Please forgive my gushing in this post. I've just returned from spending a week at the Swannanoa Gathering in North Carolina for their Dulcimer week, and I'm still on a high from the experience. A wonderful time was had. The workshops were top notch. The instructors were very good, and included Betty Smith, Thomasina, Larry Conger, Lois Hornbostel, Mark Nelson, and Phyllis Gaskins (who just blew me away!)Rick Thum, Bill Troxler, Bill Taylor, Sam Rizzetta, and Ken Kolodner. There was even a set of workshops for autoharp led by Mike Fenton.
The jam sessions in the evenings were terrific. I've never had the chance before to play with so many good musicians who were focussed on playing music and having fun and not on showing off or showing up the less experienced players. I also got the opportunity to meet some very talented musicians whom I'd never have met and played with otherwise. Among them was Cindy Ribbit. Look out for her. She's a terrific multi-insturmentalist and a real sweet woman as well.
Beyond the music, the level of caring and support that everyone showed for everyone else was astounding. It was a very special week. I'm planning on going back again next summer and recommend it highly to anyone who wants to grow as a musician and as a human.
Enough blathering for now. I'm gong to go off an play.