A Little Bit About Sampler Records Ltd.


Let me introduce you to Sampler Records. This business is truly a family enterprise — the company represents our interests, talents, and energy. I am the chief dulcimer player and the person who got all this started with my activities as a performer of folk music and a player of the hammered dulcimer. Our first recording A Sampler of Folk Music [Sampler 7601] was released in 1977. This vinyl recording received warm home-town praise and was quickly followed by The Leaves of Life [Sampler 7902] in 1979. With the production of Sounds Like Fun [Sampler 8204] in 1982 we began to receive national recognition. When we released Ornaments [Sampler 8505] in 1985 we turned the corner into a "real business". We now have produced more than 35 recordings, and for many years sold albums from other small companies.

We have produced countless concerts, including a series of sixteen annual Christmas Concerts, ending in 2001, and a series of 20 annual Irish concerts, ending in 2007. Our activities as a company have scaled back as our personal activities have changed. We still sell, by appointment, hammered dulcimers by Masterworks and Songbird, and mountain dulcimers by McSpadden. Though we no longer own a separate store building, we are delighted to sell our recordings through this website and through Dynamic Recordings.

I have devoted a great deal of time to my immediate neighborhood. I served as chairperson of the 33rd 19th Ward House Tour, sponsored by the 19th Ward Community Association. The tour took place on Saturday October 4th,2008, and included 6 houses [including our house!] and 4 neighborhood institutions. You can get a flavor of the house tour by looking at this Youtube site.

I am proud to be one of the founders — in 1971 — of Rochester's Golden Link Folk Singing Society, and I still give concerts and workshops both by myself and with other musicians. I have long been active in the field of church music. I have retired as Music Coordinator of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Rochester. However, I now enjoy being a substitute organist at services in various churches throughout the Rochester area when my schedule permits. I took advantage of my "retirement" to go back to school, and in the Spring of 2005 earned my master's degree in music education from the Eastman School of Music, forty-some years after receiving my bachelor's degree from that institution as a pianist. I am a member of the faculty at the Eastman Community Music School and currently (Spring 2013) am teaching Western Music History, Hammered Dulcimer to two classes of beginning to intermediate students and a leading a performing ensemble of intermediate to advanced dulcimer players.

In the Spring Semesters of 2007 and 2008 I taught an undergraduate class in World Music at Rochester's Nazareth College – putting my recent masters degree in Music Education from the Eastman Schoool of Music to good use. Below is information about the other half of our Mom-and-Pop endeavor here at Sampler, my husband Tom Bohrer, and about my award from the Arts and Cultural Council of Greater Rochester in October of 2007.

Mitzie Collins - president and chief dulcimer player of Sampler Records Ltd.

Mitzie Collins, affectionately called Rochester's "folk music guru" by City Newspaper, is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and the president of Sampler Records Ltd. She is a part-time faculty member at Eastman Community Musif School, where she teaches classes in Music History, directs the Striking Strings Hammered Dulcimer Ensemble and offers instruction on hammered dulcimer. For 40 years she has forged a singularly successful career in folk music, dazzling audiences with her skilled dulcimer playing and enchanting them with her warm personality and ability to communicate through music.

You can imagine my amazement when I found out that I had been chosen as one of the three recipients of the Arts and Cultiral Council of Greater Rochester's 2007 Artist Awards. I'm sure you can also imagine my frustration when I found out that the award was being presented at annual Arts Awards Luncheon on October 25th – a day when I would be in England to teach dulcimer at the week-end gathering of the Nonsuch Dulcimer Club, a position for which I had been hired a full two years ago! Our youngest son, Padraic Michael Collins-Bohrer, took the day off from his work as Training Supervisor at our local Borders Books and Music store to be at the luncheon and accept the award in my place. I was truly honored to receive the award and I am really sorry that I couldn't be in two places at once – Padraic assured me that the luncheon was a gala event.

"Arts, cultural, and civic leaders," explained the oficial description of the event, "gathered to recognize the seven recipients of the Arts & Cultural Council's distinguished awards, bestowed each year on individuals and organizations that have made a significant, demonstrable contribution to the growth and well-being of the Greater Rochester cultural community." The program for the 24th annual ceremony inccluded a keynote address from Heather Hitchens, newly appointed Executive Director of the New York State Council on the Arts, a performaance by Rochester City Ballet (celebrating its 20th anniversary) with Deborah Fox on the lute, and remarks by County Executive Maggie Brooks, New York State Assemblyman Joseph Morelle, and New York State Senator Joseph Robach. I'm graateful that Padraic – and my daughter Louise Borden – were able to be at the ceremony to represent me.


