As I was interviewing Dolores for this article, HVBA president Jeff Anzevino walked by. Dolores said, “It’s all his fault.” She was referring to how she got involved with bluegrass in the Hudson Valley. Back in 1994, her husband, Howard heard an ad on the radio asking for help in forming a new bluegrass organization in the area. She was the first to respond and the rest is history. She became the secretary, treasurer, and membership coordinator of the fledgling HVBA.
Dolores grew up in Poughkeepsie and graduated from Poughkeepsie High School. Howard and she raised 3 boys after which she became an office worker for IBM. They have 5 grandchildren, 2 boys and 3 girls, none of whom are involved in bluegrass music. She has since volunteered at the greenhouse at St. Francis Hospital and at the FDR Library. She is now the main caregiver for Howard who has Parkinson’s disease.
Her earliest musical history involved listening to opera on Saturday afternoon radio. Madame Butterfly is her favorite. Growing up she didn’t play any instruments but recently took up the hammered dulcimer. Her friend Carol Eberle built one at an Elderhostel. A few months later, in 2001, Dolores went to the Elderhostel, built a dulcimer, and learned to play it. She says that going to classes and using a good book is the best way to learn to play. Her dulcimer has a nice soft sound but she doesn’t see them in a bluegrass band. Fiddle and banjo are the instruments she thinks are needed for a good bluegrass sound.
Flatt and Scruggs were her earliest bluegrass influences. She sees bluegrass as going away from the traditional sound to more of a pop/rock sound that is also too perfect. Her favorite bands have a country sound: Mike Snider, Tom T. Hall, and Mac Wiseman.
She believes that local organizations like HVBA are important to the future of bluegrass music. She thinks the Bluegrass in the Schools Program is a positive step as she had little to no music of any kind in school when she grew up. She would like to see HBVA sponsor more concerts.
Best of luck to Dolores and Howard. We hope to see them at bluegrass events and festivals in the coming years.