8th Red Hill Music Festival Brings Fun and Vistors to South East Illinois.
By Jerry Pacholski

Rachel Gard, executive director of the Lawrence Co Chamber of Commerce, welcomed people from as far as Ohio, Tennessee, Missouri and California, who attended the concert at the Red Hill Music Festival, held Saturday at the United Methodist Church in Sumner. “We want to thank the Red Hill Dulcimer Society who work so hard to do this for our area. This is just a wonderful event.”

The eight annual festival began at 9:00 that morning as over 75 students had the opportunity to take lessons from nationally known instructors in acoustic music. The concert, which began at 3:45, culminated the event featuring those instructors, and listeners enjoyed classic folk, bluegrass and Celtic tunes, big band sounds and old time gospel played on guitar, hammered dulcimer, banjo, ukulele, fiddle and lap dulcimer.

Doug Hawf and daughter, Rachel, from Mt. Carmel, did duets on guitar and fiddle. Tull Glazener, Indianapolis, showed the versatility of the mountain dulcimer as he performed songs like “Misty” and “Both Sides Now.” Hammered dulcimer virtuoso Pam Bowman picked up every ones’ spirits with “Sleigh Ride” and “Stars and Stripes Forever.” Conrad Shiba, a college professor who has been a musician for forty-five years, showed his skill on the ukulele, guitar and banjo. Aubrey Atwater wowed the audience by clog dancing while playing the banjo. The nationally known folk singer from Rhode Island also sang traditional folk songs and sea chanties while playing the dulcimer and guitar. All six came back on stage to close the show with “I’ll Fly Away” and “Spotted Pony.”

Dulcimer Society president Beth Leggitt commented on the day’s activities, “Tull and Doug have been part of the festival from the beginning. They both do so much for us. Tull teaches all over the US and is one of the very best teachers in dulcimer music. Doug teaches such a wide variety of instruments and specializes in helping different instruments get together in a jam. People really need to come down to Allendale, Illinois next Saturday when Doug sponsors the Bluegrass In the Park festival, to hear great bluegrass.” “This year, the club decided to spread things out by bringing in new teachers. We got some of the best from around the country. I’d taken classes from Pam Bowman, who’s from Cadillac, Michigan at the Evart Fun Fest and she was at the top of my list for hammered dulcimer classes. Conrad is from Danville, Ky and had twenty students this morning for beginner ukulele class. He was a member of the famous Raggedy Robin String Band and makes playing the uke, guitar or banjo seem so easy. Aubrey and her husband Elwood, make up the Atwater-Donnelly group and are legends in the folk community. She has learned music directly from great performers like Jean Ritchie, Lily Ledford and Thomasina Levy. She brings not only great talent and enthusiasm, but a wealth of music lore, to her performances and classes. We are proud to have teachers like these with us here.”

The Dulcimer Society is a non-profit organization who use their proceeds to sponsor the fair. It is their way of thanking the community for their support during the year. They have made appearances at numerous schools, historical societies, nursing homes, churches and community events. “We have so many people to thank” added club member Joan Brian. “The United Methodist and Congregational Churches who let us use their class rooms, Nick, our sound man, the Methodist Youth who catered lunch, WAKO, WVUT and the Press and Record and other media who helped us with publicity. With out their help, we couldn’t pull this off. And, I do want to thank Pam Bowman who played “Ghost Riders in the Sky” just for me. Its been a favorite of mine for years.”

The club will be reviewing evaluation forms and begin planning for next year’s festival immeadiately. For further information, please call Jerry Pacholski at(618)928-1507.