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Performance and Instruction, Dulcimers & Autoharp

Enjoy traditional and contemporary Celtic, Great Lakes and Appalachian folk music from award-winning musician and singer Wanda Degen. She presents an educational and entertaining program featuring the autoharp and hammered and mountain dulcimers. Specializing in participatory family concerts, she performs for preschoolers, senior citizens and all ages in between.

Wanda is an experienced and patient instructor, having taught hundreds of dulcimer students in many different settings. She teaches private lessons at Elderly Instruments, an internationally renowned music store in Lansing where she has taught since 1978. Wanda is a favorite guest in the children's area and workshop tents at several folk festivals in Michigan, including the Hiawatha Music Festival in Marquette, the Bliss Fest in Cross Village and the Wheatland Music Festival in Remus.

Wanda performs as a soloist and also in the duo The Catbird Seat with Kay Rinker-O'Neil.

Concerts can be based around the following themes:

  • Dulcimer Days - A blend of contemporary & traditional Celtic, Folk, Great Lakes & Vintage Pop Music. A lively, interactive mix of songs, instrumental selections & musical history.
  • A Celtic Kaleidoscope - Traditional & contemporary music from Ireland, England & Scotland. Presenting both the softer side of Celtic music through beautiful waltzes, ballads & airs, and the lively side through upbeat jigs & songs. All-Irish in March for St. Pat’s Day/Week celebrations.
  • Michigan in Song - A history of the Great Lakes region through music. Featuring logging, sailing, & farming songs. Includes a Swedish folk song from Wanda’s Scandinavian heritage; concludes with an audience-based volunteer rhythm band accompaniment to Down on the Farm. Michigan’s Statehood Day is in January; Michigan Week is celebrated every May.
  • Sentimental Journey - A Folk/Pop musical stroll through the decades. From the early 1900's into the 1980's. Swings songs, Cowboy songs, Billboard’s Top Ten songs; Peace & Love songs. Easy choruses with many opportunities to sing along. With limits, lyric sheets can be provided.
  • Sweet Sounds for the Holidays - Seasonal & Christmas songs & tunes for all-ages to enjoy. Featuring both traditional carols & popular holiday standards with a mix of history, musical warmth & fun.
  • Hands-On Mountain Dulcimer - Simple & unique, the mountain dulcimer is a 3 or 4-stringed instrument that is fun & easy to learn to play melodies on. This introductory workshop provides up to a dozen dulcimers for attendees’ use. Ideally for 10-24 participants, groups larger than 12 will require some to partner up & share a dulcimer. Learn several songs in a 30-60 minute lesson.