August 21, 2006

David Schnaufer

Many of you will know that David Schnaufer has suffered from ill health throughtout his life. Unfortunately this has recently developed into a serious situation and David is now in the hospice in Nashville gravelly ill but surrounded by love and all the best wishes he has been sent.

There are many people working hard to document his enormous musical legacy.

Here is an email from Debbie Porter:-


Dear David Schnaufer Fans and Friends,

I wanted to give you all an update on David's condition, thank all of you for the great stories and prayers, and let you know of an incredible project that David recorded in February which is out now.

First and foremost, David is very weak but had some nice days this week. He chuckled over some of the tales being told and was very aware for much of the week. He is weak and resting most of the time, but I know he feels and appreciates your thoughts and prayers. I don't say that just to make you feel good. I truly believe he feels the love you are sending. The insights you've shared about your friendships have revealed to me that David came across just as he hoped-- a humble spirit with a deep caring for his students and for the dulcimer. I will pull these stories together (anybody that wants to remain anonymous, fear not) to share with you when the time is right. David is a tremendous inspiration for all ages and all musical abilities. We not only have his recordings but we've learned to play the dulcimer, which is his heartfelt mission.

Now for the new project... I was in Nashville in February while David recorded with Linda Ronstadt! For those of us who came of age in the 70s, Linda was the real deal. She came to Nashville because she wanted David to play on the new recording with Ann Savoy (who is from the Bayou Teche, I believe.) Linda wanted David to play on the tunes as well as interludes. I got my copy today and it is INCREDIBLE. The vocal harmonies and David's playing on the title cut and throughout the project are lovely. There are some lovely Cajun tunes and great folk songs with these two wonderful female voices. To me, David's instrumentals are the "stars" of the recording, but then I might be prejudiced.

The recording is "Adieu, False Love", Linda Ronstadt and Ann Savoy (Vanguard Records and produced by Steve Buckingham). I got mine from

As you know from my communications, we are collecting as much of David's memorabilia, photos, concert footage as possible for David's archives at Vanderbilt. Any donations that are made in the future will be used to support his work there at the Blair School of Music. The music librarian at Vanderbilt has requested pictures documenting David's performances etc. I wonder if the dulcimer clubs/festivals he performed at over the years could piece together a retrospective for each of their festivals. This is a big project I know, but many of you may have already done this. It's is pretty easy to burn DVDs of old videotapes now. Any of your tapes or photos you want returned will be well cared for and sent back to you unharmed. If you can make copies for us to keep that would be great and a timesaver. I'm getting quite a few photos and other items sent to me here in the Austin City Limits. (Deb Porter, 12501 Tech Ridge Blvd #2138, Austin, Texas 78753) I can burn DVDs from videotapes before I send them on to Vanderbilt. Again, anything you want to be returned will be.

I will keep you posted on David's condition... Your greatest gift to David is to play your dulcimer. Let's all raise sweet dulcimer notes and a chorus for our friend, teacher, and beautiful spirit, David. He wants you to play, to share this instrument, to teach others (especially young people) with the same gentle hand that he used with all of us. Someone told me a story of coming into one of David's advanced workshops just to watch even though he was a beginner. He told David he just wanted to be there, but that he wasn't very good. David sat this novice right by him, carefully included him in the teaching process, and throughout the workshop peered over his glasses and in his southern way drawled, "You, okay?" Just kept him strumming right along... That's our David and he wants us to play and enjoy the dulcimer for all of our days here on earth.

Peace and Love to you all,