Here’s hoping that all of you have marked November 21-24th on your calendar to attend the 31st Annual NGFDA Fall Festival at Unicoi State Park, which is beautifully nestled in the North Georgia Mountains in Helen, Georgia.
This year we have a great lineup of faculty and workshop leaders as follows:
Joe Collins: Joe has been a folk musician and mountain dulcimer player since the late 70s. A songwriter and vocalist, he performs with a lot of humor and some excellent mountain dulcimer playing - sure to bring a smile to audiences of all ages. He has won numerous competitions, including the 2007 National Mountain Dulcimer Championship in Winfield, Kansas. In addition to performing, Joe is also well known for his many dulcimer tab books and his laid back teaching style. He puts his doctorate in Adult Education to good use in festivals all over the country. Website: https://www.jcdulcimer.com/
Matthew Dickerson: Matthew Dickerson is a national champion and full time performer, and entertainer on the Hammered Dulcimer. Matthew began playing the hammered dulcimer at the young age of 15 on a homemade instrument he had constructed from a water damaged piano. His push for progress and talent led him to compete in the Mideast Regional Hammered Dulcimer Competition in 2012, which he won. Shortly thereafter he also went on to compete in and win the 2012 National Hammered Dulcimer Championship at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas. Matthew's fun, personal and candid stage presents has taken him all across America and overseas to perform familiar tunes from the 50's and 60's, film scores, traditional, and original music performed on the hammered dulcimer. He released his first album in the summer of 2014 (When I'm Happy And I Know It), and his second (So Sings My Strings) in the summer of 2018. With a genuine appreciation for great music and talent in multiple genres, he continues to reach for new heights in both style and performance as he represents himself as one of the best dulcimer players in the world. Matthew resides with his wife and two sons in Aiken, South Carolina. Website: http://www.thedulcimerguy
Nancy Galambush: Nancy Galambush is a Mountain Dulcimer instructor from North Carolina. She began playing in the 1990’s when her husband, the late JC Bradshaw, asked her to learn to play an instrument he had built. Almost from the beginning, Nancy has enjoyed teaching others to play, and watching them experience the joy of playing traditional music. Over the years, she has learned much about teaching, taking classes from some of the best-known dulcimer instructors in the country and studying teaching at Western Carolina University’s Dulcimer U program. Perhaps her most important teachers have been her students without musical experience, who have helped her find teaching strategies that meet their needs. She has taught at dulcimer workshops across North Carolina, in Virginia and Georgia and in Cordova, Alaska, in addition to private students. Nancy has a special interest in the history of the mountain dulcimer and enjoys sharing that history during her concerts and through East Carolina University’s Lifelong Learning Program. Nancy’s goal for beginning students is for them to experience the excitement of finding that they CAN play, even if they have no musical background, and to be eager to learn more. With more advanced students, she uses a variety of approaches, whether teaching skills or tunes, recognizing that students have differing strengths and therefore differing needs. A member and coordinator of the Waterbound Dulcimers club in Kinston, NC, she also plays in Flat Mountain Dulcimers along with Dave and Margit Roberson, combining the sounds of the mountain dulcimer with the guitar, mandolin and cello. Nancy plays cello in the Pitt Community College Symphony Orchestra and lives in Snow Hill, NC. Nancy lives in Snow Hill, NC. Website: https://www.nancygalambush.com/
Lois Hornbostel: Based in Bryson City, NC, Lois is a true pioneer of modern mountain dulcimer playing. She has written 6 collections of mountain dulcimer technique instruction and music arranged for it – old-time, world music, duets, Irish music, and Cajun music. Lois started playing the mountain dulcimer in the late 1970s, influenced by Jean Ritchie, Howie Mitchell, Frank Proffitt Jr., and many other fine players of the time. She tours nationally playing and teaching mountain dulcimer with her husband, Ehukai Teves. Their lively and beautifully polished performances have won acclaim for several years. Lois has been awarded over 20 mountain dulcimer playing championships, and is a master teacher. She’s taught many thousands of adults and children, and is one of the most influential dulcimer event organizers. She directed the Appalachian State University Mountain Dulcimer Workshop for 13 years, the Swannanoa Gathering Dulcimer Week, founded the Western Carolina Univ. Mountain Dulcimer Week and directed it for 10 years, later starting her own event called “Dulcimerville.” Lois and Ehukai’s website is www.DulcimerMusic.Net
