close to winning - you'll just have to enter next year and try again!
Okay folks, we're getting down to the wire! Anybody have a Bingo yet? If not, here's your list for today...
"Cookies"! Chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, clotchky, peanut butter, gingerbread, sugar, shortbread, snickerdoodle,...the list goes on and on. What's your favorite Christmas cookie? Leave a comment and let us know!
Day 10 and still going....here's the words for the day, everybody!
Oh Holy Night
Getting together with "family" is one of the highlights of the holiday season! Family and friends come in from far and wide for Thanksgiving and Christmas, making it a wonderful time to catch up with everyone. Nothing brings people together quite like the holidays!
Wow! We are at Day 9 and still no Bingo has been called! Well,...here's your list for today!
What are your favorite Christmas "memories"?