Two dulcimer gatherings coming up on campus in July

Dulcimer players from around the region and Southeast will be gathering at Western Carolina University for two upcoming events – the 17th annual Dulcimer U Summer Week and Dulcimer U Hammer Dulcimer Weekend.

Both gatherings are hosted by WCU’s Office of Professional Growth and Enrichment.

Dulcimer U Summer Week will include classes, staff concerts and jam sessions Sunday, July 23, through Friday, July 28. Classes will focus on music theory, techniques, history and technology applications for the dulcimer.

The husband-and-wife team of Elaine and Larry Conger are co-directors of Dulcimer U and work throughout the year to organize Dulcimer U Summer Week. Elaine Conger is a professional music educator and Orff-Schulwerk specialist who has toured with her own country band and as a pianist and backup vocalist with country music superstar Faith Hill. Larry Conger is a full-time professional musician who operates a private music studio where he and his wife teach piano, guitar and drums, as well as the mountain dulcimer.

Laurie Alsobrook, who will be hosting a dulcimer singing jam session, was a member of the first class taught in “Teaching the Mountain Dulcimer” at Dulcimer U and has gone on to become an instructor at the Stephen Foster Dulcimer Retreat, as well as hosting local workshops.

Dulcimer U Summer Week will include classes, staff concerts and jam sessions Sunday, July 23, through Friday, July 28.

The registration fee is $350 per participant. Optional accommodations and meal packages are available for participants and nonparticipant guests.

The second annual Hammer Dulcimer Weekend will run July 28 through Monday, July 31. Classes will focus on three skill levels and include a variety of afternoon electives.

Weekend instructors will include Jim Miller, Jody Marshall and Phyllis Woods Brown. Miller has been playing and performing traditional music for more than 35 years. He has taught numerous workshops at festivals and has won several awards, including first-place dulcimer at events in Galax, Virginia, and Fiddler’s Grove. Marshall has been performing and teaching dulcimer for almost 30 years and was a founding member of the popular folk trios Ironweed and MoonFire. Brown has studied music education at Tennessee Tech University and has performed at numerous venues and festivals throughout the area.

The registration fee for Hammer Dulcimer Weekend is $224 for a single occupancy room and $194 for a double occupancy room. Registration includes meals for the weekend.

For more information about both dulcimer events, call 828-227-7397 or email More conference information and online registration are available online at