Hammered dulcimer musician celebrates new CD with Aiken holiday concert

December 7, 2018

Asheville musician-composer Joshua Messick proves that Christmas music doesn’t always need vocals to spread cheer and wonder.

Messick released his “Hammered Dulcimer Christmas, Vol II” on Nov. 12 and is returning to Aiken this season to celebrate its release.

“With ‘Hammered Dulcimer Christmas, Vol. II,’ I wanted to reach out with a heart of gratitude to say thank you to my listeners and people who have contributed to my life,” Messick said. “It is a celebration of the wonderful and beautiful things of life, and I hope it energizes your soul with love, joy, peace, and hope.”

Messick has been enchanted by the hammered dulcimer since he was 4 and has been playing it since he was 9.

Before he turned 20, he snagged the title as the 2003 National Hammered Dulcimer Champion.

In 2017, Messick’s career reached a new height. He was the featured instrumentalist on the blockbuster hit, “Mary and the Witch’s Flower.” The animated film, directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and produced by Studio Ponoc (the successor of Studio Ghibli), was released in 155 countries and territories, according to the “Anime Herald.”

Messick’s latest Christmas CD marks his seventh studio album.

His first visit to Aiken in 2013 celebrated the release of his first volume of his Christmas collection.

“After the release of ‘Hammered Dulcimer Christmas, Vol. 1,’ I felt a closer connection to my listeners when I heard how the music touched and impacted lives in unbelievable ways,” he said. “Music is a healing balm, and it helps us remember and realign our hearts.”

He returned to Aiken to present another Christmas concert in 2014.

Both of his Aiken concerts played at the AECOM Center for Performing Arts, 126 Newberry St. S.W., home of the Aiken Community Theatre.

“Both concerts had a packed house and were received very well,” he said. “The venue is also a wonderful space to play music.”

The musician will return to the downtown venue on Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m. for his “Release Concert Celebration.”

Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door and can be purchased by calling the AECOM Center at 803-648-1438 or by visiting dulcimer.ticketleap.com. It is recommended to get tickets early.

The concert will feature such pieces as “Carol of the Bells,” “Walking in the Air,” “White Christmas” and “O Holy Night.”

Joining Messick will be his wife and celtic harpist Stephanie Messick and percussionists James Kylen, of Asheville, and Donna McClary-Derrick, of Beech Island.

Copies of the CD will be available at the concert.

“Aiken’s a pleasant, charming city, and I love the atmosphere,” Messick said. “It’s a great community of people that have shown kindness to me and appreciation for my art. I look forward to returning.”

For more information, visit joshuamessick.com.

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