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Featured Artists - 2016
Sue Carpenter has been performing and teaching on the mountain dulcimer since 1982. After years of playing piano and organ, she was both drawn to the dulcimer’s simplicity and challenged by its fingerpicking possibilities. As an instrumentalist, she is best known for her expressive style and exceptional technical ability, with a diverse repertoire that covers traditional, folk, original compositions, ragtime, popular music, and more.
Her innovative fingerpicking style has won her many awards. She won a first place and two second places in 1984 at dulcimer competitions in Coshocton, Ohio. More recently, Sue became the 2005 National Mountain Dulcimer Champion at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, KS, after placing second in 2003.
Before moving to Texas years ago, Sue taught in the Albany, NY, area for many years, and in 1985 she founded the Dulcimer Association of Albany. She is a favorite workshop leader and performer at dulcimer festivals from Maine to California.
She has made two CDs: Heliotrope Bouquet and Following the Muse, as well as three books and an instructional DVD.
Karen Alley, the 2014 National Hammered Dulcimer Champion, was playing the fiddle at a folk festival in
Pennsylvania in 2004 when she discovered the hammered dulcimer. It quickly became clear that she could make much nicer sounds on the dulcimer than on the fiddle, and hammered dulcimer rapidly
became a passion. Within a few years, she began sharing her gifts with churches ar`ound central Pennsylvania, as well as playing at open mics throughout the eastern US. She has won both the
Mid-East Regional and National Hammered Dulcimer championships.
Karen moved to Colorado in the fall of 2012 to attend graduate school at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she is pursuing a PhD in glaciology - making her arguably the coolest dulcimer player in America. When she's not thinking about ice, she spends her time teaching dulcimer in Boulder and traveling to festivals throughout the country. Her favorite repertoire shows off the expressive, emotional potential held by the hammered dulcimer, and includes genres from Celtic tunes to hymns to Disney songs. She has released one album, "Sunlit Strings," and has a new album of hymns, "Praise for the Morning," coming this fall. Here's an interview with Karen.
Carol Walker, in a sense, is one of Nutmeg’s own. She came to the very first Nutmeg, and once we discovered that she knew how to teach, we started hiring her for workshops (most years, in fact). Her college degree is in music education, with majors in piano, voice, and harp, and she was a music and chorus teacher in New Jersey for 32 years, winning the Governor’s Teacher of the Year Award in 2003. Though officially retired from the public schools, she remains involved with several choruses and school music programs.
In 1999, while on vacation in Kentucky, Carol bought a mountain dulcimer, and soon enough, she was teaching at dulcimer festivals. Then, inspired by a visit to the Isle of Man in 2009, she began collecting, through archives and field research, hundreds of Manx tunes -- an entire Celtic repertoire that was relatively unknown in the US, and totally unknown on the dulcimer at the time. So far, she has released two Tailless Tunes books of Manx music, as well as a CD, Alas! The Horse Is Gone.
She has also created the three-book series, DNA* Dulcimer Ditties (*tunes so familiar they’re practically etched on your DNA), and last year, she released an instructional video for Homespun Tapes.
Carol is married to internationally acclaimed acoustic guitarist, Toby Walker, and occasionally joins him on stage as vocalist or bassist. And since 2002, she has performed with Wayfarers & Company.
Other Artists - 2016
& Greg Artzner)
Terry Leonino and Greg Artzner, better known as Magpie, are celebrating 43 years of performing together. They’ve earned a spot as major folk artists with global reach, often as featured performers at major festivals such as Philadelphia and Clearwater, and even on stage at Lincoln Center. They have produced programs of music for museums, including the Smithsonian Institution, and are master artists with the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning. They also present school programs on a great variety of historical and environmental subjects. (Frankly, we can’t recall the last time we heard of them being at a dulcimer festival.) They’re based in the Albany, NY area.
