2018 Workshop Leaders

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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Marge Diamond has been playing dulcimer for 32 years and teaching introductory classes for over 25 years. She aims to show everyone just how much fun it is to play and to join in with your friends in a jam.

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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Mike and Marlene Oliver 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.

Bill Schilling has been singing and playing various folk instruments (at least 20 with variations of several) for over 40 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

Rich and Kathy Small are folk singers and instrumentalists from Canton, Ohio. They have performed regionally at many festivals and events as a duo and as members of the Canton Folk Song Society and Dulci-More Folk & Traditional Musicians. Their harmony singing of Appalachian Mountain Ballads, Civil War Laments, Lively Audience Sing-a-longs, Original Compositions and Folk Songs from all eras is accompanied by traditional old time instruments such as the Mountain Dulcimer, Bowed Psaltery, Autoharp, Guitar, Harmonica, Ukulele and Tenor Banjo. Before re-locating to Canton, they were the performing hosts for The Old Time Gospel Fest concert series at the Bluebird Amphitheater in Carrollton, Ohio and directed the Arts of Appalachia Music Camp for children in Carroll County, Ohio.

Steven K. Smith is an instrumentalist on the Mountain Dulcimer who has been learning, composing, performing, and teaching since 1983. His music spans the range between the traditional folk tunes that the dulcimer is known for, to English/Irish traditional music, European classical music, modern pop music, and the blues. Since 1992 he has been a regular performer at the Ohio Renaissance Festival.

Mary Ann Spears is from Clarksburg, West Virginia. She has been playing hammered dulcimer for 25 years (she was one of Patty Looman's original students) and recently has begun teaching hammered dulcimer. This is her first time at Fort New Salem.

Olivia Walton has played music since childhood on accordion and guitar. She discovered the mountain dulcimer in 2007 at Wildwood Music in Roscoe Village, Ohio. She has gone to festivals all over the region. She has a CD out with Ruth Hulthen called "Bountiful Folk." She belongs to several dulcimer clubs and teaches new comers at the Black Squirrel club in Stow, Ohio and Senior Strummers in Aurora, Ohio. She has private students out of her home In Ravenna, Ohio.

Tish Westman lives in Beckley, WV where she and her husband Greg are Resident Artisans representing woodworking at Tamarack. Old Time and Celtic music are her love and sharing it with others either by performing or by teaching is her passion.

Last Updated: July 31, 2018