Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Music at Senior Living place - Live

 I was delighted last week to go give a live dulcimer music sharing time with seniors at a local senior living place.  It's been over a year as Covid came and closed off so many things.  It was great to see the people and even though lips were covered with masks for everyone I could tell some were smiling.  No singing was allowed but the curious bunch asked a handful of questions in between the tunes.  I 'took' them on a trip to other countries and far back in time with some Renaissance tunes, Celtic music, and good old American folk tunes from the South.  I have Scandinavian tune books but didn't feel I knew the tunes well enough.  I don't like to play looking at music sheets when I'm at a place.  After the music time one person came up and gave me home-made paper flowers she had made.  The bright daffodils were wonderful during the extra long grey days and the chilly spring here in Duluth.  Not many real flowers are up besides a few crocuses.  More to come!   I have cucumber plants, zinnia, and basil growing indoors.  Over the weekend I baked with the rosemary  from the rosemary that made it through the winter indoors. 

I normally would be organizing local art and gift fairs and arts, nature, and history day trips from Duluth but those still are on hold.  Over a year is a long time but at some point those will be able to be run again. For now I'm working at a sushi booth in a grocery store. The owner hums some Burmese songs as he creates and rolls the many kinds of sushi.  The store music system adds more music as you work.  I'm also doing meals deliveries and plug in a dulcimer CD, Gregorian chant music, and some of the CDs that I've had over the years.  My car is the main place that I listen and I spend more time in the car these days.  We are getting ready to do our first road trip - to the Pella Tulip Festival.  Outside camping, different foods, music, and a step toward normal.  We will get our 2nd shot this weekend. 

I hope everyone is staying safe and enjoying the re-opening of life.  Some places are more open than others - maybe that's good but we also need to be careful.  Wearing masks hasn't been the worst - the masks are from new and modified businesses that came forward during the past year.  I have one made by ladies in Nepal and is fair-trade.  You can even decorate your own.  Wearing seasonal ones also was a bit fun : Christmas theme, hearts, and now its time for flowers and flowers.  

I do have plenty of dulcimer books in stock, Cds, strings, MD hammers, HD hammers, and more items.  I plan to do more outside music playing this summer.  Outside painting, outside music, outside camping, outside garden.  All in time. Still below freezing some nights here but it's been toasty warm on sunny parts of the days in the greenhouse.

Happy Spring. 

Strum, pick, hammer -  breathe in the wonders of the new day.   


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Purple flowers

Summer's end is near.  A very different summer than previous ones as COVID-19 continues.  Mask wearing, social distancing, cancelled events, stay indoors, and reduced occupancy at restaurants and places than can open.  There are things we can't do or can't go to but there are things we CAN do - like play music instruments at home, garden, go for a hike,  call or email a friend, attend a virtual class, clean house, pet a pet, watch birds, and many other things.  Duluth has had evening temperatures in the low 40s and warnings for frost are being announced in the region.  All my day trips that I would be organizing are cancelled (there is no MN State Fair, no performing theater open, Bayfield Apple Fest or Cranberry Fest in Stone Lake - no.  I had also wanted to go to a rendezvous and PowWow up near the Canadian border- no).  I'm coming up with a local trip or two though where we will caravan to the site.  Local farms.  Farmers are people much more connected to the earth and carer for plants intensely.  Fresh fruit / veggies tastes so good.  We have farmers markets but I'm ready to go TO the farm.  I have my first farm visit for Sept 13 with a limit of 7 people to attend.  More info at www.wendyupnorth.com/ 

My husband and I have been taken photos.  Sometimes with just our cell phones and sometime with an actual camera or the go-pro where we did some underwater photos and fish eye photos.  He took a closeup up the purple flowers - Nightshade- in our yard.  It's a weed with beautiful purple flowers with a yellow protruding center before becoming red berries.  I looked up the species name. 

Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara)

The second word- means bittersweet.   We knew of course the dulc was sweet.  

Stay safe.  Be well.  Do what you can.  



Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Please use this email - wendyupnorth@yahoo.com

Please use the wendyupnorth@yahoo.com to contact me.  I do have dulcimers to rent for those who would like to give it a try and I do private lessons in my home (mountain or hammered dulcimer).  A beginner mountain dulcimer class may be being set up for some time in March.  Contact me if you are interested. 
As a reminder my other website is www.wendyupnorth.com.  That site lists the day trips from Duluth that I offer and local art and gift fairs that I put together.  Several upcoming dates for the 1st half of 2020. 
Will this year include music playing for you?

Through Valentine's Day 2020 I am offering a special:
Buy 2 books (Mel Bay books in stock only) and get a 3rd book free  (Mel Bay books in stock only).  Dulcimer books are conveniently set up with numbers - tablature - to make music playing simpler.

Buy 2 CDs get 1 free.  Through Valentine's Day 2020.