Judy House: Judy first started playing the dulcimer in 1995. In 2010, she was approached by Forsyth Technical Community College to teach the mountain dulcimer in their outstanding Continuing Education department. This class has been a real success story for FTCC. It has continued to meet since 2010 with most of the original students still together and continuing their learning experience. Since then they have added two additional levels of ongoing classes, with two of the classes performing regularly in the Triad area of North Carolina. The group has been featured in both the Forsyth Tech Quarterly and the Winston-Salem Monthly magazine. Website: http://www.judyhousemusic.com/home.html
Kirk House: Kirk has been playing the dulcimer for 12 years; for the last six years he has specialized in the bass dulcimer. He is a Nationally Certified Dulcimer Teacher, through Western Carolina University (Dulcimer U program). Kirk plays several different styles and designs of bass dulcimer, including 3-string, 4-string, and double-bass. He performs as part of a duo with his wife Judy House, as well as a member of the trio 'Cantabile-Jubilee', and the quartet string section, 'SASSY'. Other musical interests of Kirk's include mandolin, bowed dulcimer, ukulele, and shape-note singing. Kirk is delighted to be making his first appearance at Unicoi as an instructor. Website: http://www.judyhousemusic.com/home.html
Anne Lough: Anne is a nationally known traditional musician, highly acclaimed for her skill as a performer and educator. Anne has a Music Education Degree from Murray State University, Murray, Ky and a Master of Music Education Degree from Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC. Dedicated to the preservation of traditional music, stories and folklore, she now devotes her time to festivals, Road Scholar classes, workshops, performances and school residencies. Her artistic interpretation, sensitive playing style, versatility, creative arranging and skill as an instructor have given her opportunities to share the music and inspire students in major venues of the dulcimer community. In addition to being a regular instructor of mountain and hammered dulcimer at the prestigious John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC, Anne has taught at the Swannanoa Gathering, Western CarWebsite: http://www.jimmillerdulcimer.com/olina Dulcimer Week, Augusta Heritage Dulcimer Week, Kentucky Music Week, Ozark. Website: http://www.annelough.com
Jim Miller: Jim has been playing and performing traditional music for the past 40 years. An accomplished instrument builder and teacher, he has taught workshops at numerous festivals as well as won many awards for his musicianship, including first place dulcimer at both Galax, VA and Fiddler's Grove, NC. For twenty years, Jim was the owner of the Hampton Music Shop, in Hampton, Tennessee, where he handcrafted over 750 hammered dulcimers. He has played with Celtic, Bluegrass, Swing, Blues and Old Time bands, and has done session work on many recordings. He currently performs in a duo accompanied by his wife, Cheri, on guitar. In addition to being an accomplished performer and workshop leader, Jim also is an enthusiastic jam facilitator who likes to get everyone involved. His "chord signing for the harmonically impaired" is legendary. He plays guitar, mandolin, banjo, mandocello, bass, steel drum, percussion, hammered and mountain dulcimers as well as his own off-the-wall musical inventions, which are always entertaining. Jim holds a Masters degree in Elementary Education with an endorsement in instrumental music. He recently retired from teaching 4th grade at Cloudland Elementary School in Roan Mountain, Tennessee, where he still leads an after school traditional string band program. He is also an adjunct professor teaching mandolin, ukulele, dulcimer and autoharp in the Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music program at East Tennessee State University and plays mandocello in the ETSU Mandolin Orchestra. Website: http://www.jimmillerdulcimer.com
