The philosophies of music teacher Joe Zsigray and 577 Foundation director Mary Mennel are in perfect harmony.
They both are advocates of access, to education, to music, to exploring one's community and heritage.
"We're more a facility for other people's programs," Ms. Mennel said of the foundation at 577 East Front St. in Perrysburg.
She said the 577 Foundation doesn't charge usage fees so that instructors can keep their program fees low for participants.
On Saturday, Mr. Zsigray is teaching workshops in harmonica, mountain dulcimer, and ukulele. The fees of $23, $43, and $40 include an instrument that participants will be able to take with them, after learning how to play it.
"My workshops assume the person has never picked up anything musical in their life," he said.
Mr. Zsigray, the former director of the Collingwood Arts Center in Toledo, has been teaching music for about 25 years. He also manufactures the kind of dulcimer his students get to keep, one with a cardboard resonator box that keeps it affordable but still makes beautiful music.
"My goal in life is to help people gain access to art forms," he said.
He carries that goal as far as Belize, the Central American country on the Caribbean Sea coast where he spends about half of the year. He volunteers with the country's National Institute of Culture and History in a musical outreach program to elementary students. He hopes to start 20 mountain dulcimer clubs in 20 districts.
"It's a way of NICH bringing music education to the villages," he said.
In Perrysburg, dulcimer workshop participants will learn how to read tablature, the system of symbols that indicates how the strings of the fretted instrument should be plucked or hammered to produce the proper notes, and should leave being able to play about 10 songs, Mr. Zsigray said.
Harmonica students will learn about seven songs, and ukulele students will learn about 15, he said.
"Ukulele is really hot right now," he said.
Interest in the ukulele comes and goes in cycles, he said. In the 1920s, then in late '50s and '60s were some of the periods when popularity in the instrument peaked. More recently, there was a ukulele player who was a sensation on YouTube, and perhaps that has helped trend interest upwards.
At recent workshops in Fort Wayne, Ind., and Ann Arbor, Mich., for the small, guitar-like instrument, he had about two dozen participants.
Class size is limited at 577 Foundation workshops, which are geared for participants in the third grade through adult. Visit the Web site 577foundation.org or call 419-874-4174 to register.
Contact Rebecca Conklin Kleiboemer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-356-8786.