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1st Jul, 2022

Redditch launches Dulcimer World Congress gathering with magical evening

Redditch Editorial 17th Oct, 2015 Updated: 18th Oct, 2016

Tania Opland and Mike Freeman, Palace Theatre, Redditch

MAGICAL music played by two outstanding performers got the Dulcimer World Congress off to a stunning start at the Palace last Thursday (October 8).

The duo, from Alaska and Ireland, were here to officially launch the biannual event, brought to this country by Redditch resident and dulcimer player Sally Whytehead.

With Freeman playing rhythm, either on guitar or drums, multi-instrumentalist Opland was given full rein to show her expertise in both the hammer dulcimer and the smaller, violin shaped Appalachian version, as well as her virtuoso technique on the fiddle and flute.

The dulcimer is a global instrument and there was music from all around the world, the audience delighting in its beautiful, ringing bell-like sound.

The concert, performed in the Room Upstairs, had been opened by 13 year-old Grace Clifford and her teacher Lisa Warburton who enchanted all with their playing.

The concert closed with Opland and Freeman in fine form playing a nonsense Russian song – complete with audience participation – to the delight of all.

Speaking after the event, Ms Whytehead said: “Since getting a millennium grant, Redditch has become a regional focus for dulcimer players – there’s more players here than any other town in the UK! – so it’s quite poignant that the festival was launched here.”

The focus now switches to Malvern where a celebration of the instrument will be held over four days, from October 26-29.

Attracting over 200 artists from across the globe, tickets for the concerts, at St James School, Malvern, are available from the tourist information centre on 01684 892289.

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