Michael Shull: Michael is a 4 time award winning Mountain Dulcimer player. He has to his credit 15 CDs and has written 8 tab books As a multi-instrumentalist, he has been playing for 25 years on many other instruments as well as the dulcimer. Website: http://www.michaelshull.com/
Ehukai (pronounced Ay-who-kai) Teves: Although nw living in Bryson City, NC, is a native Hawaiian who has developed an original playing and arranging style on the mountain dulcimer. On the mainland his main influences have been Jean Ritchie and his wife, Lois Hornbostel. He’s an experienced multi-instrumentalist who shines on bass guitar, Chapman Stick, ukulele, drums, flute, tin whistle, keyboards and more. Ehukai holds a B.A. in Vocal Performance & Music Theory from the University of Hawaii at Hilo. His approaches to playing chords and many keys on the mountain dulcimer have expanded the instrument’s capabilities in playing with other instruments and in many vocal ranges. He has composed over 300 songs, including a HOKU Award (Hawaiian Grammys). He has performed for over 40 years, first with his parents, who were very popular traditional Hawaiian musicians, and later with several popular bands in Hawaii. His repertoire ranges from songs in Hawaiian, to rock’n’roll, blues, jazz, classical, old-time, bluegrass. Check out the beautiful natural sound of his hard-body dulcimers! Using modern developments in sound equipment and special building techniques they have an acoustic sound that can fill large rooms. Ehukai and Lois’s website is http://www.DulcimerMusic.Net .
Rick Thum: Ranked as the most influential dulcimer player of the last decade by readers of Dulcimer Player News, Rick Thum has made his mark on every aspect of the hammered dulcimer world. Rick is perhaps best known from his latest album, “Down the Old Dirt Road,” and his festival performances, which have regularly earned him the “most popular performer” title at the largest national dulcimer festival. He brings a combination of passion and friendly accessibility to his teaching that makes his workshops and master classes favorites at festivals across the country, and has tapped this teaching experience to produce the best-selling instructional CD series for hammered dulcimer, the “Original Song of the Month Club”. Rick is also the designer of the highly-regarded line of hammered dulcimers bearing his name. Yet for all his time in the studio, onstage, in the classroom, and in the luthier’s shop, Rick is most at home at a late-night jam session, where you might even find him playing an instrument other than the dulcimer from time to time. Website: http://rthum.com
Mary Lynn van Deventer: Mary Lynn earned a Bachelor's degree in music education from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Master's degree from Eastman School of Music. Prior to discovering the hammered dulcimer, Mary Lynn performed with the Durham Symphony for 20 years, serving as Principal Horn for five of those years. She has also taught flute and piano. First a professional French horn player, Mary Lynn discovered a passion for playing the hammered dulcimer in 2012. And she hasn’t looked back, now performing and teaching as a hammered dulcimer player for the last four years. She maintains a flock of nearly 100 hammered dulcimer students privately and on FaceTime. She assists Ken Kolodner for three of Kolodner's Sandbridge Hammered Dulcimer Retreats, an elite hammered dulcimer retreat held in Sandbridge Beach, VA, and she prepares many of the Sandbridge participants. Performances and teaching appearances include The Evart FunFest (2017, 2018, 2019), The National Cathedral (DC), The Black Mountain Festival, The Poconos Dulcimer Festival and with Kolodner in Chicago, Watkins Glen, NY and elsewhere. Website: http://www.marylynnsmusic.com/
Festival registration fees for NGFDA members will remain at $125.00 for the full festival; one day, at $55.00 and $50.00 for children under 12. These prices include concert tickets for Thursday and Friday night. There will be a free contra dance Saturday night with time for jamming afterward.
Registration will begin on August 15th, and close on October 15. Dues for 2020 must be paid at the time of registration in order to attend. Dues are annual and members pay their dues on a calendar year basis beginning with the Fall Festival Registration process. Members who do not attend the festival can begin paying January 2020 via US Postal Service.) or online with a credit card at: www.ngfda.com under renew your membership.
Non NGFDA members can also register for the festival starting August 15th. The fee for a non-members will be $155.00. This price includes your concert tickets for Thursday & Friday night.