Red Hill Music Festival Brings Major Talent to Area.
By Jerry Pacholski

“This is ridiculous! To charge $20 for something like this!” said Steve Scott, a Newton, Il. musician who was one of 125 students at the fifth annual Red Hill Music Festival, held Saturday, 10/09/10 . “ I said it last year and say it again this year. You are not charging enough for major talent like this! The people who go to these music festivals will turn around in the next month and pay four or five times that amount at the Gateway Festival in Belleville or the Dulcimer Chautauqua in New Harmony. And they still won’t find a better lineup of teachers than this.”

The Festival, which is gaining a national reputation, attracted music lovers from Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Wisconsin and Minnesota, as well as all parts of Illinois. Teachers like Rick Thum, Tull Glazener, Guy George, Molly McCormack, Jon Hall, Mike Anderson and Danny Sheperd are all Midwesterners but each has a wide following of students who will travel to study with them. They teach all over the US and many of them are making preparations for festivals as far as Key West, Denver, the Southern and Northeast States. Doug Hawf, of Mt Carmel, Ill is a local talent but he impressed the visitors from out of state with his teaching ability.

Crystal Shafer, president of the Red Hill Dulcimer Society, which hosted the event explained that the group is a non-profit entity. “We do this to pay back the people who have supported us, attract music lovers to this area, and for the enjoyment our group gets from music. Expenses are rising, but all we hope for is to cover the costs of the festival, like the teacher’s salaries, and to give us seed money to fund the next festival. But, we must be putting out a quality product if the consumers want to pay more for it.”

The Sumner United Methodist Church and the Sumner Congregational Christian Church offered their facilities for use as class rooms to those who studied guitar, banjo, ukulele, hammered dulcimer, Irish whistle, steel drum, jaw-harp, nose flute, lap dulcimer and fiddle. Anderson and Sheperd offered special classes in how to teach music to children. Classes were offered to beginners as well as more experienced players. Although many classes were small with 4-5 students, McCormack’s beginner class had 20 students and Glazener’s classes for experienced players had almost 30.

The instructors were very enthusiastic in their praise of the event. “You’ve hit a home run” said Jon Hall who taught guitar, banjo and mandolin classes. Guy George, veteran of hundreds of festivals, suggested, “You ought to make this a week long gig. You people are so nice.” Guy had even brought his wife, Sharrie, just to meet the club. She also accompanied him on guitar and vocals while he performed. Rick Thum told the audience that he considered it an honor to be part of this festival and especially to be invited back for a second year. In addition to being an accomplished performer and teacher, Thum is a master builder of the hammered dulcimer. He had driven to Sumner in his 1935 Ford Panel Wagon, which he had personally hand restored. He parked the vehicle in front of the Methodist church and many local antique auto aficionados slowed down in the street or parked just to admire the beautiful green auto.

The day’s activity ended with the concert which opened with the Red Hill club performing and closed with the combined instructors doing a medley of old favorites. The performance, which was offered, free of charge, to the public, filled the church sanctuary. Each instructor used the stage to showcase their talents and the music ranged from Calypso to folk to gospel. Mike Anderson got the whole crowd laughing and singing along while he performed the nursery rhyme “Itsy-bitsy Spider.” The performance closed to a standing ovation.

“One man told me the nicest thing as he was leaving” said club member Joan Brian. “You only made one mistake. It ended too soon.”

Dulcimer Festival Information
October 9, 2010
5th Festival

RICK THUM web site
GUY GEORGE web site

Danny Shepherd- Mountain Dulcimer for Children web site
Songbird Dulcimers web site
Sharon Weber Townsend, TN
Kayla Barry

Festival Schedule


9:00-10:15 A.M
Tull Glazener- Intermediate Lap
Rick Thum- Hammered Dulcimer
Molly McCormack- Beginning Lap
Guy George- Penny Whistle
Mike Anderson- Songs for Kids
Jon Hall- Old Time Banjo

10:30-11:45 A.M.
Tull Glazener- Intermediate Lap (cont.)
Rick Thum- Hammered Dulcimer (cont.)
Molly McCormack- Beginning Lap (cont.)
Guy George- Hammered Dulcimer
Mike Anderson- Fun with pocket instruments
Jon Hall- Beginning Mandolin !!!!!!

11:45—1:15 P.M. Lunch
Church Basement Provided by
United Methodist Youth
“Free Will Donation”

1:30-3:00 P.M.
Tull Glazener- Lap (-----)
Rick Thum- Hammer (cont.)
Molly McCormack- Hammered Dulcimer
Guy George- Steel Drum
Mike Anderson- Lap Essential Skills Boot Camp
Jon Hall- Guitar
Doug Hawf- Beginning Fiddle

Red Hill Dulcimer Club Concert
3:40 P.M.

Public Concert By Instructors
4:00 P.M.