- A Hammered Dulcimer Christmas Medley Performed by CB3 7:21
It was in 1996 that I first became aware of an instrument known as the hammered dulcimer (HD), and I’ll never forget the moment that this happened. It was a Spring evening while I was listening to contemporary Christian music on the radio and working at my desk. I heard a song by an artist named Rich Mullins. The song was Calling out Your Name. I was listening to his music in the background and I put down my pen and just listened to this one — mesmerized by the sound of the instrument. Incredibly, even being a lifelong percussionist, I had never heard this folk instrument played in this unrecognizable way that Rich played it for that song.
Rich was killed in an auto accident in September of 1997. A few of my musical friends asked me several months later, as the one-year anniversary of his death approached if I would be interested in creating a charity concert honoring his music. I said yes, and I began to arrange the pieces. Just four months prior to the concert, I realized I couldn’t find a hammered dulcimer performer. So I bought one in June of 1998, knowing I would need to perform on it just four months later in September.
For whatever reason, within a couple of hours of purchasing it and playing it in my home, I felt very comfortable on it, almost like it was literally made for my skill set — my particular musical and percussion skill set. I played the Mullins tribute concerts in 1998, wrote some original pieces featuring the HD, and then set the instrument aside for the better part of a decade or so as I pursued other musical interests.
In 2013, at a church I was attending, I was asked to perform some Christmas carols on the instrument. I started by just playing two or three starting and stopping in between each one. Then I got the idea to write a medley. This medley has now been performed live six times in various locations. It’s really not something any other performer could play because I’ve never written out the score. And, candidly, probably only Internationally acclaimed Joshua Messick and a few others would want to tackle something of this nature!
The six featured Christmas carols are:
- The Little Drummer Boy
- Carol of the Bells
- O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
- Joy to the World
- Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming
- Silent Night
Throughout the piece, there are “reprises” to previously played carols within the medley. At 7 1/2 minutes in length, it pretty much says everything musically about Christmas to me that I felt I needed to express as a hammered dulcimist. The hammered dulcimer is a special instrument in the percussion family and I am honored to be able to play this piece for you, a Hammered Dulcimer Christmas Medley.