About Our Club
The Big Country Autoharp and Dulcimer Club meets each month in Abilene, Texas. Anywhere from a dozen to twenty 'harpers, dulcimer players & friends get together at Central Baptist Church on the first Thursday of each month. After reviewing the schedule for the next month, we usually learn some new songs, play a little, and work on the music for upcoming events. On Tuesday evenings at 7pm, we join other acoustic instruments in the Fellowship Hall for a casual jam session. Two days a month we also hold beginner lessons to help those who want to learn.
In November 2009, Carlene Wood and Carolyn Gilbert offically started the Big Country Autoharp & Dulicmer Club. Like most old-time music fans, Carlene and Carolyn enjoy travelling to music festivals all over the country, attending workshops and jamming with like-minded musicians. Since West Texas is a big place, they wanted a local home base where they could play, learn, and attract new people to the sound. "There just wasn't anything like this in our area," says Carlene.
In Novemeber 2010, we hosted our first workshop, and it was a resounding success. About a dozen Big Country dulcimer players joined recording artist Margaret Wright for two days of amazing lessons & fun. Since then, the Wrights have been back several times! Karen Daniels, national autoharp champion, an her husband Chuck have also found time in their busy schedule to visit our club twice for workshops and autoharp repair. In January 2011, autoharp hall of famer Charles Whitmer presented beginner and intermediate workshops.
We hope to continue hosting workshops and playing for folk/old-time music events in the Big Country.
Both the dulcimer and autoharp are easy to learn, even if you have no previous musical background. Many players picked up the instruments later in life, after having aquired a dulcimer or autoharp from yard sales or flea markets. Almost immediately, beginners can strum along with basic songs and join in the jams. It doesn't take long for most folks to learn to pick out melodies, and start working on more advanced techniques.
About the Club
Most club members play by ear, and many also are skilled at reading the'tablature' specific to 'harps and dulcimers. They're always ready help beginners learn the basics, and the tips and tricks of playing with a group. We meet once a month to learn new songs, practice together, and take care of 'business.' We also play at nursing homes and community events throughout the year (see the Calendar or Previous Events pages). Our members also travel to festivals near and far to learn and have fun like-minded musicians. Overall, we're an active bunch!
Beginners are always welcome! The atmosphere at club meetings & jams is easy-going and relaxed. If you're just starting out, or if you're considering getting an instrument, stop by and join the fun!