My  earliest  childhood  memory   is  sitting  on  my  Daddy’s shoulders  watching  a parade  in which many  of the  young people  from  our  church  (of  which  my Daddy was  pastor) were  marching  in the high school band. I’ve been told that I expressed  my  wholehearted  pleasure  by  exclaiming, “Daddy! I LIKE that noise!”

From  that  first musical experience I have arrived at a place in my life  in which music takes much of my time and energy. Because  my  mother  was  a  musician it seemed natural to follow in her footsteps and prepare for a career in music.

After many years   in  the public  school  music   classroom I then began  teaching and performing music on the  Hammer Dulcimer  and  Appalachian  Mountain  dulcimer  across  the USA and abroad. I’ve worked hard to sharpen and polish my skills.  I started  going  to festivals and attending workshops, and  my  hard  work  paid off after several years when I won both   the  Texas   and   the   Southern   Regional   Hammer Dulcimer Championships. I auditioned and was accepted as a  performing  artist  under  the  auspices  of  both  Young Audiences and the Texas Commission For the Arts.

Let  me  give  you  a  little  background about how I truly got interested  in playing  the dulcimer:  I married  Chuck Carter, and though we were living in Houston we went on a vacation trip  to  Chuck’s  hometown,  Asheville NC, and attended the Bascomb  Lamar  Lunsford  Folk  Festival.  I was absolutely captivated by the music  of the mountains!  We soon owned our own Mt. dulcimer,  and a few years later it was joined by a Hammer Dulcimer.

In the 70’s  we  left  Houston  and  moved  to  Asheville,  NC where  I  became  Choral  Director at North Buncombe High School.  While living in Asheville we  attended  the Southern Highlands  Handicraft  Guild  Fair   and   somewhere  in  the distance  I heard the most intriguing sound  I’d  ever  heard. 
Following  the sound I discovered Jerry Read Smith  and the hammer dulcimer. Jerry explained the basics and soon I was playing  a  few  simple tunes   and  of  course  we  placed an order for a hammer dulcimer before we left. 

Within  a  few  months  I  was  playing  a  beautifully  crafted instrument  which  Jerry  designed  and  built.   I believe it is the most beautiful dulcimer I have ever seen. A curator from The North Carolina State Museum saw  it while it was still in Jerry’s shop and asked if  he would make another just like it to place in the Museum. 

The  popularity  of  the  hammer  dulcimer in  that part of the country  allowed  me  the  opportunity  to  begin playing solo performances for churches and  community events including Shindig-On-The-Green.  Western North Carolina  was  a  big influence   on   my   musical   development  with   many  rich experiences  listening   to   and   playing   with   some   very
excellent  old  time players,  including  Chuck’s  Uncle Elmer Carter  who  played the fiddle  and his cousin Bo Carter who played banjo.  (Bo’s son continues the tradition  and plays in a bluegrass band in Asheville.)

On a trip to  Grandfather Mountain  near Boone, NC.  Chuck and  I noticed a small sign  on the side of the road  that said, “Bluegrass Tonight!”   We followed the signs  up  a mountain road.  We asked  who was playing  and were told that it was just  some  local musicians.  We were surprised  to find  that Doc  Watson  from  Deep  Gap, NC  was one  of the locals. I was asked to sit in and play, and I learned some great tunes from  Doc  Watson.  One  of  the  tunes,  “Pear Tree” can  be found on my lesson page.

We  moved  back  to Houston, Texas in the ‘80s and I took a teaching  job  as  a  middle school choral director.  I realized what  a  great  tool  the dulcimer is  to teach musical skills to young   people    and  in  1990   I  secured  a  grant   to  buy dulcimers  for  the  students  in  my  middle  school  General Music  classes.   My  students  performed  for  other  school groups  in  our  district  and  even began  getting  invitations  to perform for many events all around Houston.

For ten years  I used  dulcimers in my general music classes and  helped  some  of  the  elementary  music  teachers  get started  with  the  dulcimers  in  their  schools.  My  dulcimer students  and  Mixed Choir  produced  two  videos  featuring their  singing  and playing.  After my dulcimer class received so much recognition  I was invited for the next three years to be a presenter on using the dulcimer in the classroom at the Texas  Music  Teachers’ Convention.  Today there are many music  teachers  throughout  Texas  using  dulcimers in their music classes. Cont'd at Right...
While continuing to teach full time I began writing dulcimer and  choral arrangements  and  some original music which my  students   performed.   My  choral  arrangements   are today being published  by BriLee Publishing Co. a division of Carl Fisher Publishers.

I sang in the Houston Symphony Chorus and continued to perform   with   my  dulcimer.. . In  Germany,  Austria,  The Czeck Republic and  twice in Ireland. Over the last several years,  I have performed and taught workshops all the way from   Florida  to  California,  and  from  North  Carolina  to North Idaho.

My  husband  Chuck and I  joined  the North Harris County Dulcimer Society  and  enjoyed playing with other dulcimer players. In order to increase  our opportunities to play with other  acoustic  musicians  we  formed  the  Houston Area Acoustic  Music  Society  (HAAMS),  and  put  together the Summer  Acoustic  Music  Festival   (SAMFest. organizing “Strings  and  Things”  a  folk  ensemble made up of many acoustic  instruments, and  we  also organized  a  monthly acoustic  showcase  and  jam  session   at Hickory Hollow 
Barbecue Restaurant  in Houston.  We even organized an acoustic  music  tour  to  Ireland   and  dulcimer  cruise  to Cozumel. 

I have taught the hammer dulcimer at Houston Community College,  and  North Harris  County College.  I  also  teach private  lessons  at  my  home  and  offer  correspondence lessons  to many who have  no teacher available.  Several of  my  students  enjoy  dulcimer  competitions  and one of them,    Josh  Messick,   won    the   Texas  state  hammer dulcimer championship  when  he  was  only  15 years old, and then  at  18  he won  the  National  Hammer  Dulcimer Championship.

Since  dulcimers   are   hard  to  find  at  music  stores  we started  a small business to provide these instruments and accessories   for  my  students  in  the  Houston  area.  We expanded  our  business  by going to festivals  as vendors and  we offer our instruments on line, along with my books and Cds. 

Currently,  I enjoy  playing  in two bands  which feature the hammer   dulcimer.....  ”The Merry Waits of  Windsor”  and “Texas Bound”. We play dance music for Ceilidhs, Socials, Balls  and  Festivals  in and around Houston.  We’ve been featured  on  stage  at  the  Houston  Livestock Show  and Rodeo,  the  Texas  Folk  Life  Festival in San Antonio and the   Kerrville  Arts  &  Crafts  Fair.   In  addition   we  have performed  at  several  Ranching  Heritage  Festivals  and Country Peddler Shows throughout Texas and Louisianna. For  ten  years  we  performed on stage at Home-For-The-Holidays in Old-Town Spring, and  other festivals,  and  for 18  years   we’ve  played  at  Dickens  On  The  Strand  in Galveston.

Singing and playing the hammer dulcimer for shut-ins and at  nursing  homes and retirement communities keeps me busy.  We’re  still  enjoying  traveling  all  across the US to teach  and  perform  at  dulcimer  festivals,  churches  and community  events.  My  day  is filled with teaching private lessons  and  preparing  web  lessons  for members of my Dulcimer Circle. 

Besides music, I also love to paint, love photography. I like to cook, but don't have much time for that pursuit.  Yes,the love I felt when first introduced to the dulcimer is still very much alive for me..
Find out more about APeggy Carter by visiting her Website, Following her on Facebook, YouTube, or LinkedIn 


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