The purpose of the organization is to play the hammered dulcimer together
with other instruments for our enjoyment, and to promote and encourage
knowledge of the hammered dulcimer through regularly scheduled meetings,
workshops, performances, newsletters and other related activities. The
official club theme song is Westphalia Waltz.
Silver Strings Dulcimer Society had its beginnings in hammered
dulcimer classes given at Greenfield Village by Ceclia (Cece) Horodko
Webster in the fall of 1983. At the last class a sign-up sheet was passed by
Lynn Bower for those who would be interested in continuing to meet and play
together. Lynn also circulated the sign-up sheet at the 1983 ODPC Funfest at
Evart. The first meeting of about 13 people took place just after the
Funfest on July 27, 1983 in Wyandotte at a gazebo in Bishop Park near the
Bob-Lo Boat dock. After playing there throughout the summer of 1982, they
found a home at Fischer School in Dearborn Heights. The group adopted the
name, Silver Strings Dulcimer Society and started organizing the music and
framework for the club.
In 1985 an “operating committee” was formed as they started playing “paid” gigs
and hosting events: picnics, annual dinner. SSDS became a non-profit organization.
By October 1985, the club had 44 members with various instruments including: guitars,
recorders, harmonicas and washtub bass. Workshops were offered for mountain dulcimer,
beginner and intermediate hammered dulcimer.
Click here to view the Silver Strings 35th Anniversary video.
In 1986 they moved to Good Hope Lutheran Church in Garden City. The club continued to grow,
perform, offer workshops and participate in various music festivals. Regular meetings were
the first and third Thursday of the month. A club newsletter “Soundboard” kept members informed.
Official by-laws were adopted, musically creative ideas were tried, and the repertoire grew.
In the 1990s, the club continued to evolve, creating various ways to help and mentor new players.
The meeting format attempted to accommodate various levels of players, prepare for performance opportunities,
allow time for announcements and socializing. Membership dues were raised to $15 for new members and
$10 for membership renewal. Membership grew to about 120. The number of gigs increased to over
20 a year. In 1997, the club began hosting “Variety Nights” when there was a fifth Thursday in the month.
A light dinner was enjoyed followed by various “acts” where individuals and small groups performed
for the rest of the club. In 1998, the club launched a website. The decade ended with Silver Strings’
first recording, “Silver Strings Dulcimer Society.”
The club entered the new millennium with enthusiasm. In June, 2001,
a new tradition began and continues: SSDS Friends & Family Campout.
SSDS friends and family come to enjoy informal jamming, a few workshops,
and hospitality. SSDS performance opportunities increased. New member
fee is now $20 (including music), and membership renewal is $15.
The “Soundboard” went electronic on the club website. In 2009,
Silver Strings produced its second CD, “Holiday Traditions”.
The project to standardize club music was accomplished.
A strong SSDS presence at Michigan festivals continues,
noted by performance, hosting jams, leading workshops and
volunteering. SSDS moved to Holy Cross Lutheran Church in
Livonia MI in 2018; a facility that is handicapped accessible
and geographically in the center of the club’s membership.
The current meeting format is: Slow jam for players to work on certain
tunes followed by a Regular jam, Social time and finishing with the After
Hours Jam for tune sharing and with more experienced players. Sub-groups continue
to form (currently Mountain Dulcimer, Ukulele, bowed psaltery and harmonicas).
Musical experimentation continues. The club has tried playing classical music
in orchestral style. A Library Outreach program is used to introduce the
hammered dulcimer and complementary instruments to people throughout SE Michigan.
From May through October during suitable weather, members host “pop-up jams,”
at their home or a park.
The club’s on-line presence expanded. The “Spirit Jam,” a Facebook
“Live” themed jam was born during COVID and draws people from across the US
and other countries. Still continuing through the winter months, they are
recorded and archived on the club’s YouTube page. “Practice Tune Videos,” a YouTube
library of club tunes is an on-going project meant
to help people learn the club tunes.
Click here to access Silver Strings YouTube.
In 2023, the club will celebrate 40 years of music making and friendship.
Silver Strings invites you to join us in music, fun and
fellowship. Silver Strings is open to all who are interested in playing or
listening to Old Time Music. We feature the hammered dulcimer, with a
variety of other acoustic instruments including mountain dulcimer, guitar,
fiddle, banjo, autoharp, string bass, washtub bass, mandolin, ukulele, harmonica,
recorder, and tin whistle. Learn new tunes and techniques, jam together with
other players at monthly meetings, receive copies of sheet music, a
monthly newsletter, and participate in workshops, festivals, public
performances, picnics, fun and fellowship.
You are always invited to attend our meetings as a guest. Regular meetings
are held the first and third Thursdays of the month at the Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 30650 Six Mile Rd, Livonia, MI.
Click here for membership.
Silver Strings is available for contra dances, weddings, anniversaries,
concerts and other related functions. Silver Strings can provide music
for many occasions whether it be a stage performance with information on the
historical background of the dulcimer and the music, or background music
with the soft sound of acoustic tunes while your party or event is in progress.
Business Manager for booking or questions
Silver Strings Dulcimer Society