The group draws from the Washington, DC Metropolitan area, coming to Virginia from as far away as Columbia, Maryland. Skill levels range from beginner to advanced. Each get-together has a different "flavor" depending on which members attend a particular meeting. We are an informal group and try to include opportunities for players of all skill levels to participate. Some members play other instruments, such as bass, fiddle, guitar, and flute. The group meets at a public library. To develop a common repertoire, a tune is distributed for the group to learn and play at each meeting. The group may also review tunes from previous meetings. Our "library" binder has copies of many of the tunes we play, so take a copy home with you to learn. The tunes played include American fiddle tunes, waltzes, Celtic airs, hornpipes, and reels, and a variety of other instrumental music. The group is not limited to hammer dulcimer players; other compatible acoustic instrument players are welcome too.
Check this website for the tunes for the next meeting and recent past meetings, a list of some tunes we have played, meeting dates, and library location. Just drop in at a meeting, or if you have a questions send them to Hilary.
A bit of history --
There was a group named H.A.N.D.S. (Hammers and Noters Dulcimer Society) convened by Fred Bird from MD at his church, Knox Presbyterian Church in Silver Spring. That's where Ellie learned to play HD in a jam-like setting (no music handouts and not much "starting out slowly" as she recalls.) The group was going strong when she joined. It met at least quarterly, but it could have been bi-monthly. Then the frequency started to drop. Fred wanted to pursue other interests. So Ellie decided to at least keep the HD players going. She asked Fred if she could start a group using the same name, but he was not quite ready to let it go. So she dubbed it with the the NVHDP name and found space to meet in the Fairfax libraries. The first jam was about January 14, 1995. As it turned out, the last H.A.N.D.S. jam was April 9, 1995. Ellie developed a mailing list and sent out a notice for the jams. The first Tune of the Month was sent in June 1995. The notice developed into a one-page newsletter and was mailed along with the Tune of the Month each time. That continued until she built the first website on Prodigy in July 2002. The last printed newsletter was June 2003. Then there was a switch when the service provider Prodigy shut down and Ellie set one up on Google in April or so of 2011. For the most part, the group has met at the Dolley Madison library in Fairfax. The library was shut down for refurbishment in 2010 and reopened in July 2011 and the group performed a concert for the reopening. (pictures on our Home page). (prepared by Pete Lunt)
Update: Ellie retired as convenor and organizer of the group at the end of 2014 and now just participates like everyone else. Hilary Davies has taken the reins and is leading the group forward, with the support of group "regulars." Here is a photo of Ellie at the "retirement" party the NVHDPlayers surprised her with in early 2015.
Summer 2016 update: Hilary Davies did an excellent job of keeping the group going, giving us nice new tunes to learn, and leading the monthly sessions. Unfortunately for us, she has returned to England, her home country. She will probably encourage us to cross the pond to participate in some dulcimer events over there. Meanwhile, we are still going and Justin O'Dell has agreed to take the lead and keep us together for learning and playing music and enjoying each other's company while doing it.