We are so pleased to have these outstanding instructors with us for our 43rd year! You can get to know them a little with the information on this page that they have provided for us.
Bing Futch: With roots in both African and Seminole Indian tribes, Bing's window on America is a unique landscape of music, words, and imagery. He began playing Appalachian mountain dulcimer at Knott's Berry Farm theme park in 1986. That same year Bing founded Crazed Bunnyz - the trio grew popular in the CCM college radio scene and has remained a fan favorite long after disbanding in 1988. Since then, Bing has enjoyed a diverse and prolific solo career, composing dozens of scores for film, theater, themed attractions and television. Bing left California in 1993 to pursue production opportunities in central Florida. Some of his early projects include the eight-part travelogue "Disney Overload", serving as musical director and composing an original score for a production of "The Jungle Book: A Musical Adaptation" ,and in 1999 forming Mohave - the award-winning Americana band. As a solo performer, Bing's high-energy, crowd pleasing shows and unique approach to the mountain dulcimer have made him a popular national act from California to Connecticut. Named 2006 "Songwriter of the Year" by the Songwriters Showcases of America, Bing has become a featured artist at festivals, fairs, concert halls, pubs, cafes, house concerts, etc. Alongside his performing career, Bing has become a popular instructor of the mountain dulcimer and Native American flute. His video podcast, Dulcimerica, has been viewed by over a million people worldwide. Bing is also an accomplished writer whose music columns in Jam, Ink-19 and Connections Magazine have been a staple in Florida for over ten years. He and his wife, Jae, live in Orlando, so close to Walt Disney World that you can see the fireworks from their interstate exit. www.bingfutch.com or www.darkstudios.com David and Annette Lindsey : David first discovered the hammered dulcimer in June of 1978 while vacationing at Silver Dollar City, Missouri. Later that summer he bought a dulcimer kit, put it together, and taught himself to play. Right away David realized he was looking for a different sound than the kit had, so in November of that year he built his first dulcimer from scratch. Meanwhile, Annette became interested in the mountain dulcimer when visiting Mr. View, Arkansas, when she and David discovered the Ozark Folk Center in April of 1979. After purchasing a mountain dulcimer, David and Annette helped found the Sweet Song String Band, a group that is still active today. While playing in those early days, audience members began to ask where they could purchase a hammered dulcimer, and join the growing community of players for themselves. Once they learned that David had built his own dulcimer he was asked to make dulcimers for them – and David’s Dulcimers was born. David and Annette travel all over the United States performing, instructing, and selling David’s Dulcimers. They are privileged at times to get to perform with their daughters, Angie and Cara. Cara is continuing David’s love for playing the hammered dulcimer as well as learning the trade of making them. She has been working with David in the shop and building dulcimers with him since 2004. The family enjoys playing and singing old-time and gospel songs, and all are very involved in the Red River Valley Dulcimer Club and sponsoring Winter Creek Reunion, held every year in October at the home of David’s Dulcimers in Bennington, Oklahoma. Their favorite thing to do is to help others find the love for the music that changed their lives so completely that day back in 1978. www.DavidsDulcimers.com Mark Wade is an avid hammered dulcimer performer, composer, and teacher. A National Hammered Dulcimer Champion, he can be heard on more than a dozen recordings and is a columnist for the Dulcimer Players News journal. An active private teacher, Mark's students include the 2004, 2007, and 2012 National Hammered Dulcimer Champions. Mark has also published four instructional books with Mel Bey, Inc. When Mark was a student, his trumpet playing was his gateway into music schools, since the American dulcimer was not a standard conservatory instrument. His exceptional trumpeting allowed him to expand his musical limits throughout academia, which culminated in his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Trumpet Performance from The Ohio State University. All the while, the formal training of his trumpet studies was being absorbed into his dulcimer playing. This is the very essence of Mark's unique style - a blend of traditional dulcimer playing with his formal classical training. Mark is proud to have served the dulcimer community as the only professor in the U.S. offering dulcimer lessons for academic credit. Mark was invited lecturer and performer at the 2013 Cimbalom World Congress in Taipei, Taiwan. In addition he has toured Austria, Slovakia and Hungary as principal trumpet of the Classical Music Festival Orchestra and Brass Quintet of Eisenstadt, Austria. He has