sweet music index
The Contributors to Sweet Music Index

Rob Brereton received his B.A. in classical guitar in 1982. He has been playing mountain dulcimer since 1988 and quickly gained a national reputation as one of the truly outstanding players and workshop leaders in the country. In 1996 he was crowned "King of the Dulcimer" at the Mardi Gras Dulcimer Festival in New Orleans. He has taught and performed at many major folk and music festivals from coast to coast. Rob has recorded on the Wizmak label and his award winning style can be heard on his debut album Someone to Watch Over Me. In addition, he was recently featured on the 1997 release, Masters of the Mountain Dulcimer. Rob contributed "A Circle of Modes"; to the Index. Contact him at http://www.nevergrowup.com/robearmusic/rob.html.

Matthew "Penn" Boris says: I play dulcimer out of a love for drones and for the modal possibilites of its fretboard. I play exclusively in dronal style (there are a few of us out here). I enjoy Appalachian, British Isles, Swedish, Latin, Punk, Cajun and Forro' music. I also play mando and mandora (in both acoustic and electric forms) and other assorted instruments, and I am learning medieval European bagpipes and fretless banjo. I'm currently finishing a degree in Latin American studies and Spanish Linguistics and Literature at the University of Washington and am planning to become a teacher, translator, and musician. My mind is behind "A Catalog of Post-Revival, Post-Modern, Dulcimer-Like Instruments."

Bonnie Carol began to play Richard Farina's music on mountain dulcimer in 1971. After she had been playing and building dulcimers for a year or so she began to teach others to play and to understand the unique nature of the dulcimer. While teaching those classes she gathered material for her book Dust Off That Dulcimer and Dance(Bristlecone Music, Nederland, Colorado) which covers everything you need to know to play from beginning to advanced. It is a course of study, a songbook, and a reference book all in one. Bonnielives and works as a musician in Colorado. She wrote Modes, Keys, and Tunings, The Use of Chords, Picks and Fingers, and Rhythm and You for the Continuing Education section of the Index.

Larry Conger is a builder, player and teacher of the mountain dulcimer. He is a participating artist for the Tennessee Arts Commission's Arts In Education program and the Kentucky Arts Council's Teacher Incentive Program. In 1995 Larry won the Southern Regional Mountain Dulcimer Championship and placed with the top four in the National Dulcimer Championships in Winfield, Kansas. In 1996 Larry won the '96 Southern Regional Dulcimer Ensemble Competition (with Jim Curley) and placed 2nd in the 1996 National Dulcimer Championship. He has published four books: Christmas with the Dulcimer (1994), Hymns of Faith (1995), Flat-picked Fiddle Tunes For Mountain Dulcimer (1996), and Spirituals From Black America (1997). --- LCongerDul@aol.com --- http://members.aol.com/LCongerDul/index.html. Larry wrote "Practice!"; in "How to Get to Carnegie Hall."

Gary Gallier has been a cutting-edge innovator on the mountain dulcimer for fifteen years. He pioneered a progressive style of melodic flatpicking that offers improved levels of clarity, speed, dynamic range and creative potential and was the 1987 National Mountain Dulcimer Champion. Gary has taught and performed extensively thoughout America's heartland, is a prolific composer of new music for the dulcimer, and has three albums to his credit, all primarily original music. His most recent "On the Wing" has been called a "landmark" dulcimer album. A new collection of original compositions, "A Craft of Kin", with brother and 1990 National Champ, Les Gallier, is soon to be released. Gary's discography includes: "Crossed Roads" (1986) "Race to the Gate" (1989), "On the Wing" (1993), "Masters of the Mountain Dulcimer" Vol. 1 (1997), and "A Craft of Kin"(1998) He wrote "Creative Composition"; for the Index. Contact him at PO Box 4922 GS, Springfield, Missouri; GRRRBOY@aol.com.

Jake Gibson, a dulcimer newbie, has been playing since early 1998. He works at a multimedia computer all day and so has set up ways to learn tunes as background music. He enjoys tinkering, figuring out, and fooling around with software, mechanical things, and words. He likes making up silly songs for his five kids (though his singing has been classified as "making a joyful noise unto the Lord"). The approval of Jake's children makes for much encouragement for him to play and learn new songs. His wife is tolerant of his new-found dulcimer obsession, perhaps pleased that Jake has finally found a bucket in which to carry his tunes.

