JESSICA COMEAU lives in Pensacola, Florida, and has been playing the mountain dulcimer for about 15 years. She enjoys discovering, composing, and arranging music, especially within the Celtic, British, medieval, and Appalachian folk traditions. Jessica is a founding member of the Pensacola Mountain Dulcimer Wildflowers project (an outreach that seeks to promote feature, and support the mountain dulcimer), and she continues to perform, learn new music, and teach other mountain dulcimer players. She has competed and placed in several mountain dulcimer championships and has taught at a variety of national and regional dulcimer festivals. On her YouTube channel, Jessica shares recordings of her unique mountain dulcimer music. Jessica holds a B.A. degree in English, an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction, and certification to teach English 6-12 and Humanities K-12 in the state of Florida. She enjoys sharing her passion for music, literature, art, and the humanities and the ways in which these disciplines mutually enrich each other. Jessica has also produced a solo album, Songs of the Earthly Pilgrimage: Medieval and World Folk Music on the Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer, and a book and DVD set, Mountain Dulcimer Wildflowers: A Collection of Original Arrangements of Early Music and Traditional Songs for Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer.
BING FUTCH can often be found teaching music workshops at various festivals and colleges, presenting music education programs at schools and libraries and producing episodes of his video podcast, "Dulcimerica", which has been viewed by millions of people worldwide and is currently in its tenth year.
Futch is well-known for his wide variety of musical stylings, giving equal time to traditional and contemporary Americana. In 2016, he entered the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee and went all the way to the finals where he was awarded "Best Solo Guitar", despite having been the only mountain dulcimer performer in the event.
GARY GALLIER has been called "The Father of Flatpicking" on the Mountain Dulcimer. He has been described as a "world class player who is also a world class teacher". For over 35 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. As a teacher, Gary takes the mystery out his exciting playing style with a fun, organized, and personal approach. Students come away with completely new playing skills to add to their existing tool box. Gary makes his home in Springfield, Missouri.
DAVE HAAS lives in Charleston , WV and has been playing the mountain dulcimer for over 10 years. He teaches dulcimer in both private and group settings, and was the founder of the Almost Heaven Dulcimer Club in Charleston , WV . Dave loves to share the mountain dulcimer and its history with schools, churches, and civic organizations, and has even brought dulcimer music to those in prison! Dave also plays the guitar, sings, and leads music on Christian retreat experiences such as Kairos Prison Ministry, The Walk To Emmaus, and Teens Encounter Christ.
ANNE MACFIE has been playing dulcimer and performing in dulcimer festivals, workshops and concerts for over 40 years. She is well known throughout the dulcimer community for her festival, The Great American Dulcimer Convention, held each September at Pine Mountain State Resort Park in Pineville, Kentucky. She brings together the nation's finest dulcimer and hammered dulcimer instructors and performers and has been host to such greats as Jean Ritchie, John Renbourne, David Schnaufer, Margaret MacArthur, and many more.
Anne plays dulcimer and guitar, as well as other instruments, and has the reputation of being one of Kentucky's finest song-writers. Her original songs often document the traditions of Kentucky, the legends, the people, the places and the times. She has taught dulcimer almost since she started playing and currently teaches during several Rhodes Scholar programs at the Kentucky Leadership Center in Jabez, Kentucky, as well as many other festivals and events.
Anne brings a lifetime of experience to KMWW and whether you are taking her beginning class or her class on setting up your dulcimer to play in a key that fits your vocal range, you will enjoy your time with this artist, and she will help you improve as a musician by sharing her remarkable talents.
MARTHA RICHARD has been playing the hammered dulcimer both as a solo performer and a member of the Heartland Dulcimer Club for over 20 years. She enjoys playing the "lovely" tunes as well as the feisty fiddle tunes during festival jam sessions.
Martha is a long time instructor at several festivals in the Midwest. Recent teaching engagements include the Spring Mill Retreat, the Heartland Dulcimer Club Festival, the Evart Funfest, and Kentucky Music Week and Winter Weekend. She has a strong group of hammer dulcimer students who meet on a regular basis in Elizabethtown, Ky. Martha has been the Festival Coordinator for the Ohio Valley Gathering for the past three years.
It is a privilege to teach new players and see the joy they have playing this fine instrument.
