This week's "In the Shop" section should really be titled "in the concert hall." Why? Because I'm going to be talking about an upcoming event (August 13, 2022) that takes place in the Folkcraft Concert Hall.
But first, the back story...
Back in the early 2010's, I was sitting in the lobby of a YMCA training facility in Black Mountain, North Carolina. This was during the Dulcimerville dulcimer festival, which was held at the same venue that now hosts the Black Mountain Music Fest.
I was talking to one of the artist/instructors at the festival, Linda Brockinton. It turns out that she went to high school in the same town that I did - North Little Rock, Arkansas, so we had an instant "shared past." It also turns out that she and I both performed with the River City Community Band (the University of Arkansas, Little Rock campus, concert band) while I was in high school (and Linda was only a couple of years past that). Small world, right?
Anyway, while talking to Linda, I also met John Keane and Karen Keane. To make the world even smaller, we discovered John and I shared a history, too. Throughout our high school years, John and I performed together as part of the Arkansas All State music programs - band, choir, and orchestra. So, yes, there are albums floating around from 1978, 1979, and 1980 that list both Richard Ash and John Keane as performers.
It turns out that John and I both graduated from high school (not the same one!) in 1981, and went on to get degrees in music education, and then teach instrumental music in the schools. John met Karen while in high school, and she also got a music-ed degree, and her early career was teaching with John!
Moving forward to the later 2010s, and I saw the amazingness that John and Karen brought to the dulcimer world, and I asked them to represent Folkcraft Instruments as endorsing artists. They accepted my offer, and have been part of the elite crew ever since.