Barbara F. Gregory'shobby is folk music. She is president of Firelands Dulcimer Club, leads a community-drumming circle, and is a collector of folk instruments (autoharp, child's autoharp, tenor banjo, bodhran, bones, boom-bah, bowed psaltery, catspaws, diddley bow, dum dum, fife, flexatone, garden hose instruments, guitars, hammer dulcimers, hand drum, jaw harp, kazoo, keyboard, lap dulcimer, limberjacks, lummi sticks, mandolin, Marxolin, mouthbow, musical saws, native flute, nose whistle, ooney can, pianos, plucked zither, recorder, shakers, rattles, slide whistles, spoons, tin whistle, ukulele, and more). She presents a fun, fast paced program in which students hear a half dozen of her folk instruments and learn some history of folk music and instruments. She lives in Sandusky, Ohio. --- BFGregory@lrbcg.com --- http://www.lrbcg.com/cgregory/barb/barb.htm. Barbara wrote the introduction to "Some Fine Festivals."

Lois Hornbostel has introduced generations of mountain dulcimer players to playing techniques and has expanded the repertoire of the instrument through her books, recordings and teaching. Over the years, players have assimilated Lois's techniques, contributing to the growth of the instrument. "Vive le Dulcimer!", Lois's first recording, was a collection of international folk tunes. Lois's current recordings, "Dulcimer Jubilee!" and "Dulcimer Enchantment" have been acclaimed for their expression, spirit, variety and playing technique. She is the author of six internationally-distributed books for the mountain dulcimer: The Irish Dulcimer; Dulcimer Fiddle Tunes; Anthology for the Fretted Dulcimer; Dulcimer Duets, Rounds & Ensembles; American Fiddle Tunes for Mountain Dulcimer; and The Classroom Dulcimer. Lois is a full-time performing and teaching musician, and you might meet her at some of the dulcimer events around the country. She coordinates the Revival History Project and contributed an upcoming article on rhythm.

Lisa Johnson (also known in some circles as Strumelia Harmonia). I play mountain dulcimer, mandolin, octave mandolin, and a little tenor banjo. I sing. I like to sing harmony and Old-Time songs especially. Wish I could sing like Hank Williams. I run a mail order business (Shaker Country Meadowsweets) and I waitress nights. I run off with my friends to play and sing and goof around at every opportunity I can and I host "Round Robin" the mountain dulcimer chat room for Sweet Music Index.

Laurel Krokstrom has a BA in trumpet performance and music education from California State University Chico and a MM in trumpet performance from the University of Southern California. She's in the process of finishing her thesis for her MA on the Mountain Dulcimer at California State University of Los Angeles. Her story: One day an instrument maker who made what he called "museum pieces" was stuck in Lodi, California. Laurel innocently asked him, "What's that thingie?" and ended up buying his way out of town. Now stuck in Lodi herself, she and her dulcimer hope to soon make their way back home to Nebraska. Some of her other interests are gardening, computers, German, traveling, learning, laughing, and an enormous purebred Himalayan cat named Eskimo. Laurel collects and organizes URLs for Sweet Music Index.

Heidi Muller is a touring singer-songwriter, guitarist, dulcimer player and recording artist. Her latest CD, Giving Back, has received excellent reviews and international airplay. She has taught mountain dulcimer in Seattle since 1986 and often gives workshops in more remote areas of the West. Her festival credits include Flower Carol (Massachusetts), Clayville Music Festival (Illinois), Kerrville Folk Festival (Texas), Housatonic Dulcimer Celebration (Connecticut), Harvest Festival of Dulcimers (California), Winter Festival of Acoustic Music (Texas), South Florida Folk Festival, Northwest Folklife, and Oregon Folklife. Upcoming projects include an original songbook and a dulcimer tab collection of German folksongs. Contact Heidi at PO Box 95884, Seattle, WA 98145, (206) 528-2526. --- heidimul@aol.com --- http://www.isdnseattle.net/heidimuller. Heidi came up with the idea for "Sweet Music 101" and wrote several articles for that section.

