The National Music Museum is continuing their Brown Bag Lunch program with a free concert Jan. 27, featuring autonomous autoharpist Bryan Bowers.
Bowers is an autoharp master as well as a singer and songwriter.
An autoharp is a chorded zither with buttons that when depressed damp all strings except those to be sounded. The undamped strings being strummed to produce simple chords.
Gary Reeves, associate professor of music at the University of South Dakota, said the autoharp is used a great deal as a folk instrument.
“Its used for all sorts of American folk songs,” G. Reeves said. “It’s kind of a mainstay instrument.”
G. Reeves said this program, as well as the others offered at the National Music Museum, are quite varied.
“There’s really a wide variety of subject matter that they encompass,” G. Reeves said.
Deborah Reeves, curator of education at the National Music Museum, said she suspects Bowers has been professionally playing the autoharp for more than 30 years of his life.
“He (Bowers) has had a lot of different experiences at many venues and even colleges,” D. Reeves said.
Bowers was inducted into the Autoharp Hall of Fame in 1993.
D. Reeves said the National Music Museum decided to bring Bowers in for a performance because he has played a couple of times before at the National Music Museum.
“We know the type of music that he plays and we know he is a really fine performer,” D. Reeves said.
Bowers’ concert will include an explanation of the music he is playing but will mostly be a performance event, D. Reeves said.
D. Reeves said when a lot of people think of the autoharp they think of some kind of elementary instrument.
“Bowers plays it with a virtuoso,” D. Reeves said. “I have never heard an autoharp played like this before. It’s truly amazing.”
D. Reeves said attending the concert would be a beneficial event for anyone.
“I would highly recommend it,” D. Reeves said. “It is really neat to hear this kind of instrument.”
Reach reporter Payton Randle