Yesterday I performed as part of the Yellow River Festival, which celebrates county history in the mid-1800s.
I don’t know if any of the music I played was written in that exact time period, and I don’t know if anyone in Marshall County knew any of those tunes at that time, but I did play some “old” music — here’s my set list:
Carolan’s Draught (O’Carolan) / Sleepers Awake (Bach)
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring (Bach)
Prelude in Em for lute (Bach)
Sir David Davidson of Cantray / Glenlivet (Scottish)
Staten Island / Julia Delany (Irish)
Banish Misfortune / Swallowtail Jig (Irish)
Easter Thursday (English)
Third Street Market (M. Prochaska)
Kittatinny Tunnel (M. Prochaska)
The Storm / One Wintry Night (J. R. Smith)
I am curious as to how much research other festival musicians did. Did anyone for sure play something either written or just known and played in this county during this time period? I confess historical research is not at all up my alley.
Besides music, there were demonstrations and exhibits and crafts and food — some historical, some modern — as well as a display of plans for a larger park in that area, which has been prone to flooding. I didn’t get a chance to look at the display; I wonder what flood prevention strategies the plan includes, or what the neighbors think of the plan. Some vacant commercial buildings have already been demolished.
Before the festival officially began, I got to do a short TV interview for a local station covering the festival. The reporter asked me what it’s like to learn the dulcimer, and I blabbered somewhat incoherently but enthusiastically. Then I got to play a tune, which was much easier.
Despite being ridiculously nervous and particularly worried about being out of place (unhistorical and all), I had a good time and played reasonably well, and no one ran away screaming. In fact, they’ve asked me to consider opening the festival next year.