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Rochester-based hammered dulcimer group to perform May 4

Members of the Striking Strings will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at the First Presbyterian Church in Baldwinsville. The hammered dulcimer ensemble has 16 members who travel from across the region to perform and offer workshops.

Members of the Striking Strings will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at the First Presbyterian Church in Baldwinsville. The hammered dulcimer ensemble has 16 members who travel from across the region to perform and offer workshops.

— Looking for a family-friendly evening out but low on cash? How about nestling in and tuning your ears to the sounds of the hammered dulcimer, flutes and a handful of other instruments?

The Striking Strings Hammered Dulcimer Ensemble of the Eastman Community Music School, directed by noted hammered dulcimer player Mitzie Collins, will give its program “Celtic Music and More” at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at the First Presbyterian Church, 64 Oswego St., Baldwinsville. The event is free and open to the public.

“I think everybody is capable of music making – and the hammered dulcimer is just one avenue to try on the journey to making music,” Collins said. “One of the most endearing qualities of the hammered dulcimer is the ease that simple tunes can be played, and how compelling and interesting even a simple tune can sound.”

Though raised in Dallas, Texas, Collins made her way to New York to attend the Eastman School of Music in Rochester. For many years she performed as a solo artist and also as part of a trio throughout Central and Western New York, but her ties to the Syracuse region continue to bring her back to the area.

“For five or six years, I gave an annual concert at the Presbyterian Church in Baldwinsville. I also presented school programs for many years in the Liverpool School District,” Collins said. “I have lots of friends in Central New York.”

Two of those friends happen to be Baldwinsville residents Jon and Kathy Bowen. The couple joined the Striking Strings two years ago.

“Jon got interested in the hammered dulcimer about 30 years ago, but was too busy teaching to learn how to play. When he retired from B’ville, I bought him a small dulcimer from Dan Duggan,” Kathy said. “He taught himself in the beginning and went to workshops.”

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