performed for audiences of notables including: Presidents George Bush, Sr. and Bill Clinton, Ross Perot, and former U.S Secretary of Defense, William S. Cohen. Wade has also performed with the Beach Boys and the Lancaster Festival Orchestra, Columbus Symphony Orchestra, West Virginia Symphony Orchestra, the Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra, Benedict College Community Orchestra, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, and the Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra. Mark and his wife, Cristina, live in Akron, OH with their two sons. He has published six instructional books for the hammered dulcimer, 7 CDs, as well as various arrangements of classical pieces in sheet music. He was the headliner at the 2012 Coshocton Dulcimer Days Festival. More information can be found at: www.markalanwade.com or "friend" him on facebook.com. Bill Schilling has been singing and playing various folk instruments for over 40 years. He has performed for audiences of all ages in many settings from coast to coast. His high-energy performances may include folk songs, slide programs, and/or stories selected specifically for your group. His performances often involve members of your group. Bill regularly performs and records with other artists including Linda Sigismondi. Since Bill believes that his music should be inclusive, he is involved in many groups which share music including leading Dulci-More: Folk & Traditional Musicians. He has been the director of Dulci-More Festival since it began, and the twenty-first one will be on Memorial Day weekend in Lisbon, Ohio. Bill plays 6 and 12 string guitars, autoharp, octave mandolin, hammered and mountain dulcimers, 6 and 12 string banjo guitars, National steel guitar, mandolin, ukuleles, bowed psaltery, recorders, electric wind instrument, harmonicas, bazooka, jug, and an assortment of inexpensive or homemade instruments. Bill is also a charter executive committee member and past president of Folknet: the Northeast Ohio Folk and Traditional Music and Dance Society, leader of the Dulcimer Society of Trumbull County, an original member of the Canton Folk Song Society, and Music Coordinator of Folk Music at Weatherbury Farm. www.billschilling.org
Country Sunrise Special has been joyfully making music for more than 25 years. They have evolved from their early beginnings as The Nicholas Family some 60+ years ago. They were honored to represent both Ohio and West Virginia at the International Folklife Festivals held in Washington, D.C. in the early and mid 1970’s. Recordings of their music are included in the history files of America at the Smithsonian Institute. They have been fortunate to share the stage with Boxcar Willie, Country Gentlemen, Stoneman Family, Lewis Family, Johnny Paycheck, Larkin Family, Dan Seals, and others. They offer tight mixed vocal harmonies and strong acoustic instrumentation. Look for them playing in the village!
Jim Miller plays Irish style wooden flute, penny whistle, recorder, modern (Boehm) flute, and mandolin. While his daughter was growing up, he spent summer weekends accompanying her to Irish dance competitions, soaking up the music and learning to play it. He has studied with the Cleveland Comhaltas Irish traditional music group, and played with the contra-dance band Mud In Yer Eye. He is a member of the Mixed Up Strings of Summit County lap dulcimer group, Dulci-More: Folk & Traditional Musicians, and Village Musicians hammer dulcimer group. Jim plays in a Youngstown area Irish seisium and with several open old-time music groups, including the Kent Shindig All-Stars. He has presented workshops for whistle, flute, and other instruments at the Dulci-More Festival, Central Ohio Folk Festival, and other gatherings. JimMiller@neo.rr.com Sharon Kirby is a bowed psaltery player and co-owner of Spring Creek Psalteries, along with her husband, Terry Kirby. She has performed at Dulcimer Days, the Apple Butter Stirrin' festival, Roscoe Village's Christmas Candle Lighting festivities, and at the Symphony held at Tamarack in West Virginia. She also enjoys entertaining at local nursing homes in her home town of Massillon, Ohio. www.springcreekpsalteries.com
Brett's philosophy is that "anyone can make music, regardless of age, musical ability or knowledge!" Brett teaches several workshops throughout the tri-state area and is a full-time musician/instructor. Brett has authored and marketed a series of instructional CDs that display his friendly method of teaching the hammered dulcimer. He currently has a lesson series available on YouTube and also teaches lessons via Skype and FaceTime. A recent workshop in Tampa, Florida attracted 37 attendees, one participant drove all the way from Texas for the three-hour workshop, and his workshop in Knoxville, TN brought in participants from eight states. He has released a total of nine recordins; of which five are currently available. Additionally, an original composition written and performed by Brett Ridgeway is featured in the soundtrack of "The Path of the Wind", a 2010 movie which features Wilford Brimley.
