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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.

— With lessons under his belt, Jon joined the performance group, and with the time to spare his wife traveled back and forth to Rochester to keep him company.

Collins is always trying to introduce the hammered dulcimer to any audience. She wants people to be involved in music making, Kathy said.

“Mitzie doesn't leave any opportunity unused. I started to play my flute with them. To challenge myself I have been learning the penny whistle,” Kathy said.

“Penny whistle has the same fingerings as flute,” she added. “But I'm learning Irish style and also to play music from memory.”

Collins formed the Striking Strings in 2008 with her inspiration rooted in performances by groups from China and Eastern Europe when she attended the 2005 Cimbalom World Association Congress in Beijing.

The ensemble touts a total of 16 members, with close to a dozen performing at each concert. Members of the group come from across the region including Rochester, Perry, Byron, Webster, Henrietta, Penfield, North Chili, Caledonia and Pittsford. The Bowens, of Baldwinsville, have the distinction of traveling the furthest to be a part of the Striking Strings, Collins said.

The Saturday evening concert will feature music from Celtic countries, as well as selections from countries where this many-stringed, trapezoid-shaped instrument is played. Tunes from Switzerland, England and Germany, along with traditional American melodies and songs will be included.

“The long ringing sounds of the hammered dulcimer can lend themselves to very sophisticated and complicated music or music that is a much less complex,” Collins said. “I am also drawn to the fact that the hammered dulcimer has many relatives around the world. It’s truly an international instrument.”

As a special feature, members of the group will offer a free introductory workshop on the hammered dulcimer from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the church.

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