The full list of 2007 Honorees: Artist Awards – Mitzie Collins, Manuel Rivera-Ortiz, Richard Tannen; Cultural Organization Awards – Genesee Country Villaage & Museum, ImageOut: The Rochester Lesbian & Gay Film & Video Festival; Champion of the Arts Awards – Douglas Rice, The Gouvernet Arts Fund of the Rochester Area Comminity Foundation. I am proud to be in such distinguished company.


THE 2007 ARTS AWARDS HONOREES (left to right): Manuel Rivera-Ortiz, Richard Tannen, Padraic Collins-Bohrer (representing Mitzie Collins), Suzanne Gouvernet (Founder of the Gouvernet Arts Fund of Rochester Area Community Foundation), Kevin Indovino (Co-Board Chair of ImageOut: The Rochester Lesbian & Gay Film & Video Festival), Peter Arnold (President & CEO of Genesee Country Village & Museum). Photo by Joseph Sorrentino.

A CLOSE-UP OF MY AWARD. Since 2000, the awards given to each year's honorees have been created by Cheryl and Don Olney and each award is slightly different. A former social worker and a former toymaker, Cheryl and Don are both self-taught artists and have a studio called "Louise's Daughter", named for Cheryl's mother. My award is a focal point on our dining room window sill.

Tom Bohrer often describes himself on questionnaires as "corporate executive and free-lance performer". Secretary-treasurer of Sampler Records Ltd., he keeps the business end of our music business going in a reasonable direction. As a performer, he has been active with Rochester-area community and educational theatre groups for more than thirty-five years, as actor, designer, and director. He is also a researcher/reconstructor of historic 16th-to 19th-century dance, storyteller, and owner/operator of T. Bohrer's One-and-Only Punch and Judy Show. [A note for the trivia enthusiasts: he prefers to be listed as "T. Bohrer" as an actor, but "Thomas M. Bohrer" as director or designer.] Recent appearances include: Ben Weatherstaff in "The Secret Garden" (the musical) with Livonia Community Theatre; Ben Weatherstaff in "The Secret Garden" (the non-musical) with Rochester Children's Theatre; Multiple roles in "The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other" with the University of Rochester International Theatre Program; Maurteen in "The Kings of the Kilburn High Road" with Rochester Irish Players (a program of Rochester Community Players); Prospero in "The Tempest" with the Shakespeare Company of Greater Rochester. He received an Outstanding Performance award at the Theatre Association of New York State (TANYS) 2005 festival for his portrayal of Maurteen. He has since appeared as Eurydice's Father in the Rochester premiere of Sarah Ruhl's drama "Eurydice", presented by the University of Rochester International Theatre Program in the fall of 2006 and as Friar Lawrence in the Rochester Community Players Shakespeare-in-the-Park production of "Romeo and Juliet" in the summer of 2007, and Duke Frederick in "As You Like It" in 2008.He was Mr. Mullady in the Irish Players of Rochester's production of Brendan Behan's "The Hostage" in April of 2008 and in the 2008 Acting Irish International Theatre Festival here in Rochester at Geva Theatre Center's Next Stage. Rochester Community Players is hosting the Festival this year, the first ever International Theatre Festivaal in Rochester. His next performances will be as a part of the Landmark Society of Western New York's Annual Ghost Walk in October of 2008.

(left & above) T. Bohrer as the 1830 village schoolmaster relating 19th-century tales of the supernatural for An American Hallowe'en at Genesee Country Village & Museum, Mumford NY, October 2006. Mr. Bohrer's frock coat and vest are from Antique Wranglers, suppliers of reproduction vintage clothing (www.antiquewrangler.com)
(upper) recent headshot; (lower) T. Bohrer as Crazy Gus Russell in the Rochester Landmark Society's "Ghost Walk".
(above) "The Secret Garden" produced by Rochester Children's Theatre, Spring 2006. L to R: Marguerite Frarey as Mary Lennox, Barbara Lobb as Mrs Medlock, T. Bohrer as Ben Weatherstaff.
(above) T. Bohrer as Friar Lawrence in "Romeo and Juliet" produced by Rocchester Community Players Shakespeare Players in Highland Bowl, Rochester, Summer 2007. No, the head is not shaved nor is it a wig. The hair is cut "bowl shaped" all around and the "tonsure" is done with heavy grease paint covering the hair.


