National champs to teach at WCU’s Dulcimer U Summer Week

Five dulcimer players who have earned the title of “national champion” will be part of the instructional staff for Dulcimer U Summer Week, Western Carolina University’s 14th annual conference of mountain dulcimer classes, concerts and jam sessions.

Set for Sunday, July 14, through Friday, July 19, this year’s dulcimer confab at WCU will offer classes for every skill level, from beginners to veteran players, and a variety of performances featuring the traditional Appalachian instrument.

“Dulcimer U continues its longstanding tradition of giving students the best educational experience available for the mountain dulcimer,” said Bobby Hensley, associate director of continuing education at WCU. “The instructional staff will include champions Sue Carpenter, Joe Collins, Larry Conger, Gary Gallier and Sarah Morgan.”

Participants will decide which learning group is right for them based on their ability level and the techniques on which they wish to improve, Hensley said. Specialized classes being offered throughout the week include “Beautiful Songs for the Dulcimer” with Ralph Lee Smith, “Dulcimer Building” with Bob Magowan, “Caregiving and Comfort Using the Mountain Dulcimer” with Lorinda Jones and “How to Learn Tunes by Ear” with Marsha Harris. Also, Conger will teach a master class and lead a mountain dulcimer ensemble with his wife, Elaine Conger, and Collins will instruct a class titled “From Player to Teacher.”

On-campus accommodations are available as a package with all meals included. Single occupancy rooms with a full meal package are $339 per person, and double occupancy rooms with full meal packages are $289 per person.

Registration for participants is $325 per person, including classes, staff concerts and other events, musical handout materials and university fees.

For registration and to see a detailed schedule and class descriptions, visit and click on “Dulcimer U Summer Week” or call WCU’s Office of Continuing and Professional Education at 828-227-7397.

Participants in the 2012 summertime dulcimer conference at WCU enjoy a class session.