The 1st Annual Bowed Psaltery Symphony

There are a lot of wonderful festivals and folk music events in this country (except where I live) but from my perspective, never enough and there will probably never be too many. Tish and Greg Westman are adding another one this year and hoping to make it an annual event.

The 1st Annual Bowed Psaltery Symphony will take place at Tamarack in Beckley, West Va. on April 16,17 and 18. If you're not familiar with Tamarack, here's a blurb from their web site and a link for more info:
TAMARACK: The Best of West Virginia

Tamarack’s striking, peaked red roof and attractively landscaped grounds draw half a million visitors annually off I-77 and I-64 (Exit 45 at Beckley) into a welcome respite of visual beauty, Appalachian sounds, and distinctive aromas.

A one-stop-shop for West Virginia culture, heritage, handcrafts, fine art, regional cuisine and music, Tamarack employs a rigorous jurying process to ensure product quality and authenticity.

Four resident artisans work daily in observation studios to demonstrate textiles, metal, wood and pottery. Throughout the year artisan demonstrations and food tastings engage visitors in new experiences. The fine arts gallery offers a glimpse of the current art scene. Live musical, theatre, dance and storytelling performances, as well as West Virginia films, are scheduled in the intimate 178-seat theater.

This event is unique as far as I know because it is all bowed psaltery, embraces every level of player and the end result will be a recording. All the details aren't posted yet, but this is what I know so far (if I get something wrong, don't hold Tish to it).

First and most important there will be fun, music and much psaltery speak!

Workshops, jam sessions and practice sessions will be held. Tish has selected 10 songs for recording. The song list is posted on their website and when completed will include Song Title, Key, BPM ( Beats Per Minute, for use with a Metronome), and sheet music broken down into melody, 1st Harmony, 2nd Harmony, 9n Part and drone. If that isn't enough there is also a midi track for each song which is a wonderful tool for practice. Having this ahead of time is a bonus for those who want to get a head start on the music.
To the best of my knowledge the event is free, how often do you hear that? If you want to attend, the Westman's are asking that you register on their website. Tish is working out special lodging arrangements and will be posting a list of local restaurants. I'll be posting updates as I find them, but please visit the Westman's web site and get them first hand.

Even if Tish can't arrange for the rhododendron to be in bloom that weekend, you can expect a wonderful time. Kudos to Tish and Greg for taking this on and to Tamarack for supporting their efforts.

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Comment by Tish Westman on March 3, 2010 at 7:37am
Another update: If you have made reservations at the Comfort Inn, you will need to have a form from us to get the special rate when you check in. Let me know if you need this and I will make sure you have it when you arrive.
Also, we will be in Richmond, Va, Craft Show, at "The Showplace" March 12-14, and Indianapolis March 19,20, if there are any Bowed Psaltery players nearby and would like to go over any of the pieces for the symphony or just to play let me know and I will get you more information about our schedule and location.
Comment by Donna Malus on March 2, 2010 at 7:29pm
Twenty-seven people registered for the Symphony so far!!!! That's a lot of rosin dust : ) and almost enough people to drown out the mistakes I inevitably make.
Comment by Donna Malus on March 1, 2010 at 6:00pm
Hello everyone!
Just a couple updates to the Bowed Psaltery Symphony!
Most of the music is up on the Westman's page, head over and check it out There are parts for every type of psaltery and every level of player. Beginners are encouraged to participate as well as the experienced players.
What I didn't stress earlier, and should have, is that the event is FREE!!! and that if you're coming, it's time to start practicing!!! Practice, practice, practice! We all need to be as prepared for the performance as we can be.
One more thing, Tish was able to get a great rate of $39.00 per night at the local Comfort Inn. That's practically free as hotels go!
Comment by Tish Westman on February 24, 2010 at 9:31pm
Great job writing this out. Much better than I probably would have done..... The only thing I would change would be that you NEED and have to practice and know your part ahead of time. You are not going to learn 10 songs in two days before the performance. I know that is understood but.... Emphasise that we need all players and levels to try to come.

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