Friday, October 25, 2019

How Cute

I played last week at a variety show to raise money for a local food shelf.  For many in the audience it was the first time they had seen or heard a hammered dulcimer.  I look forward to more places to go to in Duluth and beyond to share playing mountain and hammered dulcimers.  The show's first performer was a 3-year old boy singing the national anthem.  My goodness - he did such a good job with that pretty long song.  Some of his words were a bit stretched for what he was actually saying but how cute it was!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

I'm back in Minnesota as spring slowly arrives.  We still have plenty of snow meaning plenty of wetness to come.  I traveled to my husband's home area in New Zealand a few weeks ago and brought along my smaller size dulcimer.  It has bat sound holes - probably the only one with bat shaped sound holes.  I played at several places while being over in the ChristChurch area.  My husband's cousin works at a rest home/care/hospital and I played there and in the rural town area where his dad lives.  The dulcimer fit in my suitcase and made it safely.

Last night I taught part 1 of a beginner dulcimer class through the Community Ed.  Good to see more people wanting to learn.  Several people had dulcimers already that they purchased somewhere along the way and this was their opportunity to learn how to play it.

I have a local art and gift fair this Saturday.  I am still organizing fairs.  I'll bring along a dulcimer to play a bit.   If you're in the area and want to shop local head to the Peace Church between 10AM-3PM.  The fair is Treasures of the Earth and all the things are made from natural materials or recycled materials.  Wood-turned bowls, stone jewelry, painted stones, feather pens, soap and much more.  It's the 11th year for the fair.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Opportunities to share music

I have rarely played at open mics but last night I did a short set at the Amazing Grace coffee house in Duluth.  I was on for the 2nd to last spot of the night - after most people had left.  It is a bit scary to do open mic.  I am not a singer or guitar player - the rest of the evening's open mic folks were.  Anyways, I like to share music so there I went.  The lighting was a bit of challenge and yes my hammers shook a bit more - but they didn't drop.  I love Celtic music, old-time and good ole' folk tunes.  Maybe I'll write songs some day.   The moderator did invite me back to play at brunches there and that sounded like fun to do background music. 

This month I've also played at a senior assisted living place.  I was there about 6 months ago during a snow storm - even the schools were closed but I came and played music.  I bring along the limberjack, shakers, and wooden spoons for people to join in on the last few tunes.  One person asked about what the strings on the hammered dulcimer were originally in it's early days.  I don't know.  Do you? 

Another place I played this month was volunteering at a Memory Cafe.  It's where people with dementia and their caregivers gather monthly for a bit of fun.  I played a bunch of tunes on the hammered dulcimer.  I wish I would have prepared some 'quiz' questions about songs or completing lines in popular tunes.  Maybe next time.  I also was able to share my other projects I've done in the community: producing local history videos, the Look at Lakeside newsletter, and the day trips to arts, music, history and nature places.  It was a nice group of people.  Sadly, it was 9/11 so we did spend some time in silence.

I'll be playing at a rosemaling festival this Saturday.  I tried to learn some Scandinavian tunes but didn't get as far as I hoped.   I look forward to roaming around the fest after I'm done.  I love folk craft. 
I have 3 local art and gift fairs that I'm organizing this fall.  There really haven't been many folk craft people but there is a good assortment of people attending the fairs. The fairs are about filled but there are a few more spots.  I always do some shopping at the fairs and like to chat with the returning and new artisans. 

Time to head for bed.  I do a nightly suduko as a day's end activity.  Nights are cooling off but the open window still works out well for fresh air.  Maybe we will get to camp one more time this fall. It's hard to find 2 days in a row let alone one day/night free to go.

I'm contemplating getting a harmonium.  Still thinking about it. 

Good night.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Hot Summer

Duluth - normally cool with Lake Superior - has had some pretty hot days.  We've also had humidity and some rain (plus thunder and lightning).  We'll see how long the heat wave lasts.  Whether it's hot or cold it's a good time to bring out a dulcimer.  I've played the hammered dulcimer more than the mountain dulcimer recently but love to play both.  This summer I want to add more Scandinavian music tunes.  Duluth is not very diverse as far as people go and there are mostly Scandinavians in the area which brings out lefse and lutefisk.  I had never heard of either of those food items back in Illinois.  I have tried the lefse but I've passed on the lutefisk.  The Italian half of me still heads toward pasta and pizza.  Back to music,  Celtic music is wonderful on dulcimers as wells as good ol' time music.  I'll let you know what tunes I've added this summer.  I'll be playing at a Rosemaling fair in September so have a deadline goal to finally add some new tunes. 
Hope you are having a fun summer  - and including music this season.  I'm ready for cooler weather and to head out camping a few times.  I've already announced the 3 fall fairs I'm organizing so people are signing up for December events  - a time when Duluth is not as green and when the ice cream trunk doesn't head down our street playing it's jingle Camptown Races.