LAFLIN — Musician and historian Thomas Jolie, using his multi-instrumental talents, brought listeners back to the late 19th century on Sunday, Sept. 27 with his presentation at St. Maria Goretti Banquet Hall.
The Civil War-era music presentation was sponsored by the Laflin Public Library and held in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Humanities Council’s Conmonwealth Speakers.
Jolin captured the crowd with his jovial tunes, quick wit and impeccable talent.
Jolin, who has been performing since 1978, specializes in the hammered dulcimer, banjo, button accordion and harmonica. He also is a highly-skilled instrument builder, crafting hammered dulcimers, mountain dulcimers and bowed psaltries.
He delighted the crowd of roughly 25 with classic tunes, such as “Lincoln and Liberty,” “Battle Cry of Freedom” and “No More Auction Block.” For every song performed, Jolin enlightened the crowd with a brief history lesson regarding the song’s origin, historical significance and social impact.
Jolin’s talents drew guests from all over — some even from out of state.
“I’m here in Laflin visiting my aunt from my home in southern Georgia,” said Catherine Tucker. “Naturally, we had to come see him. It makes me very happy to see that there is still interest in Southern culture and history.”
The event’s organizers couldn’t have been more pleased with Jolin’s performance as well.
“Jolin is very talented,” said Dorothy Shea Yazurlo, program coordinator and the mayor of Laflin. “With incredibly talented people like this, our main goal is being able to share this talent with as many people as we can.
“Our biggest struggle is simply drawing a crowd,” she added. “This is our fifth annual event of this caliber. We try to hold one at least once a year in the fall, but often we only draw 20 or so people. We have had dancers from Canada, a quilt from the South, and so many more incredible things.
“But no matter what, it’s all worth it,” she added. “These events are free to the public and every single person who is enriched by these incredible performers … that’s what matters most.”