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Article posted: 4/16/2013 2:40 PM

Learn how to handle a dulcimer at Garfield Farm Museum workshop

Dona Benkert of the Folk-Lore Center music school will demonstrate strumming a mountain dulcimer during the “Hands On Dulcimer Workshop” at Garfield Farm Museum.

Dona Benkert of the Folk-Lore Center music school will demonstrate strumming a mountain dulcimer during the "Hands On Dulcimer Workshop" at Garfield Farm Museum.


Patrick Kunzer/April 2011

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Submitted by Garfield Farm Museum

There's still time to sign up for the advanced dulcimer workshop at Garfield Farm Museum Sunday, April 21.


Musician Dona Benkert will provide the instruction on these unique stringed instruments. She will have some instruments on hand for individuals that do not have their own. During the workshop, there will be a 1 p.m. mountain dulcimer session and a 3 p.m. hammered dulcimer session.

There is a $25 donation per session. Reservations are required and can be made by contacting the museum at (630) 584-8485 or

Both sessions are for individuals that have played some before. The 1 p.m. mountain dulcimer session is for individuals that can play a basic melody. They will learn full richer sounding chords, strum variations, and various right and left hand techniques.

During the 3 p.m. hammered dulcimer session, individuals will learn easy melodies, focusing on tune and chord structure, and then add embellishments that will make their music more exciting.

Benkert is the owner of Folk-Lore Center music school in Warrenville, and founder of Warrenville Folk Music Society. She is an accomplished hammered and mountain dulcimer artist and winner of the 2003 Studs Terkel Humanities Award. She is on staff at the renowned Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago as well as DuPage Girl Scouts as a music and dance badge program facilitator. Her arrangements are rooted in the traditions of the British Isles, New England Country dance music, Appalachian fiddle tunes, and the music Irish harpist Turloch O'Carolan. She enjoys sharing her love for traditional music and helping to preserve our musical heritage.

Garfield Farm Museum is 5 miles west of Geneva, off Route 38 on Garfield Road. Garfield Farm is a former historically intact 1840s prairie farmstead and teamster inn that is being restored as a working 1840s farm.

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