A Mountain Filled With Music
by Paul Adam Smeltz on Tuesday, August 21, 2012 at 12:42pm ·
The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain (PCOM) in Delaware Water Gap, PA presented another installment in their 2012 series of Summer Gazebo Concerts on Sunday August 19th featuring The Wayfarers and Company. A variety of musical instruments such as Banjos, Guitars, an Upright Bass, a Flute, Mandolins, Violins, Dulcimers, and objects I have no idea what they’re called filled the small outdoor performance area. Luckily, there were musicians who shared the stage who not only knew the name of every instrument, but knew how to play them as well. These musicians were Norm Williams, Bob Mallalieu, Amanda Parker, John James, and Carol Walker.
Their familiarity and expertise with the instruments as well as the gentle love for the music they performed filled the lawn and its denizens with, as Church member and host George Munn stated in his introduction, “Some call it ‘Mountain Music,’ some call it ‘Appalachian Music,’ some even call it ‘ol’ time music’, but most just call it ‘Good Music.’” And, good music it was as The Wayfarers and Company performed a range of musical styles reflecting that of a bygone era when people settled in their homes to entertain each other with their self crafted instruments, their thoughtful voices, and the profound love they had for one another.
The Wayfarers and Company performance not only echoed the times their songs reflected but recreated it in the hearts of all who gathered at the Gazebo. By the time the concert came to a conclusion and the sun began its journey to the other side of the world, a sense of home was created and lingered on in many long after the final setting. You’ll be able to find more photographs taken during The Wayfarers and Company concert in The PCOM 2012 Gallery at http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151016062390421.483748.636000420&type=1.
The Wayfarers and Company began around 20 years ago when Norm Williams and Bob Mallalieu met in Analomink, PA while attending a neighborhood Bible study picnic. They began talking about music while munching on hamburgers which led to their participation in a Christian band titled, “Pure Water Supply.” Their friendship, faith, and love for good music later led them to form Wayfarers and Company with the musicians previously mentioned in this article. Together and separately, they perform in numerous festivals and hold workshops for the instruments they play especially for those interested in the Dulcimer. You can learn more about Wayfarers and Company by Exploring their Website at http://www.wayfarersandco.net.
According to their website, The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain is “… a community of disciples illuminated by God’s love who care for others spiritually, emotionally, physically, and financially as we explore new avenues of grace and grow in faith through worship and service.” In an endeavor to manifest the goals of this statement, they hold weekly services every Sunday beginning at 10am, providing a hostel for those hikers who travel along the Appalachian Trail as well as holding a Hikers’ Dinner every Thursday evening throughout the Summer Months to replenish their energies, supporting the Kenyan village of Amilo by providing a school feeding program for 15 orphans, a well, housing, and simple medical care and information to the villagers, and by sharing a partnership with the Reformed Church located in Cardenaz, Cuba. They also support the local Fire Company and Women’s Resources Center as well as provide community aid funds for residents who are suffering economic burdens. The size of the congregation is approximately 200 people.
The Summer Gazebo Concert Series began in 1990 and is presented every Sunday evening throughout the Summer months until the end of August in order to support the local musicians and provide a venue where all ages could learn to appreciate Jazz and acoustic music. In reflection of Delaware Water Gap, PA being considered a Mecca for Jazz, the concerts has a great number of Jazz performances in their schedule. However, all musical styles are showcased during the summer which includes Blue Grass and Classical Music. The final installment in The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain Summer Gazebo Concert Series for 2012 is scheduled for Sunday August 26th featuring Skip Detrick, Matt Abell, and Regina Sayles. The concert is free to the public and begins at 6pm. Please Explore The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain Facebook Page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Presbyterian-Church-of-the-Mountain/234593743269661 for more information.
Paul Adam Smeltz
Got this note following the Albany Mountain Dulcimer Festival:
“Hi Norm ...
I picked up your Trimmed and Burning CD at the Albany festival and haven’t stopped playing it since. I especially love the song where you play your bass dulcimer. If you asked which song was my favorite, I would have an answer. I love them all. Wow.
All the songs are fabulous and I find myself singing along in my car all the time when I play them.
Let me know when you put out another CD!”