GARY SAGER became interested in the Mountain Dulcimer in 1991 after seeing David Schnaufer's "Fischer's Hornpipe" video on CMT. He built a dulcimer in late 1991, then began building seriously in 1992 and has been building and playing since that time. Gary, along with wife Toni are the owners of "Prussia Valley Dulcimers Music Shop", opening in 2001 in Waverly, Ohio were they also reside. Gary has taught mountain dulcimer playing workshops at many festivals in the mid-west and southeast as far as Key West, FL, performing at many of these as well. Gary's first experience in recording was playing accompaniment on Doug Felt's "A Little of This & A Little of That" CD. Later, Gary and Toni made their first CD, "Rats In the Fence Corner", recorded, engineered and mastered by Stephen Seifert. Gary is also the author of a mountain dulcimer tablature book "Other Tunes For the Appalachian Dulcimer", an eclectic selection of tunes not usually heard on the instrument.
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 and The tono American Music Festival, in Tono, Japan.
Stephen has been a dulcimer soloist with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, now know 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 most recently performed this piece with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, and the Montpelier Chamber Orchestra.
RUTH SMITH Dirty Linen Folk & World Magazine says, "Ruth Smith's touch on the hammered dulcimer is absolutely magical, with exquisite phrasing, highlighting the range of the instrument especially on her own pieces." Ruth is known for bringing the softer side of the hammered dulcimer to life. Dulcimer Players News says she is, "very sensitive to the nuances of the music, allowing each tune to breathe." Ruth employs hands-on teaching techniques that place special emphasis on playing expressively.
A native North Carolinian and musician from a very young age, Ruth records and performs with her husband, Steve, specializing in Celtic Appalachian music. Her compositions and arrangements have been featured in Dulcimer Players News and on NPR's All Things Considered, All Songs Considered, Thistle & Shamrock, XM & Sirius satellite radio, Direct-TV and Dish Network, and Highlander Radio Network.
STEVE SMITH, from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. is an ASCAP award-winning songwriter and Appalachian musician. Dulcimer Players News says, "He is a master storyteller and the perfect vocalist to convey the meaning of his lyrics. His songs stand out for their imagery and melodic strength . . . on par with John Denver's songs." Steve teaches workshops nationwide on songwriting, guitar, clawhammer banjo, and ukulele. Dirty Linen World & Folk Music Magazine says "for the traditional, Steve Smith's clawhammer banjo adds a rich, true sound." Steve taught recording/audio production for 18 years at Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, and previously worked in the recording industry in Nashville, Los Angeles, and Hawaii. Steve, along with wife Ruth, produce and engineer all of their CDs. Steve also teaches music business workshops on music production, recording, performance techniques, as well as music copyrights, clearance, and licensing.
RICK THUM taught himself to play guitar and drums at age twelve and played the trumpet in his high school band. Throughout high school and college (B. S. Industrial Administration) Rick played in rock bands, eventually playing regularly on the upper deck of the Admiral in St. Louis. While raising his family Rick directed his church choir. Rick's interest in traditional music was sparked when he bought a hammered dulcimer on a whim and found himself in a three-piece folk band. In 1991 Rick became co-owner of a large Midwestern acoustic instrument shop. In 1994 he sold his interest in the shop to devote more time to being a traveling musician. He placed first at the 1994 Southwest Regional Dulcimer Contest and third in the 1995 National Championship at Winfield, Kansas. Rick was voted Best Performer and Favorite Teacher for several years running at the prestigious Evart Dulcimer Funfest.
Mark Alan Wade
Mark Alan Wade
MARK ALAN WADE audiences are drawn into a broad spectrum of emotions that his music evokes. Mark captures the joy of American traditional music from fiddle tunes to Texas Swing to Jazz. Just after he has fired off a fiddle tune with a frenzied display of technical marvel, his mastery of the subtleties and finesse of Celtic Airs and Chopin Nocturnes will put a tear in your eye. It's not surprising that his 1998 National Contest-winning repertoire included a Celtic ballad, a contemporary piece by Rich Mullins, a Baroque harpsichord solo and, of course, Danny Boy.
Mark is a National Hammered Dulcimer champion and performs all over the world on hammered dulcimer, mountain dulcimer, trumpet, piano, guitar, and penny whistles.