OTTAWA —Presbyterian Mountain Strings members in Ottawa use their gifts of playing music to minister to Putnam County residents and members of Ottawa Presbyterian Church.
Jane Doepker and Janie Font, both of Ottawa, started the group in 2013. Doepker and Font play the lap dulcimers and Font also plays the Native American flute and psaltery that is played with a bow. Doepker also plays the banjimer that sounds like a banjo and it is played the same as a lap dulcimer. The group consists of five members including three others who play the guitar and are from Ottawa, Findlay and Columbus Grove.
Doepker and Font took a music course at Bluffton University, where Doepker majored in music education. They learned how to play the lap dulcimer in 2012. Doepker said her favorite instrument to play is the french horn. She plays piano, french horn, clarinet and dulcimer.
Font started playing the clarinet when she was in fifth grade and then she played flute, bassoon and baritone. She was a music minor at Bowling Green State University. She has played the organ at her church and fills in by playing the piano.
The group plays at The Meadows of Ottawa and Kalida in Putnam County and will play at Ottawa Library from 1 to 2 p.m. Dec. 7 during the annual Festival of Trees. They also play at the church when the organist is out of town.
Doepker and Font also are members of The Rainbow Dulcimers, which started in Bluffton. Doepker uses a pick or her fingers to play the lap dulcimer that she purchased in West Chester, Ohio, and Font purchased her dulcimer in Indiana.
Jane said she likes music because it is relaxing. She and Font attend a dulcimer workshop in Cincinnati each year in the fall where people from around the country teach techniques for dulcimer players.
“I want those who hear our music to enjoy the music and relax,” Doepker said. “The arts are good to have in life because it allows people to express themselves in music and art.”
Font said her children did not do sports in school, but have played instruments. Font’s son Brandon plays guitar in the group.
The group will play at the Sept 8 morning service at 10:45 a.m. at the church.
Font said she likes it when church members and nursing home residents listen to their music, sing along and tap their feet.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.