Well, now that I’ve actually had a chance to listen to Trimmed & Burning, I can safely say that it completely lives up to my expectations for it (to put it mildly). This is flat-out delightful. Great arrangements, terrific recorded sound, outstanding performances, and a wonderful mix of some familiar tunes with new (to me) discoveries.
The vocals are just as tight as they can be throughout, and I love the a cappella spots on “West Virginia, My Home,” “Oil in My Vessel,” and of course especially “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks”—very classy!
I also noted some pretty fancy dulcimer playing on “Banks of the Ohio,” “Oil in My Vessel,” and “Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior” (great dulcimer ensemble work there!)
You should all be right proud. This is a wonderful CD. Vacant Chair has been at the top of my listening list for this style of music and repertoire for the past 5 years; I’m happy to put Trimmed & Burning right there beside it (well, maybe on top!). Wayfarers & Company should be a featured band at every festival on the old-time music circuit.
Thanks for the great music!
Bill Collins, Dulcimer player & author of great arrangements - Wilmington, DE
Congrats, Norm and all Wayfarers and Company, on the new CD release! I’ll be ordering “Trimmed and Burning” tomorrow. If it’s anything remotely as good as your previous CD, “Vacant Chair,” it’ll be terrific.
It looks as though you’ve also scored with another superb piece of cover art. Dulcimer-list readers, WF&Co may be the only band with album covers that are worth the price of the CD all by themselves. The cover art is stunning, but the good news is that in this situation, you actually CAN “tell a book by its cover,” because the music more than lives up to it.
Bill Collins - Dulcimer Player - Baltimore
We really enjoyed our performance at ESU. Great group!
Doyle and Debbie Nelson, Minisink Hills, PA
Thank you for your gift of time and talent to the Salvation Army. The music was wonderful and everyone enjoyed the various talent the night presented. Your donation of time and talent helped raise funds to enable us to meet needs.
Thomas S. Babbitt, Captain, E. Stroudsburg, PA
I purchased a CD at your concert and enjoy it immensely. Thank you!
Jan Macmillan, Stroudsburg, PA
Thanks so much for your expeditious response to my CD order. To say I am pleased with the product is an understatement…this CD is good stuff. Instead of a competitive definition of each individual performer, you all appear to perform complementary to the other, producing a rich and warm blend of voices and instruments in the process, and evoking a sense of comfort and peace in the listener. I’d like to order 4 more copies. Thanks for the music.
Lela Buchanan, E. Stroudsburg, PA
Editor, the Record ( Poconorecord.com ) :
Wayfarers and Company, a gospel and folk ensemble, presented a delightful performance to a very appreciative audience at East Stroudsburg University recently. With nuance of note and wisdom of word, they conveyed a depth of passion for this genre of music equal to the best found anywhere. Thoughtful programming, sensitive interpretation, and skillful execution seem to be their forte. Their material exposed a quieter, gentler side of life.
Their appearance was heralded by a Pocono Record article accompanied by an artistically composed photo on page one of the second section of the newspaper’s Nov. 11 edition. On page one of the first section of the same edition was a photo of a man we all know, caught in a stance with his arm upraised. The contrast here merits comment:
The Wayfarers and Company’s signature song, as expressed graphically and beautifully on the group’s CD cover, is the “Vacant Chair,” which tells the tale of a Civil War soldier killed in battle never again to be present at the family’s Thanksgiving table, hence, the vacant chair. I am sadly reminded of over 2,000 chairs that will be vacant this Thanksgiving in homes throughout the nation.
Lest some be inclined to read more into this letter than what is intended, save the rebuttal for someone more threatening than me. For I too, am a simple wayfarer in this journey through life. Hoping, no, praying to reach its conclusion with the humility, dignity, and grace imbued in these simple, poignant songs. Thanks and blessings be to Wayfarers and Company.
Ralph S. Harrison, Stroudsburg, PA
I just got the cd in today’s mail. What a dandy release! You folks
have it all, interesting and varied arrangements, lots of
instrumentation to draw from, and really wonderful singers doing
beautiful harmonies! Plus, there’s a tangible feeling in the recording,
that you’all love what you’re doing, and are having a great time doing
it. Love it!!!
Thanks for sending in your music to the radio station.