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10/7/19 - The crazy pace of 2019 continues (and we're ok with that)!
June and July were filled with performances (like this one in Evart, Michigan) and a wonderful trip to Colorado to visit friends, pick up the new heirloom dulcimer, play a show, and shoot a killer music video! This new dulcimer is a one-of-a-kind gem and it just looks like there's fire caught inside it! The front and several other pieces are all the family walnut!
August included trips to Mississippi/Tennessee (Doug accompanied Ted), Dallas Texas to purchase a new-to-us minivan, and then we rolled right into September with Sarah taking a personal trip to Yellowstone then flying home and taking off with the family for the northeast states for a 2 week tour with Ted. We played at churches, a speak-easy style restaurant, and even a cemetery! (honesty it was very lively!) As soon as we returned it was time for more shows with Ted and several days of rehearsing new music for his next album. We're both headed back into the studio with him at the end of October so stay tuned!
5/14/19 - Wow have the last two months been a whirlwind of fun! In March we hosted Ted Yoder at our church for an incredible concert featuring music from his upcoming album "Feels Like Home" (to be released this summer). A few days later we went to Chicago to record a top secret song for the album. Ironically the studio day marked the one year anniversary of Sarah's father passing away - it was a breathtaking redemption to have time in the studio on the instrument that he helped us get on a day that could have otherwise been awful! Donna (Ted's wife) captured these great images, one with a rainbow!
We had a ton of fun getting to know Ted's friend and sound engineer Nate Butler (Nimble Wit Productions). Then we had even more fun the following month going back so that Doug could record percussion with double-bass extraordinaire Ranaan Meyer (Time for Three). The two of them even played live on Facebook for Ted's fans!
We are booking as many performances as possible and hoping to meet many new precious people along the way. Just a couple weeks ago we came head-to-head with a decision we knew was coming: Doug's schedule started conflicting with performances and he would be taking a new position that required no time off for several weeks - we'd either have to decline performance opportunities or give up the job...he gave up the job and resigned on the 12th! While he will likely be working part-time somewhere that's more flexible with hours, we plan to prioritize our time around the music from now on. This is a huge leap of faith and we hope you'll join us as we play more around the area and plan some long-distance tours - Contact us to schedule a house concert or recommend a venue!
2/22/19 - Well, we ended 2018 and started 2019 with a flash and a bang! Sarah took some walnut down to Master Works in October (it was cut down about 40 years ago by her dad and saved in a barn) and it is gorgeous wood good enough for an instrument - so hammered dulcimer #2 has been ordered!! It will be a family heirloom instrument to pass down. We're having custom inlays and soundholes designed around a Yellowstone theme because it's a special place for the family. Here's some design photos and the wood we're using:
December was busy with Christmas performances and Doug debuted his new skills: songwriting / singing & playing guitar! We haven't officially added that to our line up yet but it will pop up more often in 2019. He's got some gorgeous music that really showcases some real-life topics.
So far 2019 has been a blast with a crazy pace. Doug was asked by our near-idol-status favorite musician and friend Ted Yoder to add percussion to his next album which is in the process of being recorded - eeeck!! If you haven't yet, go check out what Ted is doing by joining his private group. This will also give you virtual backstage access to Doug's involvement in the album as well. Click here to see a short teaser from one of Ted's recent visits with Doug.
As if that's not enough, Sarah's about to launch a new service: hammer rental for hammered dulcimer players! (Let's see who's really reading this - it hasn't been publicly announced yet!) When Sarah started playing in 2017 the only way to try different types of hammers was to rely on a local community of players or drive hours to a big festival. Now we're hoping to put hammers in players' hands in the comfort of their home through a mail-service rental program! Watch for a new web page coming VERY SOON!
10/10/18 - Wow, seven months since we've given an update here. Honestly, there's been so much going on that this is the first chance we've had! April and May were filled with life changes after Sarah's dad passed away, but also lots of fun with friends and family at concerts, meeting more hammered dulcimer players, and going to arguably the hottest Indy 500 on record. Sarah submitted a video to the Hit Like a Girl contest in April and tied for champion in the over-18 concert category. The summer months included lots of practice time for the National Hammer Dulcimer Championship, a few in-person lessons, and concerts at places like the Rhythm! Discovery Center downtown Indianapolis and an appearance at the Eagle Creek Folk Festival. Sarah went to Michigan City IN for a gorgeous art walk street performance and then we packed up the family and went to Winfield KS for the Walnut Valley Festival for the championship. A fun experience and a top five finish after 14 months of playing the hammered dulcimer was quite satisfying (but enough motivation to aim for a return in the future!) - Read the full contest story on Sarah's blog. As if that wasn't enough, Sarah returned to coordinate a 4-day ministry training conference that hosted 70 people from at least 8 states...now we're taking a breather and turning towards the Christmas season and setting our sights on our first recording!