Madeline MacNeil passed away on Sunday, March 22, 2020. This was sad news for the dulcimer world, music lovers, and Maddie’s countless friends, including my wife Carrie and me. Maddie touched so many lives with her magical voice and a wonderful spirit that was both gentle and joyful. I built Maddie her first hammer dulcimer in the 1970s, and we have been close friends and occasional musical collaborators ever since.
In recent years Maddie struggled with a bad leg that put her at risk of falling. But she never let that stop her from going out to sing and play her dulcimers. She was preparing to sing outside her church that Sunday morning.
Maddie is buried at the Holy Cross Abbey near Berryville, VA. Public services were not possible due to coronavirus restrictions. Maddie's local friends plan to have a memorial service, or a memorial concert, at some time when it again becomes safe and appropriate to congregate.
Aldous Huxley said, “after silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” In that spirit, here is the link to a piece of music featuring Maddie’s voice: