Around Town: Hammering away at a record

July 25, 2004|ANNABEL GIRARD

How many hammered dulcimers does it take to break a record?

Last weekend, Conrad Shiba of Danville played one of 271 hammered dulcimers as part of an effort to break the world's record during the Annual Dulcimer Musical Funfest in Evart, Mich.

A weekend of rain may have been the reason the group was unable to have 303 players, the number needed to set a new record.

The performance by 271 still was impressive, Shiba said. "That's 16,820 strings being struck by hammers. Talk about instruments of mass vibration!"


The good news of the weekend was that the rain did hold off for the performance. Nine songs were played including "Golden Slippers" and the national anthem.

The players will string along their hopes until 2005 when another attempt will be made.

The festival wasn't just for dulcimers. Other instruments included the Irish bouzouki and the hurdy-gurdy. Just in case you wondered, the bouzouki is a stringed instrument from Greece that came to Ireland in the 1960s. The hurdy-gurdy is described as an instrument that sounds like a cross between a fiddle and a bagpipe. The shape resembles a violin, but it has keys and a crank.

Shiba was a member of the Raggedy Robin Band, which has disbanded (his pun.). He now performs solo, primarily on guitar, banjo and hammered dulcimer.

When Shiba isn't keeping his instruments straight, he daylights as a chemistry professor at Centre College.

Hectic month at Elmwood Inn

July has been a hectic month at the Elmwood Inn in Perryville. Owners Bruce and Shelley Richardson are closing the tearoom to devote more time to book publishing and the retail store that is on Merchants Row.

Tea withdrawal began early, he said. Pleas are coming in for reservations, but all spots are booked through the end of the month with about 50 people on the waiting list for each day.

"I think we've created a culture of tea-dependents!"

Devotees have covered the miles for that last sip of tea. A family of four flew in from Iowa. Nine "tea-addicts" drove over from Norfolk, Va.

Richardson interview in USA Today

An interview with Bruce Richardson was in Friday's USA Today. "Tea: The 'affordable luxury' drink."

Richardson has the credentials. He and wife, Shelley, have published books about tea at Elmwood Inn and books about noted tearooms around the world. He also gives tea seminars across the country and is working with British tea expert Jane Pettigrew on "The Tea Companion," a connoisseur's guide to teas.

The article covers just about everything you would want to know about tea including the tip that white tea is becoming the latest trend in tea favorites. Richardson said the increasing popularity means more is being grown, which will help bring down the price, which runs four to five times the cost of regular tea.

You can read the full interview at

Contact Me

To share your pet peeves or random acts of kindness, write me at The Advocate-Messenger, P.O. Box 149, Danville 40423; e-mail to; or call 236-4667 or (800)428-0409.

Central Kentucky News Articles