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Chautauqua Entertainment

Central Indiana Folk Music & Dulcimer Society to perform

The group returns to Madison
after a multiple-year hiatus

(September 2016) – The Central Indiana Folk Music and Dulcimer Society is returning to perform at the Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art after more than a 20-year absence. Many of the musicians who played at the last performance are still with the group. The group is scheduled to perform from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday on the Lanier Mansion North Lawn.
Autoharp player Karen Sechrist, 78, has been a member more than 30 years and has fond memories of the last visit to Chautauqua.


2016 Madison Chautauqua Entertainment Schedule

Saturday, Sept. 24:

On the Lanier Mansion
North Lawn Stage

• 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.:
Central Indiana Folk Music
& Dulcimer Society
• 2-4 p.m.:
Soundz of Dixieland (Dixieland jazz)

On the Lanier-Madison Visitors Center Plaza, Vine & First Streets
• 10:30-11:30 a.m.:
Madison Community Players (Presenting radio show skits.)

Broadway at First Street
• Noon - 5 p.m.:
Emily Ann Thompson (Celtic fiddler)

Vine Street at Vaughn Drive
• Noon - 3 p.m.:
Rob Houze Quintet (Light jazz)

Elm Street at Vaughn Drive
• 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.:
Bob Culbertson (Chapman Stick)

Broadway at Vaughn Drive
• 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.:
Steel Away (Steel drum duo)
• 1-4 p.m.:
John Atkins (Pianist)

Strolling Performers
• 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.:
MCHS Arts Academy
• Noon - 5 p.m.:
Paul Kelly (Juggling clown)

Sunday, Sept. 25:

On the Lanier Mansion
North Lawn Stage

• 11:30 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.:
Chestnuts (Folk music)
• 1-4 p.m.:
James White & Deercreek (Bluegrass)

Broadway at First Street
• Noon - 3 p.m.:
John Atkins (Pianist)

Vine Street at Vaughn Drive

• Noon - 3 p.m.:
Rob Houze Quintet (Light jazz)

Elm Street at Vaughn Drive
• 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.:
Bob Culbertson                       (Chapman Stick)

Broadway at Vaughn Drive
• Noon - 4 p.m.:
Steel Away (Steel drum duo)

Special Events:
• 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. both days:
Demonstration Village (In parking lot south of Lanier-Madison                    Visitors Center on Vine Street. Featuring Miami Indians, Ojibwa dancers & more.)
• 1-5 p.m. Saturday:
Chalk Walk. Chalk pastel art contest on pavement at Elm and First Streets. Judging at 5 p.m. Entry fee $10 covers chalk pastels. Open to artists of all ages.

“My husband Paul provided the sound at the mansion,” She recalls. “We went down as a group and camped overnight at John and Betsy Adler’s farm outside of Madison. We just had the most wonderful time playing. We had a wonderful group of people who played and we went back to the farm to spend another night. I am just thrilled they are going down again.”
Dan and Christine Reneau also specialize in music on the autoharp. He is a past president and music coordinator and has been with the group for 30 years. She has been a member for 24 years.
“This is the first time we have played the Madison Chautauqua in a while,” said Dan Reneau. “We used to do it every year, but then we moved to other events. We play a lot of libraries. Our favorite is the one in Speedway. We also play at a lot of assisted living places and at the state fair.”
The group is known for playing old-time fiddle music.
“My favorite is Rosin the Bow,” Reneau added. “We also like kids’ songs like  Poly Wooly Doodle, Frogie Went a Courtin’, Liza Jane. We play a lot of country. There is always a train, a pickup truck or grandma in our country songs.”
“We like the outlaw country,” said Christine Reneau. “We play a lot of Willie.”
The Central Indiana Folk Music and Dulcimer Society is a not-for-profit corporation organized for the charitable and educational purposes of promoting, perpetuating, and supporting traditional American Music.
“We need to follow our mandated outreach to share our love of music and educate those around us about the music we love,” said Society President Mary L. Sanders. “We need to reach across the aisle and find the commonalities between us all. Be we players of banjo, ukulele, autoharp, dulcimer, guitar, recorder, fiddle, washboard or any of the many other instruments that provide us with the means to express ourselves.”
Group members play a variety of well-recognized instruments, such as dulcimers, autoharp, mandolin, guitar and ukulele. There are also some instruments not so well known.

Photo by John Sheckler

Members of the Central Indiana Folk Music and Dulcimer Society are (from left) David Slates (mandolin), Christine Reneau (autoharp, dulcimer) and Dan Reneau (autoharp).

“Some people play banjammers or mandolin-ukes,” said Christine. “These are combinations of two types of instruments, and we always joke they have the worst characteristics of both.”
Even easy recognizable instruments have their secrets.
“We have modified autoharps because dulcimer societies play mostly in D and G,” said Christine.
“If someone plays a song in another chord, everyone just gets out their shakers.”
The modified autoharps are called diatonic. Most autoharps play in a wide variety of chords, but their diatonic instruments are set to play in only a few chords, which allow more strings to be used for each chord and thus produce a louder, cleaner sound.
The society has several informal sub groups within its membership. There are the Happy Harpers for the lovers of autoharp, and the DOGs, a dulcimers-only group, sometimes called the Lap Dogs.
In addition to performances, the society offers occasional workshops, such as a mandolin workshop led by society member David Slates. 
“We obviously have a lot of fun, said Slates. “It is as much of a fellowship as it is playing music.” 
“It is lots of fun, and there is a lot of interaction between members at a performance,” said Christine. “We get together to have fun, but we always remember our mission to promote American music.”
Road trips provide the musicians with the perfect opportunity to educate people about folk music.
“Performances like the one in Madison help us promote our group, and we love road trips,” said Dan Reneau. “Our longest trip was one in the Wisconsin Dells in 1989.”
“We love going off to play in various places, especially if we get to travel, because it builds camaraderie,” said Christine Reneau.
The Folk Society travels take them to large events, such as the Ohio Valley Gathering, one of the largest dulcimer gatherings in the region. The society also plays host to its own annual event in June, the Eagle Creek Folk Festival.

• For more information about the Central Indiana Folk Music & Mountain Dulcimer Society, visit: www.IndianaFolkMusic.org.
 
 

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