They’re known for their strong harmonies, sparkling instrumental arrangements, powerful songs, and a social activism that stems from their own deepest roots. Terry plays mountain dulcimer, harmonica and mandolin. Greg is a masterful guitarist. Award-winning recording artists, singers, songwriters, musical historians, playwrights, actors and social activists, Terry and Greg are proud to be, as Pete Seeger said of them, “…more links in the chain,” dedicating their lives and music to leaving this world a better place.
Don Briggs has been doing live sound since 1979, and has provided systems for the rock bands Foghat and Extreme, as well as many club cover bands. (He also spent several years servicing hearing aids.) Though he did sound full-time for a number of years, he now does it “for fun and prevention of good entertainers sounding bad.” We're delighted to have him doing sound for Nutmeg once again.
Rich Carty has been teaching hammered since 1992 and also playing mountain dulcimer for 35 years, and is one of the founding members of the Greater Pinelands Dulcimer Society. He is also co-owner of Pinelands Folk Music Center, located in Mount Holly, in south Jersey.
Cliff Cole has been playing hammered dulcimer since 1985. His background is in percussion, and he has studied various types of music including rock, blues, jazz and folk. His folk group, DayBreak, has been performing together for over twenty years and has produced six CDs. Cliff is a founding member of the Quakertown Area Dulcimer and Autoharp Society (QUADAS), serves on the board of Perkasie Patchwork Coffeehouse, and is a member of the Nutmeg Team.
Samuel Crawford is a professional guitarist and bassist who performs and teaches in the Boston area. He has performed and recorded in a number of styles, most notably blues, rock, country, jazz, and folk. Recent gigs include dates with “The Voice” finalist Kristen Merlin, The Houston Bernard Band, Strange Changes, Square Peg. He holds a B.A. in music from Manhattanville College.
Sam Edelston is on a quest to bring both mountain dulcimers and hammered dulcimers into widespread public awareness. In the process, has gained a reputation as one of the most innovative mountain dulcimer players around, his music has been heard in over 190 countries, and in the past year he has been booked at festivals as far away as Kentucky and Minnesota. His repertoire ranges from rock to opera, and from big band to bluegrass. He also plays guitar, banjo, and hammered dulcimer, and is chair of this festival.
Ron Ewing has to cancel his trip to Nutmeg this year. His workshop will be taught by Jeremy Seeger. Check out Ron's website at
Rudy Gabrielson is a Nutmeg favorite who, in addition to bringing his love of classic rock and blues to the mountain dulcimer, is also a veteran of several bands on keyboards and harmonica. He's been teaching workshops and leading jams for a couple of decades. After taking one of his workshops, one participant chuckled, "My grandson is not going to believe this."
George Haggerty is an accomplished dulcimer builder, teacher, and player. He and his wife, Mary, are sponsors of their annual festival in Vermont, “August Dulcimer Daze,” which recently celebrated its 25th year. George now teaches mountain dulcimer playing and building at The Putney School in Putney, VT. He has one CD, “Just Friends...One More Time.” And for the first time, we welcome him to Nutmeg.
Mack Johnston has been Music Director and Conductor of the Northeast Dulcimer Orchestra since its formation in December 2013. His background is in guitar and mandolin family instruments. For the past two decades he has played actively with the Providence Mandolin Orchestra and several small ensembles.
Melanie Johnston has been playing Mountain Dulcimer in Connecticut since 2001. She is the founder of the Northeast Dulcimer Orchestra (NDO) and co-founder of the Connecticut Mountain Dulcimer
Gathering http://ctmtdulcimer.com. In addition to playing with the
Northeast Dulcimer Orchestra, she and her husband, Mack, perform as a duo.
Deb Justice started playing hammered dulcimer when she was a kid over twenty years ago. Since then, she's taken the dulcimer through a few styles from klezmer, Middle Eastern, and Balkan to Irish, old-time, and rockabilly. She has a PhD in ethnomusicology, and manages the Cornell Concert Series, at Cornell University, which has been presenting a wide variety of American and global music since 1903.
