As many of you know each year at the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention there is a mountain dulcimer contest. It’s a lot of fun to enter or to watch as a spectator. Unfortunately, it is always the last event on Friday night. The dulcimer contest usually starts around 10 pm and usually ends between 11 pm or 12 pm depending on various factors such as if the other music categories ahead of us run long, the number of contestants, and train stoppages.
The contests they have on Friday evening are in this order: Harmonica, Mandolin, Bluegrass Banjo, Dobro, and Dulcimer. Out of the five events, the dulcimer contest is always last.
Therefore, I’m encouraging those of you that have an interest either as a contestant or a spectator to contact the Fiddlers committee to tell them they should rotate the contest order each year so that it’s not always the same instrument going first and the same instrument going last.
It is my hope that not just local dulcimer enthusiasts will contact the Fiddlers Convention organizers, but folk from other parts of Alabama AND from other states that have an interest in these things. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
In addition, I suggest not just dulcimer contestants but “potential” dulcimer contestants contact the organizers. And I recommend those who don’t play or compete but who attend who enjoy watching the contests should contact the organizers (as well as “potential” spectators) because I know many people don’t stay to watch because of how late it starts.
If you’re interested encouraging the organizers to make this change I’m providing three ways to contact Athens State about this: U.S. Mail, e-mail, and telephone. Some people prefer sending a real letter through the mail, while others like the simplicity of sending emails. I’ve read pros and cons of real letters vs emails and I can’t say which is better. Clearly, it’s a personal choice and I imagine a mixture would be good (I may do both).
In your letter consider telling them in your own words:
a. How much you enjoy the fiddlers convention and that you know it takes a lot of work to organize and put it on.
b. Point out the mountain dulcimer contest is always the last event on Friday night, behind Harmonica, Mandolin, Bluegrass Banjo, and Dobro. The dulcimer is always the fifth and last event usually starting around 10 or 10:30 pm and ending sometime after 11 pm.
c. Therefore you recommend that the committee rotate the contest order each year so that it’s not ways the same instrument going first and the same instrument going last.
Director of Campus and Community Engagement
Athens State University
300 Beaty Street
Athens, AL 35611
Phone: 256-233-8215 or 256-233-8241
The main Athens State University phone number is 256-233-8100 or Toll Free: 1-800-522-0272.