Our 2021 Instructors:
After a full career in elementary education, Laurie Alsobrook has found a perfect blending of her two passions, teaching learners and playing the dulcimer.
Recent online mountain dulcimer instruction includes QDF 3.0, 4.0, and the upcoming QDF 5.0, Nonsuch Spring Fling, Dutchland Dulcimer Festival, as well as the NGFDA Fall Festival. As for recent in-person festivals, Laurie was at the 2021 August Dulcimer Daze and will lead the Beginner’s Boot Camp at the upcoming Black Mountain Music Festival in October.
Laurie has been a weekly contributor to the Send in the Music Virtual Jam, offering tab to the participants and serving as a song leader. She also hosts a weekly more informal zoom jam. Both of these sessions began back in March 2020, and continue weekly.
Known as an enthusiastic and engaging teacher, one student at QDF 4.0 wrote, “I was fully engaged for the full hour – you kept my gears working on multiple levels.”
“Dulcimers Do Digital” Director
(DDDD…for those of you who appreciate alliteration!)
David Beede of Melrose, Florida, is a musician/singer/songwriter who built his first dulcimer in 1973 and has been teaching and sharing his music with folks of all ages for over four decades. In concerts, schools, folk festivals, coffee houses and street corners, his music has tickled ears from Florida to Maine…from the Paris underground to Dublin Radio.
David’s music ranges from traditional Americana and British Isle folk to original songs and instrumentals. His often witty and sometimes pensive songs celebrate the range of human experience, from the silly to the sublime.
An award winning luthier, much of his music is rendered on instruments of his own creation. David plays guitar, gourd banjo, mountain dulcimer, hammered dulcimer, bowed psaltery, penny whistle, Native American flute, snoot flute and mouth bow.
After four decades playing guitar, Carolyn was a quick study when she finally got her hands on a mountain dulcimer. The sweet sound and many voices of the dulcimer opened up a new musical world and opportunities, and Carolyn didn’t waste any time using those opportunities to “spread the dulcimer gospel” around. It wasn’t long before the dulcimer was integrated into the sound of her band and in the words of Tull Glazener, “A dulcimer as a lead instrument in a rock band? Awesome!” (It’s really more of an Americana/roots band).
She also began teaching privately, at festivals, libraries, art centers, and at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, Ct. where she worked as a therapeutic musician from 2015 until Covid hit in March of 2020. But she didn’t let Covid slow her down. Carolyn has been a regular song leader, and two time mystery guest in Pat Clark’s weekly “Send In The Music” jam since March of 2020.
An award winning singer/songwriter, Carolyn has also written songs for the dulcimer. Three of her original songs have appeared in the sampler of DPN, including her latest, “Mountain Jane Doe”, which was in the August 2021 edition.
Gwen’s dulcimer passion started nearly four decades ago. Working by day in a major Southern California performing arts center, she jumped the fence at night for her bluegrass band’s weekly performances, eagerly embracing the heritage of traditional music.
After moving east into the “back of beyond” and the heart of Appalachian mountain music, she put her banjo aside and focused on her frst love, dulcimer. Her greatest joy is teaching private students/classes and sharing the dulcimer at festivals, history centers, folk schools, and online. Preserving America’s musical heritage and traditions through the dulcimer for future generations is her prime focus!
Listed among Gwen’s previous teaching opportunities are John C. Campbell Folk School, Spring Music Week at Augusta Heritage Center Davis & Elkins College, Appalachian State University Dulcimer Playing Workshop, Western Carolina University Mountain Dulcimer Week, NGFDA Fall Festival, and the Carolina Dulcimer Coalition.
Carol Crocker’s first introduction to mountain dulcimer was at a school Heritage Day program. For over 20 years Carol has enjoyed sharing her love of the dulcimer with children, adults, schools, churches and senior homes. She has been an instructor at various dulcimer festivals and events including Dulcimer U, Winston-Salem Dulcimer festival, the Stephen Foster Dulcimer Retreat, North Georgia Foothills Dulcimer Festival, QuaranTUNE, and various other events. She is also a regular song leader on the Saturday Send In the Music Virtual Jam.
Carol has co-published two books, “Beginner’s Guide to Mountain Dulcimer”, and “Dulcimer in The Schools”, and has written a solo book “Songs of the Spirit”, African American spirituals arranged for the mountain dulcimer. She now has available a CD and digital download of “Songs of the Spirit”.
Carol holds a BS degree in Music Education from Western Carolina University and a MM degree in Music Education from UNC-Greensboro. She is a retired music teacher from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband Joe.
