The Israel Dulcimer Society was the brainchild Susan Jennings during her 3-year (1994-1997) sojourn in Israel with her husband Don (crack guitarist and mandolin player) and family. Susan, a nurse by profession, has a natural knack for nurturing and was known in Jerusalem for her open house policy where you would meet folks of diverse backgrounds and religions, many of whom were toting musical instruments.
Susan had been playing Appalachian dulcimers for 17 years when she arrived here, and readily performed for Jerusalem audiences and beyond. She had previously organized a dulcimer society in Phoenix, Arizona, and is now running the Appalachian Trail Dulcimer Society in Lancaster, Pennsylvania where she currently lives.
Josh's foot, Susan, Cyrelle, Dena & Judi
One might imagine that mountain dulcimers are as scarce as snow on the desert sands in Israel. However, it's an instrument that travels easily and perhaps folks just get attached to them. So when Susan conducted her own kind of archaeological dig, dulcimers started coming off walls or pianos, and finding their way to her home with their fledgling and not so fledgling owners in tow. She promptly began giving lessons and soon had a core of players meeting at her house weekly for good playing and good company. We are all still moaning her moving away, but she continues to be an inspiration to all of us who knew her.
Filling the void brought on by Susan's absence, Judi Ganchrow has been organizing sessions since 1997. The young club was featured in Dulcimer Player's News in the spring of 1999. In December of 2002 the group appeared for a 2 hour radio presentation of the dulcimer and its roots on the Chaim Tzur show (reshet aleph). A small CD came out of that program and some of that music is available courtesy of MP3 on this site.
Cyrelle & Judi
We especially enjoy playing music of Appalachia and the British Isles, although our repertoire is quite eclectic and ranges from Balkan and Hebrew to swing and beyond.
We currently meet in Jerusalem on a weekly basis around 8:15 rotating location through homes of different members. The first Sunday of the month we learn new stuff. The 2nd Sunday we review it and other older stuff. Nondulcimers are welcome usually on the 3rd Sunday month. The last Sunday, anything goes.
The 4th Sde Boker desert dulcimer retreat was March 28-29, 2003 hosted by Laurie Ornstein.
An additional northern dulcimer mountain retreat is being planned for the fall. Information to follow.
There was a dulcimer workshop/petting zoo at the IFS Sarona weekend in November, and it was a great success.
Performances, mostly on folk stages, on occasion.
Laurie, Judi & Cyrelle
Connie Allen -- Honorary member for her contributions of sheet music and inspiration running her parallel club in San Diego
David Baron -- I have been playing since 1968 so that makes it 34 years. I had no teacher. I had been considering a dulcimer, met up with David Field at the Philly Folk Festival and made the decision then and there.
Cyrelle Forman-Soffer -- New York in the 60's: Friends of Old Time Music introduced traditional musicians to the urban audience. One concert included Doc Watson, Roscoe Holcomb AND Jean Ritchie. Soon after, the Pennywhistlers brought me my first dulcimer - a signed Genuine Martin from Swanannoa, North Carolina. I think it was the last one he made. It is a teardrop shape with a beautiful carved singing head. Its wooden tuning pegs, however, made it very difficult to keep in tune so it decorated my room for many years. In Jerusalem, much later, Susan Jennings brought me an absolutely tuneable dulcimer from California, and I began playing in earnest and so the dulcimer club grew. Last year I bought a McSpadden "Ginger" dulcimer and it adds much to our ensemble playing. Back to my first dulcimer now - thinking its difficulty in tuning was due to its extra long dimensions - am trying it out as a baritone and I am hopeful.
Judi Ganchrow -- Dulcimer music ala Jean Ritchie and Richard Farina was so appealing in the late 60's, I approached Leonard Glenn in North Carolina to make one for my husband on our 2nd anniversary. Its honored sleep on our piano was broken by Susan Jennings who gave me 2 official dulcimer lessons before she left (although she always tolerated my fumbling at her sessions). Recently, I have studied with Connie Allen (see above) whenever I'm in San Diego. I have been lucky to have a memorable workshop lesson with David Schnaufer at the Claremont Folk Festival, as well as be touched by numerous learning workshops from folks in the Southern California Dulcimer Heritage, San Diego Folk Heritage and Kindred Spirits.
Marc Gittleson -- Proud owner of hammered dulcimer. Meanwhile wild asset to all the dulcimer strings with his soprano, tenor, and great bass recorders as well as guitarone.
