Wendy Songe shares her love of the mountain dulcimer
Songe has released two albums, and in September, she won first place in the prestigious National Mountain Dulcimer Championship.
In November, Wendy Songe was named a winner of Silver Dollar City’s “Dream Big, Do Good” initiative, recognizing people who make a different in their communities. Ironically, the theme park is where she discovered the mountain dulcimer eight years earlier.
“I’ve always loved music; I begged for a piano as soon as I could talk,” says musician Wendy Songe, who moved to Tulsa at age 9. “That’s really where I started, and it grew into an obsession from there.”
Songe’s passion for music encompasses other instruments, as well. In addition to the piano, she has mastered the piano, guitar and ukulele. In 2010, she discovered the mountain dulcimer on a trip to Silver Dollar City.
“It was mesmerizing. It was like nothing I’d ever heard,” she recalls. She fell in love with the fretted, stringed instrument that originated in the Appalachian Mountains but has roots all over the world.
“There’s just something about the sound,” she explains. “It’s very warm and soothing and sweet and rich and earthy. And there’s a drone, just like a hum, behind it. It’s the perfect instrument. It’s like playing guitar in my right hand and piano with my left.”
Songe’s affection for the dulcimer is matched by her skill. She has released two albums, and in September, she won first place in the prestigious National Mountain Dulcimer Championship at the Walnut Valley Folk Festival in Winfield, Kansas. She also has found her musical tribe.
“The mountain dulcimer community is deceptively large,” she laughs. “So large that it’s become my livelihood. I teach and perform all over the country. It has become this huge family to me. When I travel, I know people all over the country who play this instrument that I play.”
Songe uses music to give back
In summer 2015, a storm destroyed Tulsa musician Wendy Songe’s van weeks before she was scheduled to go on tour. Short on funds and time, Songe turned to her fans for help and quickly raised the cash needed for a used vehicle.
Then, she made a promise: to provide an additional 50 hours of music outreach to OASIS, a Sapulpa nonprofit providing adult day care services.
From that experience, Songe’s passion project, Mobile Outreach Music, was born. Its mission is to provide music outreach to people in need and who cannot afford to pay for the services themselves. The outreach is privately supported through patrons of the online platform Patreon.
Through Mobile Outreach Music, Songe has taught and performed for hundreds of people, including veterans, seniors who are homebound, hospice patients and adults suffering from dementia.
“I would love to see this grow to a point where there are other musicians, artists and givers — just loving people — who would want to be the hands that take it to different places so we could be in more places at one time,” she says.