Sam Edelston is on a quest to make dulcimers as popular as flutes and fiddles. His mountain dulcimer videos have been viewed more than 1,000,000 times, embracing much of the rock and pop spectrum, plus bluegrass, bossa nova, Sousa, opera, and more. On acoustic and electric dulcimer, he often makes his three strings sound like more than one instrument, and has gained a reputation as an innovative arranger.
Sam has performed and taught at a variety of festivals and other venues around the Northeast, and is becoming a popular performer in other parts of the country. His 2020-2022 schedule includes the online QuaranTUNE Dulcimer Festival, Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering (CA, via internet), Colorado Dulcimer Festival, FabFest (a Beatles festival in North Carolina), New York City, Kentucky Music Week, and others. He is chair of the Nutmeg Dulcimer Festival in Connecticut.
One workshop student commented, “As zany as Sam is, he is a patient, knowledgeable, caring teacher also experienced, smart, creative, etc.” And as a preschooler once told her mother, “Rosie’s daddy came in and sang to us today. He was so much fun. Can he be my daddy, too?”
Gary Gallier has been called “The Father of Flatpicking” on the Mountain Dulcimer. For over 40 years he has remained on the leading edge of innovation in style and creativity, not only in technique, but also in composing, arranging, and instrument design. His musical touchstones range from Traditional to Jazz and Classical to Rock, putting his unique ‘scalds’ on a wide variety of music…a true signature sound. This is well reflected in his stage performances. As expected, Gary can coax beautiful and flowing music from the dulcimer, but he also shows that power and energy are well within reach.
Gary’s recordings exemplify the Dulcimer’s potential, firmly establishing its lead role in an ensemble setting, and in showcasing new music written on the Dulcimer for the Dulcimer. On the Wing – “like an acoustic Moody Blues sans the synthesizers” -from the Walnut Valley Occasional. “Layered Masterpieces…remarkable…transcends any attempt to categorize as merely an extraordinary dulcimer album”- from Dulcimer Players News. A new CD, Three Wire Choir, is now available, completing the Trilogy, as well as a 30 year compilation of Gary’s favorites, Archive – Artists Choice.
As a teacher, Gary takes the mystery out of his exciting playing style with a fun, organized, and personal approach. Described as a “world class player who is also a world class teacher”, students come away with completely new playing skills to add to their existing tool box. Gary makes his home in Springfield, Missouri.
A regular contributor to this retreat for many years, we didn’t even want to think about this festival without him! So, representing the world of hammered dulcimers at our mountain dulcimer one-day extravaganza, here’s Guy George!
Guy George is a multi-faceted musician with jazz influenced roots. He has made his mark in the dulcimer world as a performer, instructor, author/publisher and recording artist. His diverse playing style adds a different twist to the sounds of the hammered dulcimer, steel drum, pennywhistle, and saxophone, all of which he incorporates into his performances and teaching.
A professional musician most of his life, Guy studied jazz performance, arranging and composition at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. He travels throughout the United States and Canada performing and teaching at various types of venues and festivals.
His teaching style is relaxed and fun, as he teaches tunes of many different genres and styles. In addition, he incorporates methods for more advanced practicing and playing techniques while simultaneously entertaining his students.
Guy has authored 13 books arranged for hammered dulcimer, steel drum, pennywhistle, and other instruments. In demand in recording studios, Guy has recorded with some of the country’s great dulcimer artists; Maddie MacNeil, David Moran and Joe Morgan, Tull Glazener, Doofus, Heidi Muller, Gary and Toni Sager, and Aaron O’Rourke. He also has one recording of his own, Dreamcastle.
Guy and his wife, Sharrie now live in Daytona Beach, Fl. Where he plays at Tiki Bars, for weddings on the beach, and at various parties and events in the area. Guy and Sharrie also teach and perform at festivals across the country, as well as co-hosting the Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat and the Castaway Cruise with Bing Futch and Richard Ash.
Writer and luthier, composer, singer and producer for other artists, Cristian Huet is a reference in France for all that concerns Dulcimers. He plays fast with fluidity. His playing style, seen on videos on the web, surprises a lot of people.
Originally from Brittany, a small Celtic country in western France, Cristian first discovered the rustic folk instruments made by his paternal great grandfather, he became enthralled with the idea of experimenting with ways to make these primitive instruments sing.
With no realization that these crude wooden boxes with strings existed beyond Brittany, and no one to teach him, Cristian developed a unique playing style, and only later learned that these same instruments existed in America as mountain dulcimers!
