On April 16, 2011, nineteen intrepid members of the Capital ‘Harpers Autoharp Club (CHAC) braved strong winds and heavy rainfall to attend an outstanding workshop and concert performed by John and Heidi Cerrigione at the home of John and Mary Dettra in McLean, Virginia. This was the seventh in our series of combined workshop/concert events presented in memory of Michael King, a former member of CHAC who was the 2009 posthumous inductee in the Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering Hall of Fame. Our earlier presentations were by Neal and Coleen Walters, John and Kathie Hollandsworth, Bryan Bowers, Mike and Rachel Fenton, Charles Whitmer, and Ivan and Nancy Styles.
Each of these events follows the same agenda—a three-hour afternoon workshop followed by a potluck dinner and an evening concert.
For their workshop and to the delight of the participants, John and Heidi focused on songs by Hank Williams; the group thoroughly enjoyed learning to sing and play I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry; I Saw the Light; Jambalaya; Move It On Over; Hey, Good Lookin’; Kaw-Liga; Let’s Turn Back the Years; Your Cheatin’ Heart; I Can’t Help It; and Why Don’t You Love Me. For the first hour or so of the workshop, John took the beginning players to a separate room to give them basic help with the songs, and then all 19 played together in the Dettras’ large music room.
Following the delicious and plentiful pot-luck dinner, John and Heidi performed two musical sets for an audience of 25 persons including some spouses. Both sets consisted of numerous groups of 3 songs or tunes, each group using the same combination of two instruments. Thus, in the first group John played guitar and Heidi autoharp; in the second group John played guitar and Heidi played hammered dulcimer; then both switched to autoharp; next John on autoharp and Heidi on mountain dulcimer; and finally John on banjo and Heidi on autoharp, and so on…all in all, an interesting demonstration of fine instrumental duet playing as well as singing. The total repertoire is too lengthy to list here, nor can I begin to list all my personal favorites. You can hear most if not all of the songs on their several CDs.