Traditional Music Festival

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Annual event feels more like reunion

By Kelly Cantrall

For many attendees, the annual Traditional Music Festival is not just a chance to improve one’s skills, but it serves as a yearly reunion as well, Martha Richard said.


“It’s kind of like inviting people to a party,” said Richard, a member of the Heartland Dulcimer Club.

The club hosted its annual festival this weekend, offering instruction and vendors selling instruments and other items. Classes were offered on a variety of instruments, including harps, irish drums and ukeleles.

This is the 19th year for the festival, which draws attendees from multiple states, Club President Pamela Story said.

Story said this year the club focused on increasing the participation at the festival, through increasing advertising and recruiting patrons at other festivals. Another goal was to bring more young people to traditional music “to keep it alive,” Story said.

This year’s festival attracted about 100 people.

Lea Vanderboom bought her first dulcimer in 1980, but has been seriously playing the instrument for about 10 years. The Leitchfield resident began playing the whistle a couple years ago, and was taking a class on that instrument Saturday.

“There’s so many things you can learn here,” she said.

Vanderboom said it’s the sound of the stringed instrument that attracts her to the festival and its music.

Janet Cowen likes the simplicity of the instruments. Cowen, of Lexington, was attending the festival for the first time, as other friends are “always complimentary of the teachers and the classes,” she said.

After her retirement, Cowen wanted a new activity to occupy her time and was eager to do that with music. These instruments seemed accessible.

“Number one, these instruments are relatively easy to play and you can make it as simple or complicated as you want,” she said.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at 270-505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.