Ellie Goodman -- The only 9-year-old, left-handed dulcimer player in the group has recently commenced learning and hopes to be a regular member in the future.
Joshua Goodman -- Formerly the guitarist for the The Prairie Dulcimer Club in the Greater Kansas City area, and former owner of a hammered dulcimer. He doesn't play dulcimer, but lends color to the music with guitar or some such.
Susan Jennings (founder) -- (see above).
Ann Rahel Limor --made her first dulcimer in 1973 in a dulcimer making workshop taught by Lorraine Hammond in Cambridge, Mass. She became involved with the Dulcimer Society until 1998 when she moved to New Hampshire. Her daughter, Inbal (age 15), caught the dulcimer bug one afternoon at Judi's house and for the last 3 years has been taking lessons with Sandy Lafleur in New Hampshire. Inbal has decided that she wants to move on to hammered dulcimer this year. We wish her the best and can't wait to hear her play next time she's in Israel!
Dena Maltinsky -- I grew up with a beautiful dulcimer that my Dad had made hanging on the living room wall (Montreal, Canada). Subsequently I acquired a dulcimer and hung it on my wall here in Jerusalem. Susan Jennings was the driving force behind my taking the dulcimer down from the wall in 1998 and learning to play. Together with my buddies here we manage to have some strum fun and music, and I'm glad to have this wonderful opportunity to enter the folk music world.
Ada Moriel -- I got my dulcimer as a kit from Diane Kaplan who had it in her attic for quite some time. I put it together with Israel Roseman (a most gifted wood-craftsman, among many other specialties) from Clil. Laurie Ornstein came up and initiated me on this sweet (dulce) -sounding instrument- look forward to having you all up for a dulcimer event!
Laurie Ornstein -- Been singing for as long as I can remember and playing guitar since I was 12. Not long ago I met Judi Ganchrow and her dulcimers and decided I needed one, too. Thanks to the internet, I found a dusty dulcimer in Haifa....buried in a closet...not touched for years. And what a find! It was made by luthier Martin W. Jantzer in 1978 (#4) and I love it! Living 2 1/2 hours from Jerusalem I play mostly on my own to the local ibex in the canyon here at Sde Boker and enjoy playing together with the others when I'm up in the capital or when we retreat here to the south.
Suzanne Pomeranz is a native of North Carolina where her dulcimer currently resides. She discovered other dulcimer players at the IFS Sarona weekend and has joined us with gusto on a borrowed dulcimer, hoping to retrieve her own in the summer.
Deena Rockewitz -- It was love at first sight the first time Deena heard the dulcimer in the able hands of Susan Jennings who later became her teacher. Deena's grandfather, may he rest in peace, brought her a dulcimer from New York, but that wasn't enough. Because of limited right hand control due to mild right hemiparesis, an occupational therapist at Jerusalem's Shaarei Tzedek Hospital crafted a special pick screwed via a bolt and wingnut onto a tube-shaped handle (to grip in the palm of her hand), with a strap to hold her fingers in place. This allows full control of the pick so that she can strum the dulcimer freely. Deena would like to share her discovery of the dulcimer with more people with disabilities. The dulcimer provides a wonderful opportunity to enhance their lives by playing a musical instrument.
Judi, Laurie & Deena R.
Debbie Schwartz -- (see Tzora performers weblink). I've been playing the mountain dulcimer, which I acquired in a trade for a ceramic bowl I'd made and a watercolor I'd done, since round about 1977. I've been playing the hammered dulcimer since about 1981. I really wanted a lap harp, but there were none to be had in Israel at the time, and a friend was selling her HD so I bought it. As soon as I began playing it, I was hooked. I eventually got the harp, too (made it with the able assistance of Bill Dackman when we both worked for Harari Harps in 1987 - thanks Hararis!). I brought both dulcimers and the harp with me to New York where I reside now. The mountain dulcimer fits nicely into a corner of my tiny room, the harp sits out of the traffic zone near the bookcases, and the HD, when not being played helps to hold up the bed (thanks to that sturdy shipping case that came with it). I occasionally leave my lair to play in the local Irish sessions.
Margo Tepper-Schotz -- My dulcimer was made especially for me by David Fields, a mathematician from New Jersey, whom I met in the Philly folk scene during my university days. However, the dulcimer seems to have great difficulty coming unglued from my wall so for now I am a member by osmosis.
Judi, Dena M., Cyrelle & Susan