The Galambush family's first vacation was a camping trip was to the Appalachian Mountains. That is where I first saw and heard a mountain dulcimer, an American folk instrument born in the Appalachian Mountains. I was drawn to its sound and its place in early American history, but couldn’t afford to buy one. My mother suggested that I buy a dulcimer building kit, but I knew I wasn’t going to actually build it, so no dulcimer for me.
Fast forward many years. My late husband, JC Bradshaw, wanted to build a dulcimer but didn’t want to make something no one would use. He asked me if I would learn to play the dulcimer and I promised that I would. That first dulcimer, which I used to carry around wrapped in an old towel tied up with a shoestring, opened a new and wonderful world for me.
Initially, I tried to teach myself from a book. I was still trying to perfect my “bum-dit-ty” strum when a friend, Ron Cyr, convinced me to attend a week-long workshop at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. Not only did the instruction I received there light a fire in me to practice, but the many styles of playing I heard were awe inspiring. I left that workshop thinking, “The dulcimer can sound like that?” Once I got home, Ron and I decided to get together every month so that we wouldn’t forget what we had learned. By then JC had built a second dulcimer and joined us. That was the beginning of the Waterbound Dulcimers club, which continues to meet in Kinston, NC. It was also the beginning of my dulcimer teaching career; as more people joined the group, we helped them get started, and thrilled to the sound of their first “Boil Them Cabbage Down.”
Fast forward to today. I still enjoy helping people experience the joys of making music, especially those who have wanted to play an instrument, but never had the opportunity or never believed they could do it.
In addition to coordinating the Waterbound Dulcimers in Kinston, NC, I teach at workshops and in my home, play with Flat Mountain Dulcimers, Waterbound, and Dolce Dulcimers and enjoy meeting “dulcimer people.” As a matter of fact, most of my best friends are dulcimer people. If you don’t play a dulcimer, why not give it a try and see if you like it … and the people you meet along the way?