Bobbie and Obie Ralphs are a couple with a shared passion for music and bringing musicians together.
It all started in 2010 when they went to a Mountain Dulcimer workshop in the
Poconos, and noticed that over 30 people had traveled from our area to attend!
This gave Bobbie and Obie’s fertile minds the idea to start a local music club to
build a community of dulcimer and autoharp players. Their goal was to encourage anyone who wanted to learn to play and perform to have a place to do so. They found a local church which would allow musicians to rehearse in their space, and QUADAS, The Quakertown Area Dulcimer and Autoharp Society, was born.
Bobbie chooses new songs for the group to learn, acts as the treasurer, and helps organize their concerts. Obie writes the musical arrangements, decides which songs are “ready for performance,” and is the Musical Director. Today QUADAS has grown to over 40 members, and performs regular concerts at churches, festivals, and private events. And just as Bobbie and Obie envisioned, anyone is welcome to join!
Obie became inspired to learn autoharp after seeing a concert by Ivan Stiles, the renowned autoharp player. Ivan became Obie’s mentor, and Obie attended gatherings of autoharp players from all over the USA to learn more. He enjoyed learning pretty waltzes, and Appalachian and Celtic tunes with Bobbie, but he didn’t want to photocopy or steal copyrighted music to play and perform. So he took up the study of Music Theory, and taught himself how to arrange music for the Autoharp, Hammer Dulcimer, and Mountain Dulcimer. He spends many hours thinking of new and creative ways to arrange the tunes that he and Bobbie, and the musicians in QUADAS, love to play. The photo on the right shows Obie arranging music on his computer. He’s happy that he is leaving a legacy of many wonderful songs which all say “Arranged by Obie”.
Obie says when you’re young, you set aside money for a mortgage, for children
and their education. But he‘d tell his younger self to also set aside TIME. Even ten to fifteen minutes a day during the years of your life when you might think you’re “too busy” to take time for yourself.
Their opinion about creativity in the second half of life? Obie says, “When you’re working, you’re always putting things off til retirement. So in the ages 55 plus, you can do the things you set aside. It’s finally “your time!”