2020 Workshop Leaders

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2019 Workshop Leaders



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Cynthia Brissey is resident of Salem, WV and has attended nearly all Fort New Salem Dulcimer Weekends. She learned to play mountain dulcimer at various workshops in the region. She plays mostly for herself, but occasionally plays for church services. Cynthia is an instructor and lab coordinator for the Biology Department at West Virginia Wesleyan.


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Jeff Fedan lives in Masontown, WV, just outside of Morgantown, WV, and learned to play the hammered dulcimer from his teacher and mentor, Patty Looman, who gave him the gift of music. He is especially interested in the old-time repertoire of northern West Virginia, the music of Worley Gardner, Russell Fluharty, Patty Looman, and Sam Rizzetta, and in preserving these tunes and the old-time traditions of the area. Jeff is founder of PattyFest Inc., and PattyFest, an old-time music festival founded in 2002 that has been honoring Patty Looman and, now, her memory. He also assists with the February Gardner Winter Music Festival, which has gone on forever. He has conducted workshops at The Fort New Salem Dulcimer Festival, Dulci-More, the Gardner Winter Music Festival and PattyFest, and passes the DNA on to several students. Last and least, he is a drummer, and tunes his spoons on a regular basis.




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Bill Locke
For over fifty years Bill Locke has been entertaining audiences with his music which includes old-time dulcimer, guitar, and banjo, as well as ragtime guitar and spirituals. Bill grew up in the New England area and played in several clubs around Boston, New Hampshire, and Maine. Bill joined the United States Navy and served for 26 years. He then moved to the Pittsburgh area resuming his music and performing in South Western PA and in Wheeling WV. Recently Bill is most readily found at old-time and dulcimer festivals. He has played and taught at several local dulcimer festivals including Dulci-More, Coshocton Dulcimer Days, and Fort New Salem.



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Mike and Marlene Oliver

Mike and Marlene first discovered the mountain dulcimer in late 1988 at a craft fair in their hometown of Lancaster, Ohio. Since then they have performed and taught across Ohio and in neighboring states. They founded the Standing Stone Strings & Things dulcimer club and the Harmony Harvest Dulcimer Festival. They perform together as Lower Lights with Marlene singing and playing mountain dulcimer and tin whistle and Mike playing mountain dulcimer and singing. Mike has also played in and judged several dulcimer competitions.


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Brett Ridgeway
Brett's philosophy is that "anyone can make music, regardless of age, musical ability or knowledge!” And his philosophy shows in responses to his workshops. He currently teaches hammered dulcimer, mountain dulcimer, bluegrass banjo, clawhammer banjo, beginner acoustic guitar and mandolin as well as several unique ALL INSTRUMENT workshops. Brett has authored and marketed a series of instructional CDs that display his friendly method of teaching the hammered dulcimer and also teaches lessons via Skype and Facetime. Brett loves to teach and he remembers what it was like to learn in an unpatient world. Brett tours promoting traditional American music and sometimes performs and teaches with Phyllis Woods Brown and is available alone or as a duo. He has released a total of nine recordings; (two of which were recorded with Phyllis) of which eight are currently available. ​​Additionally, an original composition, "Gettysburg Rain" written and performed by Brett Ridgeway is featured in the soundtrack of “The Path of the Wind”, a 2010 movie which features Wilford Brimley.​(https://www.brettridgewaymusic.com)



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Jerry Rockwell is one of a handful of folk musicians who, since about 1970, have been national and international advocates for the mountain dulcimer. He is an accomplished player, teacher, and custom builder of this American folk instrument. Jerry specializes in the gentle, soothing, and hypnotic sounds of Celtic airs, waltzes, and folk tunes, and is committed to helping his students explore the dulcimer in the deepest and fullest way possible. He lives and works in the Appalachian foothills of southeast Ohio, and regularly teaches mountain dulcimer at workshops across the country. He has several recordings including "The Blackman and the Beggarman,", "Nine meditations for Dulcimer," and "Tapping at the edge of Paradise." (https://www.jcrmusic.com)


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Bill Schilling has been singing and playing various folk instruments (at least 20 with variations of several) for over 50 years. He has performed for audiences of all ages in many settings from coast to coast. His high-energy performances may include songs, slide programs, and/or stories selected specifically for your group. His performances often involve members of your group with audience participation songs or activities. Bill often performs with others including Linda Sigismondi with whom he has recorded “Songs from Canal Days”. Since Bill believes that his music should be inclusive, he is involved in many groups which share music. A few of them are: Dulci-More: Folk & Traditional Musicians (Bill is the founder and leader (called Fearless Leader) of this group); the annual Dulci-More Festival (Bill is the director); the Canton Folk Song Society (Bill is one of the original members); the Dulcimer Society of Trumbull County (Bill has reorganized and leads this group); Folknet (Bill is a charter Executive Committee Member & past President); and Folk Music at Weatherbury Farm (Bill is one of the originators of this program and a workshop leader). His “Dulci-More Public Domain Songbooks” (in several variations) are used by clubs around the country. (www.billschilling.org)


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Linda Sigismondi is a mountain dulcimer player and folksinger from Gallipolis, Ohio. Her music includes traditional Appalachian tunes, Celtic tunes, folk dances, traditional and contemporary folk music, and original compositions that feature environmental themes. Linda has played at Fort New Salem, West Virginia, for the Harvest and Christmas Festivals for many years. She also organizes the music and workshops for the Fort New Salem Dulcimer Festival. Linda has taught workshops and performed at many folk music festivals in West Virginia, Ohio and New York. Linda has written several books (and companion CDs) of mountain dulcimer tab and has recorded a CD, "Songs from Canal Days" with Bill Schilling. (www.lindasigismondi.com)



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Steven K. Smith is a dulcimer player who has been learning, composing, performing, and recording since 1983. While keeping an eye on the the traditional roots of the instrument, he doesn't limit himself to traditional Appalachian tunes. His songs include examples from Pop tunes, European classical music, Celtic music, and the Blues. He composes many of the tunes he plays as well. He has several recordings of instrumental music on the mountain dulcimer, and companion tune books for most of the recordings. (https://sksmithmusic.com)


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Tish Westman has been playing music on something since 4 years old..  She loves to teach others to play and understand their instruments and the music. She and her husband Greg are resident artists in Tamarack where they build instruments and share their wares and music.   
( www.westmaninstruments.com, www.psalterystrings.com)













Last Updated: July 13, 2019