"Grandma" Collins (1910-2004)

Those of you who have been Sampler customers since the old days of paper catalogs know that much of our success has been due to the help and encouragement of my mother, Ione Taber Collins. When she moved to Rochester thirty years ago she became active in the community and a beloved figure in the neighborhood, a Grandma to all who knew her. She has been in declining health for the past few years and passed from us on October 10th, 2004, at the age of 94 ("and three-quarters", she would add).

Teaching quilting at the Y (2001)

Showing her quilt collection (2003)

Louise Ione Taber Collins, affectionately known to Rochesterians as Grandma Collins, died peacefully in Rochester on October 10, 2004, following a long period of declining health. Ione Collins moved to Rochester in 1972 and has been a proud resident of the city's 19th Ward since that time. She has received many awards for her outstanding community service in Rochester. She was named the 19th-Ward Citizen of the Year in 1988 and elected to the 19th-Ward Hall of fame in 2001. Ione received the Rochester Area Community Foundation Award in 2001, and the YMCA of Rochester Red Triangle Award in 1996. She received the Al Sigl Center Gathering of Hearts Award in 1994, when the Grandma Collins Classroom at the Mary Cariola Center was named in her honor. She served on the City of Rochester Zoning Board of Management for eight years, two of which were as board president. She was a long-time member of the Board of Management of the Rochester Southwest Family YMCA, where the Youth Enrichment Center in named after her. She was a member of the Unity Health System Citizens' Advisory Board and of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church. Recent community activities include teaching classes in quilting and crocheting at the Southwest Family YMCA and hosting the Annual Women's Soiree of the 19th Ward.

Born January 19, 1910 in New York City, she lived in Dallas, Texas, from infancy to 1972. She was active in social and charitable organizations in Dallas for many years. She served as president of the Dallas Garden Club of the Dallas Women's Club, served on the boards of the YWCA and of the Girl Scouts, was a charter member and president of the Garden Club of the Junior League of Dallas, served on the Board of Stewards of the University Park Methodist Church of Dallas, and was a member of the Dallas Lawyers' Wives Club and of the Dallas Country Club.

She was the daughter of Martin Emerald Taber, a pioneer Dallas surgeon and physician, and Clara Ione Schimmelpfennig Taber Piper, originally of Plano, Texas. Ione attended Holley Hall and graduated from St. Mary's Episcopal Girls' High School in Dallas. She attended college at H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College of Tulane University in New Orleans and the Boston School of Fine Arts and Crafts in Boston. She is predeceased by her husband Warren John Collins, who served as General Counsel for the Lone Star Gas Company; her sister Margaret Claire Taber Moore, her daughter Claire Ione Collins Price, and her grandson Richard Warren Price. She is survived by loving friends and family: daughter Mary Ellen (Mitzie) Collins (Thomas M. Bohrer) of Rochester; her grandchildren Elizabeth Ione Price Villarreal (Fernando Villarreal) of San Antonio, Dennis Edward Price of Seattle, Padraic Michael Collins-Bohrer, Louise Ione Lederhouse Borden (Robert Borden), and Mary Ellen Lederhouse, all of Rochester: Sarah deForest Bohrer of Warwick, New York, and Stephen Kress Bohrer of Bar Harbor, Maine; and her great-grandchildren Meredith Corrinne McGuinn (Sam Hong) of Boston, Elizabeth Beatrice Villarreal and Marisol Gabriella Villarreal of San Antonio, Alexander Igorevich Yevstifeev, Dmitri Igorevich Yevstifeev, Tyler Justin Borden, and Brianne Leigh White Borden, all of Rochester, and Isabel Adriana Bohrer of Bar Harbor; and her god-child Naomi Tinklepaugh (David Fernandez) of Singapore.

Memorial donations may be made to the Al Sigl Center, the Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong, the Salvation Army of Rochester, the Rochester Southwest Family YMCA, or the Arts Fund at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Rochester.