10th Red Hill Music Festival, Still Fun and Friendship
By Jerry Pacholski

“I never thought this festival would last. These things pop-up and go away,” said Tull Glazener, at the 10th Annual Red Hill Music Festival, held Saturday, 10/10/15 in Sumner. “I was invited to teach and figured it was a one shot deal. And, here we are, ten years later.”

Over 75 music lovers came from as far as Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan and Peoria, Illinois to take music lessons in ukulele, mountain dulcimer, Irish whistle, hammered dulcimer and percussion, as well as enjoy a concert by the instructors, held in the United Methodist Church.

What keeps a nationally recognized instructor and performer like Glazener, of Indianapolis, coming back to a small festival like this one? “It’s the food!” he exclaimed. Glazener was referring to the carry in dinner the club traditionally offers on the Friday before the event. “No other festival feeds the instructors, especially good food like this,” he added. Dottie Shepherd, instructor from Hopkinsville, Ky, agreed. “You people are so sweet! You are the only club that helps the vendors carry things in and set up our displays.”

The Red Hill Dulcimer Society, sponsors of the event, prides itself on the hospitality that they provide. “I’ve said it before,” said Chris Shafer, club president, “Sumner people are the friendliest folks around. We get so many compliments and, especially, students appreciate the lunch provided by the Methodist Youth.”

Students ranged in age from senior citizens to six year olds. Talent levels ran from experienced players to raw beginners. Although she has instructed at numerous other music festival, Jackie Armstrong, of New Albany, Indiana, taught mountain dulcimer for her first time at Red Hill. “I was amazed at how many absolute beginners came to my classes. Most of the time, students have some experience, but you have attracted a lot of people who have just discovered the instrument. What a pleasure to be able to help carry on this legacy by helping beginners. I may have to adjust my lesson plans!”

But the Dulcimer Society goes through the effort to stage the festival and its Friday night supper and jam session for more than just the good music. “It’s the friends you make” according to Brenda Dickirson , one of the founding members of the club. “You meet people at these events, and ten years later, they’re still your friends!” The common thread among attendees is that each one is a music lover. “This was the first festival I’ve ever attended,” added Judi Schoffstall, Lawrenceville. “I observed courtesy and fellowship. And on Friday, a bountiful meal and smiles and a jam session, just because we were all there.”

In the afternoon, the instructors put on a free concert to which the community is invited. For some, it may be their first chance to hear instruments like the hammered dulcimer, especially at the hands of master player like Pam Bowman who came from Michigan to teach. She enlivened the audience with a rousing version of “Stars and Stripes Forever.” “We love Pam. She did one of my favorite old Methodist hymns “Ghost Riders in the Sky!” said Joan Brian. “This is her fourth year here and I hope she’ll be back next time. "

At the concert, the group spokesman thank the United Methodist and Congregational Churches, the Daily Record, Sumner Press, Sun-Commercial, Olney Daily Mail, WAKO, WVUT and the other media who have supported the event and made it a success. Special thanks was given to Brad Schilt, former club president who came up with the idea of a festival and who remains a strong supporter.

The club will begin planning for Number Eleven at its next weekly meeting.