[originally posted in 2006 on www.Memphis-Dulcimer.com , copied and reposted here on 4/11/2009]
The Memphis Dulcimer Gathering with Larry Conger was inspiring!
For the fifth consecutive year, the MDGwLC was held at the Agricenter
International in Memphis, Tennessee, during the Dr. Martin Luther King,
Jr., holiday weekend. Larry graciously traveled from Paris,
Tennessee, to provide excellent instruction on how to flat pick the
mountain dulcimer and play his sweet, arpeggio-chord style, music.
Even though our weekend began on Friday the 13th (!), all who attended
Larry’s “Ol’ Time Favorites for the Mountain Dulcimer” workshop were
fortunate to be there. Larry’s instruction helped
participants gain confidence in singing and playing back-up chords on
the mounain dulcimer. He taught us to sing along while playing
the mountain dulcimer to add variety in performances and to entertain
at gatherings with family and friends.
During one of two wonderful workshops on Saturday, Larry provided
instruction on the versatility of the mountain dulcimer. Having
students branch out away from DAD, Larry’s lesson provided direct
instruction for retuning the mountain dulcimer. Students played
new and familiar tunes out of their key of D “comfort zone.”
A truly inspiring workshop Saturday afternoon helped every participant
walk away humming a new tune — literally. Larry used his
original tune “September on the Mississippi” (which he happened to
write in Memphis after he attended a workshop during one of the early
days of the old Memphis Dulcimer Festival), and gave a step by step
explanation of how he composed his tune. This workshop provided
an opportunity to “work” in a cooperative group to compose tunes.
After the group work, Larry provided an opportunity for groups to
perform their original tunes — but he was kind enough to perform FOR
groups who preferred that.
All three workshops with Larry allowed the intermediate-to-advanced
player to be challenged and improve skills and provided inspiration to
begin composing and performing.
During the house concert on January 14th, Larry performed his beautiful music in a warm and
inviting manner. The living room was packed with an audience who
was embraced by Larry’s love of the mountain dulcimer, the Memphis
Dulcimer Gathering, the friends in attendance — and his fiance,
Elaine! Larry and Elaine entertained everyone with their vocal
and instrumental duets. The couple performed several numbers
accompanying each other either vocally or with the piano, guitar and
mountain dulcimer. It was truly a wonderfully entertaining
The Memphis Dulcimer Gathering with Larry Conger provided a great
weekend. We appreciate everyone who traveled to be here for the
event, and we missed those who could not join us this year.
look forward to next year’s winter gathering, and hope that you will
mark the date on your calendar now! Always the Friday and Saturday of the Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr., weekend in Memphis — that’s easy to remember! Next
year’s event will be held January 12-13, 2007. We look forward to hearing you . . .
Strummin’ in Memphis!
[4/11/09: edited time/date stamp to move entry to a sensible chronological order in this blog]