Promise Partner lives in Peacham, Vermont and attends The White Mountain School in Bethlehem, New Hampshire where she was recently awarded the Bishop's Award. This is awarded yearly by the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire to the student who maintains the highest grade-point average in the school. Promise plays on the school's soccer and lacrosse teams and enjoys snowboarding all winter. She is the proofreader for Sweet Music Index.

John Renwick is a North Carolina native. Raised in a non-musical household, John started playing dulcimer four years ago. He built his own dulcimer, is self taught, and plays by ear. He plays fiddle tunes and is a regular at the North Carolina and Virginia Fiddler's Conventions. John has taught several workshops and stresses his simple, but effective, style of playing. He says, "Playing the Dulcimer has become an extention of my soul. I often tell others, there are many players better than me, but few with more enthusiasm." He loves to sit down with beginners and "give some back" as he puts it. "Chord Structure for Group Play" is adapted from John's workshop material.

Jerry Rockwellhas been a national and international mountain dulcimer advocate since about 1970; he's a player, teacher, composer/arranger, recording artist, and custom instrument builder. During his rock and jazz guitar career, he discovered the dulcimer via Richard Fariña's playing. Jerry now has six recordings and collaborated on many others, has written eight books and numerous articles, has co-founded two dulcimer festivals, and maintains a teaching intensive website. He concentrated on music theory and composition at Ohio State University, graduating cum laude in 1989 (BA in music). He lives and works in Guysville, southeastern Ohio near Athens. Contact Jerry at JC Rockwell Music, PO Box 79, Guysville, OH 45735-0079 Phone/FAX: 740-662-3011 --- jcrmusic@eurekanet.com --- http://www.eurekanet.com/~jcrmusic. Jerry wrote "Rockwell Sorts Out the Differences."

Carolyn Scheppner is a computer programmer and former technical manager of Commodore-Amiga developer support. She is an amateur musician, playing piano, mountain dulcimer, nylon-strung Celtic harp, banjo, and autoharp. She is interested in the construction of musical instruments and built her walnut Celtic harp and one of her dulcimers (a cherry/spruce hourglass) from kits. Carolyn lives in Chester County, PA, and is a member of the Brandywine Dulcimer Fellowship. Carolyn wrote "The Dulcimer Buying Checklist."

Steve Schneiderhas graciously volunteered to be the token hammered dulcimer player in Sweet Music Index. Steve has played hammered dulcimer on soundtracks for movies, documentaries, recorded books, and commercials, composed music for several off-Broadway shows, and played dulcimer in the Broadway musical, "The Secret Garden." He has four popular independently-produced recordings and writes a regular column for "Dulcimer Players News." With a Masters Degree in music therapy and a love of teaching, Steve has developed a reputation as a gifted teacher. As a result he is in demand at music festivals and gatherings across the country and teaches privately in Congers, NY. --- HDplayer@aol.com --- http://members.aol.com/hdplayer/. Steve wrote "Practice!"; in "How to Get to Carnegie Hall."

Maureen Sellers has taught and performed dulcimer all over the Midwest. Ms. Sellers is known for her gentle teaching style that includes mnemonics, imaging, and humor. In performances Maureen plays and sings some of the old ballads, draws the audience into sing-alongs, and tells of the dulcimer's history. Maureen has written  five dulcimer instruction books: Simply Remembered, Simply Gospel One,  Simply Gospel Two, Songs of the Civil War, and The Fretboard Companion Book. "Maureen, Stella and the Boys" is her solo recording. Ms. Sellers has performed for PBS radio and Louisville and Lexington, KY television stations. ...your talent, warmth and enthusiasm made it a great week for all of us. You are a great player--David Schnaufer, Adjunct Professor of Dulcimer, Vanderbilt University. For more information regarding booking, contact Ms. Sellers at 4708 Corydon Pike New Albany, IN 47150, 812-945-9094 --- MaureenSel@AOL.com. Maureen wrote "The Attraction of the Mountain Dulcimer" and "Jams (and Jellies)."

