Dulcimer Winter Weekend set for Jan. 6-9

The sixth annual Mountain Dulcimer Winter Weekend, sponsored by Western Carolina University, will be held Thursday through Sunday, Jan. 6-9, at the Terrace Hotel at the Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center.

Longtime music educators Elaine and Larry Conger will host this year’s event, which includes classes in mountain dulcimer taught by Anne Lough, Dave Haas and Joe Collins; bowed dulcimer with Ken Bloom; and – new this year – hammered dulcimer with Lough and Ruth Smith. Instruction also will be offered in waltzes for dulcimer, Native American flute music, fast Celtic tunes, hymns and more. The Congers, Miller, Marsha Harris and Will Peebles, director of the School of Music at WCU, will teach elective classes.

Registration for the event is now open at dulcimer.wcu.edu. Tuition for playing participants is $149 and includes all activities. A nonparticipant rate of $40 also is available, which includes attendance at jams, nightly events and Sunday morning singing. Reservations for accommodations should be made separately through the Terrace Hotel at 800-222-4930 or 828-452-2881. Some meals are included with accommodations.

For more information, contact Bobby Hensley of WCU’s Division of Educational Outreach at hensley@wcu.edu or 828-227-7397.

INSTRUCTOR BIOS

Elaine and Larry Conger, hosts

Larry Conger has worked in music for more than 30 years and has several dulcimer books and recordings to his credit. He has earned numerous awards and was named National Mountain Dulcimer Champion in 1998. Elaine Conger is a music educator who has toured with her own band and with Faith Hill, performed at Opryland in Nashville, and directed musical theater productions. The Congers make their home in Paris, Tenn.

Ken Bloom

Ken Bloom, of Pilot Mountain, plays bowed dulcimer, performing across the country and in Canada. He has appeared on the radio show “A Prairie Home Companion.”

Joe Collins

Joe Collins, of Boiling Springs, earned top honors at the 2007 National Mountain Dulcimer Championship. He is the author of several books on dulcimer music, has produced five CDs, and has performed across the country. He is an assistant professor of religion at Gardner-Webb University.

Dave Haas

Dave Haas, of Charleston, W.Va., plays and teaches mountain dulcimer. Haas, who also plays guitar and sings, has released three dulcimer CDs, four instructional workbooks and a popular dulcimer chord chart. He teaches chemistry at the University of Charleston.

Marsha Harris

Marsha Harris, of Morehead City, plays bowed and mountain dulcimer, fiddle, Native American flute and tenor banjo. She is a frequent instructor at dulcimer workshops and has received several awards for her dulcimer performances, including being twice named dulcimer champion at Fiddler’s Grove.

Anne Lough

Anne Lough, of the Iron Duff community in Haywood County, is nationally known as a traditional musician with more than 35 years of experience in performance and teaching. She is an instructor and performer of mountain and hammered dulcimer, traditional singing, storytelling, folklore, folk dance and the shaped-note tradition, and her repertoire ranges from classical music to old standards, show tunes and sacred music.

Jim Miller

Jim Miller, of Johnson City, Tenn., has performed and taught traditional music on the bowed dulcimer for the past 35 years and has handcrafted more than 750 hammered dulcimers. He teaches fourth grade at an elementary school in Roan Mountain, Tenn., and also teaches dulcimer and autoharp at East Tennessee State University.

Will Peebles

Will Peebles is the director of the School of Music at Western Carolina University and established WCU’s Low Tech Ensemble, a gamelan orchestra. He has performed with symphonies throughout the Southeast and plays regularly with the Asheville Symphony.

Ruth Smith

Ruth Smith, of Zionville, plays and composes music for the hammered dulcimer and appreciates the instrument’s adaptability to many types of music, from traditional fiddle tunes and Appalachian songs to Celtic and classical melodies. She teaches dulcimer workshops throughout the country.