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Kindred Spirits

Updated: Jan 30, 2022

I learned a lot from doing the research for this bio, and probably the most significant thing I learned was that--starting in his youth--David Schnaufer deliberately sought out people who were as passionate about making music as he was. The kind of people he connected with all had at least one thing in common: they encouraged and helped newcomers whenever they found kindred spirits. COUNTLESS people did this, and still do.

Permission to reproduce courtesy Bob Force. Visit to learn more. Photo courtesy of Rick Freimuth.

It is striking to contemplate that simple fact in this day and age when there seems to be so much anger, resentment and lack of politeness filters when people communicate with each other, especially in public forums. My hope is that people soon will get weary of the nastiness. I believe making music together can change everything.

Dulcimer people have a reputation for being supportive and kind. I've seen enough music makers at the grass-roots level now to know that when we make music with others, it's important to never take that experience--that joyful, non-verbal communication--for granted.

The ground-breaking Pacific Rim Songbook is described in Pluck, and the people depicted on the cover are one such group of people. They were already at the top of their game during the Dulcimer Boom of the Seventies; they would pave the way and make room for other kindred spirits who felt the power of music for decades to come. Bonnie Carol, Bob Force, Neal Hellman all influenced David Schnaufer, and vice-versa. Their spirit of generosity and willingness to share makes life a win-win for everyone. If you've always wished you could play an instrument, but let doubt get into the way, look for a dulcimer club in your community; put on your mask, and don't be afraid to go have a listen. Be prepared to fall in love with the sound, and to meet a lot of very nice people.

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