The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 10, 2013

Jo Ellis: String players forming new musical group in Carthage

By Jo Ellis
Globe Columnist

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Many uses are associated with the word “string.” A string of pearls immediately comes to mind. Also, “string him (or her) along” and “string ’em up.”

Then there’s string bean and even string theory.

But when you talk about “the strings,” there’s rarely any misunderstanding of the meaning. The strings normally provide the lyrical melodies, often the staccato punctuation, and sometimes the deep bass of a musical structure.

Whatever their role, they add a rich layer of sound to all types of music.

Carthage is fortunate to have several stringed instrument players who have expressed interest in forming a new group to keep their talents alive and growing. Sandy Osborne, one of the organizers, said the group is so new that it doesn’t even have a name yet.

At its first meeting last Monday, 10 people showed up with a wide variety of instruments. They included autoharp, dulcimers, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitars, dobro (an acoustic guitar with a metal resonator inside its body) and keyboard. Osborne said she expects the players to increase to twice that number because so many called and told her they were kept away because of the weather.

She said the group chose Sonny Lyle as its chair and also discussed name suggestions.

“We had a real good time. It’s all a fun thing and very informal,” she said. “We decided on a group of songs we wanted to learn together. We have everything from beginners to experienced players. We all will learn from each other.”

The get-togethers will be held on the first Monday of each month at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, at the junction of Missouri highways 171 and 96, a mile west of Carthage. Osborne said members will vote on the name for the group at the next meeting on Monday, March 4.

While their main purpose now is just getting together for the joy of playing their instruments, Osborne said that after they have learned several pieces, practiced and polished them, they possibly would be available for public appearances.

If you have a stringed instrument and are interested in participating in a laid-back, relaxed and fun musical experience, you can contact Osborne at 417-237-0474.

She won’t string you along.

Address correspondence to Jo Ellis, c/o The Joplin Globe, Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802 or email