Musicians Larry and Elaine Conger will host the 12th annual Mountain Dulcimer Week, to be held Sunday, July 17, through Friday, July 22, on the campus of Western Carolina University.
This weeklong residential program draws dulcimer enthusiasts from around the country for a week of dulcimer music, training, fun and fellowship. Registration for the event, sponsored by WCU’s Division of Educational Outreach, is now open online at http://dulcimer.wcu.edu.
The Congers, of Paris, Tenn., also hosted the event last year. They have designed a program that should appeal to players of all ages, skill levels and musical tastes, said Bobby Hensley, associate director of continuing education.
“Their experience as classroom instructors and nationally sought-after performers makes Larry and Elaine the very best at what they do,” said Hensley, who noted that the couple has put together a “first-class staff” of instructors for the event.
Honored as the nation’s champion mountain dulcimer player in 1998, Larry Conger is the author of eight books of dulcimer arrangements and has been featured on numerous recordings, including “Masters of the Mountain Dulcimer II,” “National Champions” and “Great Players of the Mountain Dulcimer.” He presents dulcimer programs in the public schools as a participating artist for the Tennessee Arts Commission and Kentucky Arts Council.
Elaine Conger’s musical career includes playing keyboards and singing backup for country music artist Faith Hill. With her husband, Conger now owns and operates a music studio that offers instruction in piano, guitar, drums, voice and mountain dulcimer. A former classroom teacher who earned degrees in music education and elementary education, she has directed and performed in numerous theatrical productions.
Attendees of Mountain Dulcimer Week spend mornings developing their playing skills and afternoons choosing from electives that allow them to explore different facets of the versatile mountain dulcimer. This year’s program will take place in WCU’s recently opened Blue Ridge Residence Hall, which features a conference center.
“This new location means less walking for all participants. Sleeping rooms, workshops, concerts, jam sessions, meals and a marketplace area will all be within a few steps of each other,” Hensley said.
To register or find out more about WCU Mountain Dulcimer Week, call 828-227-7397 or go online to http://dulcimer.wcu.edu.