Our Lagniappe Dulcimer Fete is in full swing with many talented performers and players in attendance. Some are multi-talented. Meet Joyce Bedell, Louisiana folk artist and dulcimer player, who paints our stage backdrop almost ever year.
Joyce is a talented artist, with many years of folk art painting to her credit. She also paints our Lagniappe Fete stage backdrops. In 2006 Lagniappe member, Sandra Sanford, had a vision of a backdrop with the perspective of crossing the Mississippi River bridge. She gave Joyce a photo and Joyce translated it into a fluid painting complete with Christmas tree lights atop the bridge. It gave one the feeling that they were really crossing a bridge. Here is Joyce painting the first backdrop in 2006.
Over the years, Joyce has repainted the backdrop several times. Now the swamp scene stays and the small details, such as the alligator and tiny red Cardinal, are added each year. Her backdrops give the festival a touch of Cajun Louisiana and our swamps.
Joyce was interested in art even as a young girl and says her inspiration for her paintings comes from remembering her childhood days. She states, “I was born and reared in the small southern town of Gramercy, Louisiana, in St. James Parish, where it is nestled alongside the Mississippi River. My happy childhood was filled with wonderful things – chickens, cows, fresh vegetables from the garden, handmade quilts. My fondest memories are of the simple activities that I did with my family, such as making homemade ice cream under the tree in our backyard on Sunday afternoons, picking blackberries on a hot summer day and playing a game of marbles in the dirt with my brother and friends.”
Joyce is also a dulcimer player. I asked how she became interested in the dulcimer as everyone has a unique story to tell. Joyce says that she was at a church social activity sitting in the back of the room and the Lagniappe Dulcimer Society was providing the musical program playing their dulcimers. She had never seen such an instrument and slowly moved to the front row. At the end of the program she spoke to several club members and expressed interest in what we were doing.
Later in the year, club member–Pat Fontaine–called Joyce back stating she was getting a beginner’s class started. Joyce (who has a musical background) went and by the end of the night she was playing 3 songs.
That was 11 years ago. Now Joyce has 3 dulcimers, is a proficient player and comes to club meetings almost every week. Playing the dulcimer is a rewarding hobby for her. Here are some of our members (A.J. Kent, Mary Bradford and Betty Payne), along with Joyce, enjoying the fete in 2013. Yes, the years roll by!
We all enjoy and appreciate the music and fellowship that the festivals bring each year. Thanks to Joyce for helping to give our fete a Louisiana touch! And to contributing her artwork to our raffle.