"They (The Barnstormers) are international favorites ... this is good homemade music designed to set your feet to tapping"
Dulcimer Players News (May, 2007)
“I wanted you to know how much we appreciated you kindly taking the time from your busy schedule to be our guest speaker last week at the Art’s Council annual meeting. Thank you for sharing your insights on the role of the arts in our lives. Your remarks were perfectly selected for the occasion. I hope you felt, as I did, that you were warmly received. Thanks, too, for treating us to some beautiful tunes.
Best wishes and good luck with all your musical journeys."
Chris Glatfelter, Executive Director
Chris Glatfelter, Director, Adams County Arts Council - Personal Letter (Mar 15, 2007)
ACAC meeting to feature Jolin
The Adams County Arts Council’s Annual Membership Meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 6, in the Refectory of the Gettysburg Lutheran Theological Seminary. ACAC members and the public are invited to attend.
Folk musician and instrument maker, Tom Jolin will be the Art’s for a Lifetime guest speaker. Jolin was one of the original organizers and served on the first Arts Council board of directors.
Jolin plays traditional American music, mixing vocals with the hammer dulcimer, banjo, button accordion, harmonica and more. He has produced eight recordings. 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, active from 1972 through 1987 recorded two albums on Revonah Records, as well as several short historic folk music segments for National Public Radio.
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. The music from these two groups was archived in a three CD set called Traditional Music from Orrtanna, with funding provided the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Adams County Arts Council. Copies reside with Folkways Smithsonian, the Pennsylvaniaa State Library, the William Penn Museum and the Adams County Historical Society.
Currently, Jolin plays as a solo and in two music ensembles. One ensemble is a duet with Catharine Roth called Orrtanna. Tom and Slim Harrison, The Barnstormers, have played together since 1980. They perform traditional American music and offer dance calling. Notably, The Barnstormers played for Vice President Al Gore in 1995 and at the Vijandi Folk Music Festival in Estonia in 2006.
Jolin has been a solo performer since 1978 and released a solo CD in 2003 called “Civilian,” a mix of old time and civil war tunes. His solo performances are loaded with humor – sometimes intentionally.
He is also an instrument builder. He specializes in the hammer dulcimer, the mountain dulcimer, and the bowed psaltery. He is a rostered artist for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and a Pennsylvania Humanities Council Commonwealth speaker/performer. He is a sought after Artist in Residence by Pennsylvania schools, having done over 30 Artist in Residence programs.
Gettysburg Times, Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Gettysburg Times (Feb 28, 2007)
WAYNESBORO – Music is spilling into the hallways of St. Andrew School all month long courtesy of a music program led by musician and instrument maker Tom Jolin.
Jolin, a Pennsylvania Council for the Arts artist, will help students experience instrument making, singing, instrumental performances, dancing and song writing during the program.
The 15-day residency will culminate with a concert for the public …
All the school’s 126 students in kindergarten through sixth grade will be involved in the residency.
Jolin will lead the students in the construction of a mountain dulcimer and a bowed psaltery, which will remain in the school and be used for future music education.
Students will make and sign their own instruments and crafts to keep, including limberjacks, musical spoons and rope tricks.
A selected group of children will take intensive lessons on the dulcimer and psaltery to play during the final performance.
All students will learn at least one folk dance for the performances. The dances are from Ireland, and the United States, including African American and American Indian traditions.
Students will write new word to the traditional slavery abolition song “Ride that Chariot,” identifying modern day events that enslave our society.
Anna Lee Pesnell, a fourth grader, was looking forward to learning how to make instruments and play them.
“That’s not something you get to do every day. It’s a once in a life time experience,” added classmate Connor Shepard.
“You get to use your math skills with all the measuring (making the instrument),” said John Whittington, who feels a special connection to folk music – his late grandfather, Ray Hockenberry, played the banjo.
The program is a great way for the students to connect to the past, according to Jolin of Gettysburg.
“We can’t leave it behind,” noted Jolin, who plays traditional American music and has produced eight recordings.
“To borrow a cliché, our country moves so fast we don’t have a soul. It’s important to remember where we came from.”
Music has universal appeal, said Jolin, who in addition to building instruments, plays as a solo musician and in two ensembles.
The project was supported by the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA), the regional arts funding partnership of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency.
State government funding comes through an annual appropriation by Pennsylvania’s General Assembly and from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
PPA is administered in this region by the Council for the Arts in Chambersburg.
Nancy Mace - Waynesboro Record Herald (Feb 5, 2007)
The Barnstormers – the duet of Slim Harrison and Tom Jolin – will celebrate the release of their newest CD “Promenade Home” this weekend at Gallery 30 and Frederick Cellars. Slim and Tom teamed up over 25 years ago to perform traditional, old timey, American folk music. Slim plays fiddle, banjo, guitar, mountain dulcimer, harmonica and more. Tom plays the hammer dulcimer, banjo, button accordian, guitar, harmonica, bowed psaltery and more. They both sing. Known for their high energy performances and versatility on many instruments, they are real crowd pleasers. “promenade Home” features rollicking fiddle/banjo tunes, old American folk songs from the 1800’s, reflective traditional airs and some hammer dulcimer barn burners. Slim even throws in some dance calls from time to time, hense, “Promenade Home.”
The Frederick News Post
December 7, 2006