Collins brings Striking Strings to Penn Yan May 4

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
Mitzie Collins (front, center) and other musicians who participate in the Striking Strings Ensemble at St. Michael Church May 4.

Mitzie Collins, noted hammered dulcimer player, and The Striking Strings Hammered Dulcimer Ensemble of the Eastman Community Music School, which she directs, will give a program titled “Springtime Music for the Hammered Dulcimer” at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 4 at St. Michael Church, 312 Liberty St., Penn Yan.    A freewill offering will be taken to benefit the Cobblestone Springs Center for Renewal near Dundee.    

The concert will feature a wide variety of music from traditions of England, Scotland, Brittany, Ireland, and Japan, as well as local dance tunes.  

The Striking Strings Ensemble was formed in 2008, and has quickly become a popular performing group in throughout the region.  They have also gained wider acclaim, with members performing at the 2011 Cimbalom World Association Congress in Budapest, Hungary, and at the Original Dulcimer Players Fun Fest in Evart, Mich., the biggest hammered dulcimer festival in the United States. Performance venues can be informal, such as community dances and farmers’ markets, or formal, such as Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music, and the chapel of the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse.  A special guest for this concert will be tenor Casey Costello of Rochester.  He won strong reviews from his performances at the Fringe Festival in Rochester in the Fall of 2013, and garnered standing ovations at Striking Strings’ Irish concerts in March.   

Striking Strings has 18 members – with more than a dozen performing at each concert. Each program is custom designed: an audience can count on having other instruments, such as the accordion, flute, penny whistle, fiddle, recorder, bass, and hurdy-gurdy, combine with the resonant hammered dulcimers.  Members of the group come from the entire upstate region – including Baldwinsville, Perry, Byron, Webster, Henrietta, Penfield, North Chili, Caledonia and Pittsford.  At the conclusion of all their concerts there is an interactive opportunity for audience members to play the instruments .         

Mitzie Collins has two degrees from the Eastman School of Music. She teaches Western music history and hammered dulcimer classes through the Eastman Community Music School.  She is one of the founding members of the Golden Link Folk Singing Society of Rochester, and has received several awards, including Musician of the Year 2014 by the Mu Phi Epsilon Alumna Chapter of Rochester. 

A freewill offering will be taken at the concert, with an informal reception afterwards.  For more information contact Cobblestone Springs at 607-243-8212 or Mitzie Collins at 585-747-1219 or visit www.samplerfolkmusic.com.

Be there

What: Sriking Strings Hammered Dulcimer Ensemble Concert

When: 3 p.m. May 4

Where: St. Michael Church, Penn Yan

Free Will Offering will benefit Cobblestone Springs