Phyllis Woods Brown
Phyllis is proud to come from a "musical" family! She has been performing for over 40 years. A performer at heart, she began her musical journey at the age of 13 when she found an old guitar sitting int he corner of her grandparents' house. She picked it up, taught herself to play, and started performing at the age of 15. Phyllis studied music education at Tennessee Tech University, and was delighted to find her TRUE musical passion in traditional and old-time music when her father built both her first mountain and hammered dulcimers, and she found the dulcimer community. She has taught and performed at numerous venues, including festivals, weddings, fundraisers, church services, and special events. Phyllis plays by ear and teaches by music, although reading music is not a prerequisite for taking her classes. While she has free tutorials on her website for several tunes, she prefers in the workshop environment to teach HOW to play rather than WHAT to play, with chords being a primary focus of embellishment and back-up techniques. While the hammered dulcimer is her first love and primary instrument, she also teaches mountain dulcimer, guitar, and clawhammer banjo privately. To date, Phyllis has 6 CDs available, one teaching book, and four books of her arrangements. Her website is www.phylliswoodsbrown.com
Award winning singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, poet, performer, teacher, and nationally touring musician. Born in North Carolina, raised in Oklahoma, and with roots stretching from Louisiana to Canada, and Scotland to the Native Americans, Wend weaves an eclectic tapestry of diverse instruments, cultures and and songs from across the globe. Classically trained in piano from the age of five, Wendy's firm foundation in music has paved her way to a myriad of other instruments, including guitar, ukulele, mountain dulcimer, djembe, bodhran, celtic whistle, native flute, and more. Her songwriting, poetry, and vocal and instrumental proficiency have earned her multiple state, regional and national awards. Wendy continues to promote music education, teaching private, group, in-person and online music lessons across multiple instruments to students of every age and experience level. Wendy also volunteers weekly throughout the year, within her community, providing hands-on music enrichment to children, disabled adults, the ill, impoverished and the elderly. Wendy tours extensively and her music has been featured on radio, television, and at several music festivals. She has also collaborated on multiple CDs, including the 2014 release, "In Full Bloom" with The Vintage Wildflowers, the 2012 "Celtic Christmas Showdown" with Jonathan Dowell, and the 2011 "RV Project" with Bing Futch. She has also released two solo albums, both produced by Bing Futch: 2015 "Test Drive" and all acoustic, traditional, Appalachian mountain dulcimer CD, and 2016 "Driven" and all original work layered with vocals, lyrics and multiple instruments.
Wendy is the 2012 Southeast Regional Mountain Dulcimer Champion, and the 2012 Lone Star State Mountain Dulcimer Champion. www.wendysonge.com and www.patreon.com/wendysonge
Gary became interested in the mountain dulcimer in 1991 after seeing David Schnaufer's "Fischer's Hornpipe" video. He has been building and playing dulcimers since that time. Gary's mountain dulcimers bear the name "Prussia Valley" and are known for fine craftsmanship, pleasant tone and great sustain. Gary began teaching mountain dulcimer in 1995 at various mid-west festivals. Gary, along with wife Toni playing autoharp, released their first CD in 2006 titled "Rats in The Fence Corner" which features an eclectic mix of fiddle, country, contemporary and Irish tunes. Gary can also be heard on Doug Felt's recording "A Little Of This, A Little OF That". Being one of the instructor/performers of the First Annual Key West Dulcimer Festival in 2010, Gary also has a selection on the Key West Dulcimer Festival CD. Several years ago Gary authored his first tablature book for mountain dulcimer entitles "Other Tunes for Appalachian Dulcimer". In 2001, Gary, along with wife Toni, opened the "Prussia Valley Dulcimers Music Shop" in Waverly, Ohio. From there, they supply instruments, recordings and instructional material to folk musicians throughout the US and the world. firstname.lastname@example.org
Through the discovery of an Evart, MIchigan dulcimer fest in 2003, a wonderful career has been launched adding hammered dulcimer and mountain dulcimer to my world of music as I travel far and near teaching and performing, sharing the stage with nation dulcimer champions. Combining my masters degree and love of teaching, community workshops have been designed to bring quick and easy success, laughter and understanding of how to play the dulcimer using chording in fiddle and Irish tunes as well as classical and contemporary tunes.
Vanderveer Brothers String Band
An energetic band that specializes in performing traditional old-time music. The band features four brothers who each play a variety of instruments- hammered dulcimer, guitar, banjo, fiddle, piano, mandolin, mountain dulcimer, bones, penny whistle, jaw harp and harmonica. Their detailed arrangements and obvious enjoyment of the music make their concerts an unforgettable experience.
Christopher, the band leader and main music arranger, was the 2014 Lone Star State Hammered Dulcimer Champion, but his favorite instrument is the banjo. He is noted for his enthusiastic and slightly unconventional clawhammer playing style. He also plays piano, mountain dulcimer, and mandolin.
Nicholas, guitar player, provides the musical foundation. His playing is characterized by his rhythmic style, steady beat, rousing bar chords, and harmonizing bass runs. He also plays piano and mandolin.
Joel adds a nice touch to the band's old-time sound with his fiddle and pennywhistle. He also plays piano and the bones (percussion).
Luke, lead hammered dulcimer player, is known for his incredible natural talent and ability to learn songs very quickly. At age 9, he was the 2013 Lone Star State Hammered Dulcimer Champion and holds the record as the youngest winner of that competition. He also plays pennywhistle, piano, harmonica, stand-up bass, and jaw harp.