Ralph Lee Smithis a leading authority on the history of the Appalachian dulcimer and early Appalachian music. His book, Appalachian Dulcimer Traditions, was published by Scarecrow Press in 1997, and his new book, Songs and Tunes of the Wilderness Road, written with Madeline MacNeil, is scheduled for publication by Mel Bay in October 1998. He teaches the history of the dulcimer annually at the Dulcimer Playing Workshop at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, and gives demonstrations and performances at colleges and universities, folk clubs, and historic sites. Ralph contributed "An Annotated Bibliography" and the photos in "The History" both of which are from his book Appalachian Dulcimer Traditions

Steve Smith of East Flat Rock, North Carolina, has been playing hammered and mountain dulcimer since 1979. He won the National Hammered Dulcimer Championship at Winfield, KS in 1984, and the National Mountain Dulcimer Championship at Winfield in 1985. Steve teaches mountain dulcimer at Blue Ridge Community College and at festivals and workshops.  He is a musical arranger and editor of the newsletter of the Western North Carolina Dulcimer Collective, husband, father of two, Baha'i, computer programmer, and ham radio operator. Steve contributed the chord charts in "Concerning Chords and Capos" and authored "This Thing Has Four Strings" and "What If I Lose My Pick?";.

Shelley Stevenswas introduced to the mountain dulcimer in 1984 and immediately fell in love with the instrument. Since that time she has arranged music to the dulcimer from many genres. Two of Shelley's books of mountain dulcimer tab have been published by Mel Bay (O'Carolan Harp Tunes and Stephen Foster) and she has published several other tab books under the Tweetwater Productions label. These include classical music in The Three String Orchestra and a series of tablature books called The Baker's Dozen. Shelley is a founding member and manager of the trio Sweetwater and with this group has toured the U.S., Canada, and the British Isles. She wrote "Using Software for Musical Notation"and can be reached at shelleystevens@musician.org.

John Stockardis a luthier building standard, baritone, and bass dulcimers as well as four, five, and six string and fully chromatic dulcimers. He is also president of the North Georgia Foothills Dulcimer Association (NGFDA). This is a group of clubs sharing resources with 350 members statewide and in neighboring states. It sponsors three festivals a year and promotes the mountain dulcimer with educational programs, concerts, and workshops. John says, "I submit that the members of this organization (and all dulcimer players) are the nicest, most well-adjusted people on the face of the earth." Contact John at Custom Appalachian Dulcimers, 3686 Sussex Drive, Milledgeville, GA 31061, 912-452-5713 --- jstockard@geocities.com --- http://www.geocities.com/Nashville/1556/. John wrote "Picking Your Picks" which was first published in the NGFDA newsletter.

Neal Waltershas been a member of the Mill Run Dulcimer Band for over twenty years. The band has seven recordings. Its latest CD, "Give Me Just a Little More Time," was released in June, 1998.  Neal is also involved in a new group, Doofus which has a new recording also released in June, 1998, "What Did We Leave Behind?"  Neal sings and plays fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, mountain dulcimer, and autoharp. He has done quite a bit of solo performing in conjunction with teaching dulcimer and autoharp. Neal and Heidi Cerrigione have published a repertoire book/tape set for mountain dulcimer and autoharp titled 30 Old Time Songs and Tunes. Neal just finished editing the Music Hound Essential Album Guide to Folk Music for Visible Ink Press in Detroit and is the staff reviewer for the "Dulcimer Players News." He is the mind behind "The Classic Recordings"and "A Dulcimer Discography."

Dwain Wilder specializes in building Appalachian dulcimers and divides his time between that and working as a computer consultant making really big money in big-time corporate America. But lutherie is his heart's work, and he reserves some time each week to be in his studio. Dwain is originally from East Texas, and came to the Northeast to escape the heat. He is married to the charming and delightful Katherine Denison, artist, potter, and poet. They live just outside Rochester in a little 150-year-old farm house, with Raku the Greyhound, Simone the Parrot and their two cats, Time and Change. You can see more of Dwain's lutherie work at the Bear Meadow web site. He is the author of "The Dulcimer Mechanic" and contributed some of his poetry to the "Dulcimer Documents" section of the Index.