Today, Cristian Huet crams 48 hours into every day as he melds a busy professional life with his life as a musician. As a young teen, he became a luthier who has gone on to design and build fantastically original dulcimers from wood or various unexpected materials.
Karen Mueller is one of the top mountain dulcimer and autoharp players performing and teaching today. Her exciting and innovative performing style, featuring Appalachian, Celtic and contemporary music, has been applauded by critics and audiences from LA to Boston. Bluegrass Unlimited magazine has said “Karen Mueller’s touch, timing and taste make her a true virtuoso. Her talent and clarity…deserve a wide audience.” Karen won the 1986 International Autoharp Championship and was a National Dulcimer finalist in 1985, both at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas. In 2006 she was inducted into the Autoharp Hall of Fame. A native of Winfield, she first attended the festival while in high school and was inspired to learn to play the autoharp and dulcimer by the performers she saw there.
She has appeared at major dulcimer, autoharp, and folk music events across the US as well as in the UK, including Walnut Valley, Augusta Heritage Center, Dulcimer U, Swannanoa, Kentucky Music Week, the Ozark Folk Center, John C. Campbell Folk School, Mt. Dora, North Georgia Foothills, QuaranTune, the Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering, California Autoharp Gathering, the Cranberry Gathering, Dulcimer Week in the Wallowas, and many more. She also teaches around 50 private students online, and offers Zoom workshops for all levels on both instruments. One workshop student wrote that “Karen is a skilled, articulate teacher who is both focused and goal oriented. She has the ability to help students achieve a high level of competence in a short time frame.”
Karen’s dulcimer playing bridges many mountain dulcimer traditions to formulate her own dynamic style. She started playing the dulcimer in 1979 by learning the innovative tunes on the Pacific Rim Dulcimer Project record, featuring Neal Hellman and Force & d’Ossche. From there she began adding traditional Appalachian and Celtic music to her repertoire and developed her own arrangements of these styles, as well as pop, jazz, and original material. Her techniques range from rhythmic flatpicking and strumming to sensitive fingerpicking.
Karen has released six solo recordings and authored three music books, including “Celtic Autoharp,” published by Mel Bay Publications, and “Favorite Dulcimer Arrangements.” She has also contributed selections to numerous anthology recordings, including two volumes of “Masters of the Mountain Dulcimer,” and “Autoharp Legacy.”
Grant is currently a sophomore at Cedarville University, from Andover, Minnesota, who has played the mountain dulcimer for eight years. He has played fiddle tunes, hymns, and arranged classical songs for chromatic mountain dulcimer. He enjoys composing his own tunes, and building his own dulcimers out of cardboard and styrofoam.
In 2019 he competed and won the National Mountain Dulcimer Championship at Winfield, KS, using a cardboard dulcimer he made for two of the songs. Since then, he has continued writing and arranging, and built up a collection of YouTube videos sharing his music.
From Grant’s website, “GO Dulcimer:”
Why GO Dulcimer? This has a double meaning. First, “G.O.” are my initials, as my name is Grant Olson. It is short for “Grant Olson Dulcimer.” Second, it also means “Go Dulcimer!” as in, “Yay, I love the dulcimer!”
Stephen Seifert’s teaching and playing has made him a favorite with dulcimer players all over the country since 1991. In that time, he’s been a featured performer at hundreds of dulcimer festivals and other music events including Kentucky Music Week in Bardstown, KY, Dulcimerville in Black Mountain, NC, the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, WV, the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC, the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, AR, Stringalong near Milwaukee, WI, the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, KS, Black Mountain Music Festival in Black Mountain, NC, Nonsuch in England, and The tono American Music Festival, in Tono, Japan.
Stephen has been a dulcimer soloist with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, now known as Orchestra Nashville, since 1996 and is featured on their Warner Classical recording of Connie Ellisor and David Schnaufer’s Blackberry Winter, a concerto for mountain dulcimer and string orchestra. The piece continues to be in regular rotation on many classical stations around the U.S. (The recording album is titled “Conversations in Silence” and can be sampled and purchased on iTunes.) Stephen has performed performed this piece with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, the Montpelier Chamber Orchestra, and a bunch of others.
Stephen was Adjunct Instructor of Mountain Dulcimer with David Schnaufer at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music from 1997 to 2001. He also taught, performed, and recorded with Mr. Schnaufer as a duo throughout the country. Stephen has authored ten books, four CDs, and 16 instructional videos. See all his latest instructional materials at mountaindulcimeratoz.com.”