The importance of the educational aspect led the couple to found the association Shenandoah Music Trail.
DePoy, who teaches bluegrass instruments at Eastern Mennonite University, has a doctorate in American Music and Popular Culture and a Masters in Education; Hills, a certified MusikGarten teacher, brings 15 years of experience as an early childhood educator in public and private schools.
The mountain music they love, however, remains at the heart of it all.
DePoy, a fifth generation musician, started taking the stage at the age of 8 with his father’s band; his mother was a bassist in a family band for half a century. Ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax recorded performances by DePoy’s family and friends in 1940 for the Library of Congress’s American Folk Song Archives.
“The roots run deep,” Hills said.
Hills plays bass, “and Don plays everything else,” she said, listing DePoy’s contributions to guitar, five-string banjo, dobro, autoharp, and mountain dulcimer.
Her husband plays “everything except the violin,” she said. “We are a party waiting to happen. “
She came to the party a little later than her husband.
“I had never heard bluegrass music, except for the ‘Beverly Hillbillies’ theme,” Hills said.