DK and the Joy Machine
Dian Killian, who performs as DK and the Joy Machine, is a championship-winning, New York City-based mountain dulcimer performer and singer-songwriter known for "rocking out" on dulcimer and playing in innovative ways -- plucking, strumming, sliding, and bowing. Her new album, Shy One, has been lauded by Curve magazine, Alt-Country Forum, and other blogs as, "rootsy Americana that directly touches the heart" with songs that are "quirky and smart and with sultry vocals and intricate dulcimer playing."
Tom MacKenzie is a multi-instrumentalist from Vermont. His relaxed, yet precise playing style crosses over into his teaching philosophy. Music is not always easy, but it should always have a fun factor. The best way to learn is by doing. Tom was a member of the group Woods Tea Company for many years. He teaches hammered dulcimer, banjo, and ukulele, and has four CDs available.
Samantha Moffatt returns to Nutmeg as an instructor after too many years' hiatus. She's a well-known multi-instrumentalist in Vermont, who has been playing the hammered dulcimer since 1981, and she also plays percussion, accordion, guitar, and sings. During the '80s and early '90s, she toured the U.S. and Europe with the duo "Wintergreen," which appeared twice on "A Prairie Home Companion." Her current favorite styles/repertoires are French Cafe music, jazz-swing, bossa nova, French country music, and Quebecois fiddle tunes. Sam currently performs solo and with three ensembles, one of which is based in Montreal.
Don Moore is the leader of Connecticut's Dulcimer Folk Association (DF#A), which has been bringing together dulcimer players and other folk musicians for over 20 years. Don was instrumental in the founding of Nutmeg.
Laurel Schwartz spends over 25 hours a week performing in front of some of the toughest and most demanding audiences around -- she's a middle school music teacher. In addition to the "usual" topics, such as choral music and composition, she teaches dulcimer to her 8th graders, using everything from fiddle tunes to rock music. Some of her student dulcimer players have won awards for their original compositions.
Jeremy Seeger has been building and playing mountain dulcimer for 48 years and has been fascinated by how his playing has changed with the changes in his instruments over time. Music never came easy for him and in his workshop he shares his experience and love for the dulcimer and traditional folk music. The understanding of how he learns and how it has shaped his life have brought new understanding of what it takes to be able to enjoy making music.
Susan Trump has performed and taught at many different dulcimer festivals and camps throughout the US (including being featured at the first-ever Nutmeg Dulcimer Festival). She has written two books for the mountain dulcimer: "The Classical Collection" and a CD/instructional book, "Novice Level Chords and Left Hand Fingerings" ... along with four solo CDs. She produces the "Lessons in Your Living Room," a monthly series for novice and intermediate-and-up level players.
Jon Weinberg has been playing guitar and hammered dulcimer for contra dances, weddings, concerts, and coffee houses throughout New England for over 20 years. He teaches hammered dulcimer both in person and online via Skype, created and leads week-long Hammered Dulcimer Chord Camp workshops in New England and North Carolina each year, and is a regular performer and workshop leader at dulcimer festivals across the country. Jon is a founding member of the contra dance bands Allemande North and Wild Card, and released his first CD "About Time" in 2013.
Dwain Wilder, founder of Bear Meadow Folk Instruments, has been building mountain dulcimers since 1991. He regularly gets orders from as far away as Europe, Great Britain, and the Far East. He has also published poems in various periodicals and collections, and writes occasional essays on Zen practice.
Nina Zanetti is the 2008 National Mountain Dulcimer Champion. She comes to the mountain dulcimer from a diverse musical background, including choral music, violin, viola, piano, and shape note singing. She plays regularly at churches, historic sites, and community events and has taught at dulcimer festivals throughout the country. . She has published nine books of tablature arrangements for mountain dulcimer, and is featured on Masters of the Mountain Dulcimer Play Music for Christmas (CD). She has recorded a CD of solos and duets with Bill Collins, as well as a solo CD, Beside Still Waters.
Vendors - 2016
Dwain Wilder - mountain dulcimers
Ron Ewing - mountain dulcimers & capos
Folk Craft Music
George Haggerty - mountain dulcimers, and more
Rich & Mary Carty - hammered dulcimers, mountain dulcimers, and more