March 9, 2011

Dear friends,

Lately Iíve had a number of people point out that this website is long over-due for an update. Hereís whatís been keeping me otherwise occupied!

In the fall of 2002 I was finally diagnosed with Parkinsonís disease, after 6+ years of dealing with a body that just wasnít behaving. Touring and playing instruments had become increasingly difficult. The past nine years have been spent learning how to best use what Iíve got.

So what am I doing? Whatever the day and my body dictates! I have to be careful with how I spend my energy. Iím doing well and most days feel pretty good. However, one of the most important keys for maintaining the fullest function possible is to keep commitments to a minimum. Therefore I am no longer touring. I still do a few carefully chosen local performances Ė not full concerts Ė but a song here and there, mostly in benefits. At this point we still put on our annual Holiday concert each year, in Camden, Maine, the first Sunday of December.

I very much enjoy teaching private guitar and mountain dulcimer students. Iím still writing songs and tunes and creating choral arrangements. I continue to produce recordings for Gordon Bok on occasion.

Iíve spent many years working on an instruction book for learning to play the mountain dulcimer. I finished the writing process a few months ago and am in the process of editing the text and recording the exercises and tunes. I hope to market the book to publishers one of these days, but donít hold your breath!

On the home front, my longtime partner, Matt Szostak, and I got married in 2004. Matt is still building hurdy-gurdies (visit his website), and he is also working for the Maine State Ferry Service. We bought a new house, which weíve spent more time renovating than we expected but it has lovely flower gardens and we hope to put in raised beds for vegetables this spring. Matt and I are still members of the Quasimodal Chorus.

We sing frequently with our old friend Will Brown and with Kat Logan and Jim Loney who have recently moved to the area. We do occasional local performances together.

Whatís in the future? Well Ė who knows? My current goal is to live life in such a way that I forget that I have P.D. Thatís not always an easy or even possible task, but worth the trying. This journey has made us even more aware of how lucky we are to have such an amazing and supportive community of family and friends.

What can you do if youíre so inclined? You can support organizations that are looking for a cure for Parkinsonís, especially the Michael J. Fox Foundation (www.michaeljfox.org), which is doing amazing work.

On a personal and business end, you can still buy recordings through this website. Sales slow dramatically when youíre not touring or making new recordings and we still have stock on most titles. You can help us turn our storage room into a guest room by buying lots of CDs and cassettes!

We appreciate all the good wishes that have come our way and hope that sometime in the future a cure is found for P.D. and for all the diseases that put restrictions on living life to the fullest.

Having said that, weíre grateful for some of the things weíve learned Ė and continue to learn - from this experience as we discover, once again, that major passages can reprioritize what is important in our lives. However, having said that, as an old friend once said to me, ďHavenít I learned enough, at least for a little while?Ē

We hope this finds you well and happy. Weíd be glad to hear from you.

Anne Dodson

Matt and Anne, Glen of Aherlow, Ireland, (not a long way from Tipperary) September 2005


Last updated on 3/9/11

Write us at Beech Hill Music for recordings or information:

(Please make a note of our new mailing address)

Anne Dodson, 7 Thomas Street, Camden Maine 04843
or email at: beechhil@midcoast.com

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