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Thomas Jolin -
Musician/Instrument Builder/Artist in Residence
"The Gift..... bringing happiness to people through music".... Celebrate Gettysburg Magazine of Tom Jolin, January 2008
Tom Jolin plays traditional American music, mixing vocals with the hammer dulcimer, banjo, button accordion, harmonica and more. He has produced eight recordings.
Tom has been a solo performer since 1978, performing a mix of traditional Americana, old timey and civil war tunes. His solo performances are loaded with humor… sometimes intentionally.
In 2007 he was the Arts for a Lifetime Speaker for the Adams County Arts Council. We was also solo performer for the Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Millenium Lecture, which honored Pulitzer Prize winner, John Updike.
He is also an instrument builder. He specializes in the hammer dulcimer, the mountain dulcimer, and the bowed psaltery. His instruments are heard on his albums.
He is a rostered artist for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and a past Pennsylvania Humanities Council Commonwealth Speaker/ Performer. He is a sought after Artist in Residence by Pennsylvania schools, having done over 70 Artist in Residence programs.
He was a founding member of The West Orrtanna String Band, a six-member ensemble specializing in old timey string band music from Southern Appalachia. The band was active from 1972 through 1987 and recorded two albums on Revonah Records as well as several short historic folk music segments for National Public Radio. They performed for a variety of venues and traveled from New York to Virginia.
From 1987 to 1998 he performed with the Orrtanna Mountain Steamers, a three-piece ensemble that played a more eclectic style of music reflecting Tom’s new interest in the hammer dulcimer and button accordion. They produced two recordings in 1989 and 1991. The music from these two groups was archived in a 3 CD set called Traditional Music from Orrtanna, with funding provided by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the National Endowments for the Arts, and the Adams County Arts Council. Copies reside with Folkways Smithsonian, the Pennsylvania State Library, the William Penn Museum, and the Adams County Historical Society.
From 1998 to 2009 he performed with Catharine Roth in a duet called ORRTANNA. These two musicians had played together since 1974 and had one recording called “You’ve Been a Friend to Me,” released in 1999.
Tom and Slim Harrison, The Barnstormers, have played together since 1980. They perform traditional American music and offer dance calling. They play for a wide variety of events, from folk festivals to schools to weddings. Notably, The Barnstormers played for Vice President Al Gore in 1995 and at the Vijandi Folk Music Festival in Estonia in 2006. They performed at the 2007 Bethlehem (PA) Musikfest and for 2008 Germany performances at the Moelln Fest, plus another major German festival, Rudolstadt Festival, plus German schools. They are frequently joined by the award winning RockCandy Cloggers, adding dazzling footwork to The Barnstormers performances. Rock Howland and Candy Ranlet also teach clogging and play; Candy on string bass/concertina/jaws harp and Rock on the fiddle. The Barnstormers have 2006 recording called “Promenade Home.” This foursome has a busy concert schedule including many school and the Common Ground on the Hill Festival in 2009 and 2010.
Tom and his wife Marianne, have five children and reside in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
1978 – Present. Solo performer specializing in traditional Americana, old timey, and Civil War era music.
1994 – Present. Rostered artist for Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, performing for school audiences throughout Pennsylvania and serving extended periods as a visiting artist in residence for more than 70 residencies; leading students in the building of musical instruments, traditional dance, folksong writing, musical instruction.
1980 – Present. The Barnstormers with Slim Harrison, traditional duet.
2005 – Present. The Barnstormers and RockCandy Cloggers
1999 – 2009 Orrtanna with Catharine Roth, traditional duet
2005 – 2008 Performer/presenter for the Pennsylvania Humanities Council on subjects of Traditional American Folk Music and Civil War Music.
1987 – 1998. Founding member of the Orrtanna Mountain Steamers, a 3 piece ensemble specializing in old timey, traditional American music.
1972 – 1987. Founding member of the West Orrtanna String Band, a 6 piece ensemble specializing in the string band music of the Southern Appalachian Mountains.
1976: West Orrtanna String Band: “The West Orrtanna String Band.” Revonah Records, NY
1978: West Orrtanna String Band: “An Orrtanna Home Companion.” Revonah Records, NY
1989: Orrtanna Mountain Steamers: “Steam.” RFX1 Studio, Gettysburg, PA
1991: Orrtanna Mountain Steamers: “Wonderment.” Oasis Studio, College Park, MD
1999: Orrtanna: “You’ve Been a Friend to Me.” Stable Studio, Chambersburg, PA
2003: Tom Jolin: “Civilian.” Noteworthy Studio, Gettysburg, PA
2005: Archival Set of WOSB & OMS: “Traditional music from Orrtanna.” Noteworthy Studio, Gettysburg, PA. This is a three CD archival set preserved through funding from the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Adams County Arts Council. This preservation project has copies residing at Folkways/Smithsonian, Pennsylvania State Library, William Penn Museum, and Adams County Historical Society.
2006: Barnstormers: “Promenade Home” RockCandy Studio, Mt. Airy, MD
2011: Tom Jolin “Of the People” Civil War era music. RockCandy Studio, Mt. Airy, MD