RICHARD ASH – Mountain Dulcimer
RICHARD ASH is the owner of Folkcraft Instruments of Woodburn, IN, and makes some of the finest dulcimers in America. Richard hosts monthly music festival in Woodburn, Indiana for various instruments. He teaches several different classes for mountain dulcimer and ukulele. This is Richard’s first time as Instructor at our Festival. Welcome! For addition information: www.folkcraft.com
PAUL ANDRY, Mountain Dulcimer
PAUL ANDRY, (originally from Mandeville, LA,) Louisiana’s premier mountain dulcimer player is known for his lyrical touch with contemporary music from New Orleans Mardi Gras to Pop, Irish, Ragtime and Traditional American Folk Music. An excellent arranger of music for the dulcimer, Paul has taught classes at many dulcimer events and has competed successfully in several dulcimer playing contests, including the Texas State Dulcimer Championship, which he won in 1994. As an organizer, Paul is the founder of the Bayou Dulcimer Club and was one of the inspiring forces in the clubs joyous Mardi Gras Dulcimer Festival. Paul has taught at Snowbird Mountain Lodge in Robbinsville, North Carolina where he teaches individual and group lessons fro beginner to advanced. He has published three books of arrangements. We welcome Paul back to another great year at our Southern Strings Festival.
GUY & SHARRIE GEORGE – Hammered – Steel Drums – UKE – Penny Whistle
GUY GEORGE is a multi-faceted instrumentalist with jazz influenced roots, having studied jazz performance, arranging and composition at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. He has made his mark in the dulcimer world as a performer, instructor, author/ publisher and recording artist. His diverse playing style adds a different twist to the sounds of the hammered dulcimer, steel drum, pennywhistle, and saxophone, all of which he incorporates into his performances and teaching. His teaching style is relaxed and fun, as he teaches tunes of many different genres and styles. In addition, he incorporates methods for more advanced practicing and playing techniques while simultaneously entertaining his students. He has authored 14 books arranged for hammered dulcimer, steel drum, pennywhistle, and other instruments. In demand in recording studios, Guy has recorded with some of the country’s great dulcimer artists; Maddie MacNeil, David Moran and Joe Morgan, Tull Glazener, Doofus, Heidi Muller, Gary & Toni Sager, and Aaron O’Rourke. He also has one one recording of his own titled Dreamcastle. Visit his site on the web: www.guygeorge.com.
SHARRIE GEORGE has been playing guitar for over 40 years and has added ukulele to her instrument lineup. She teaches and plays guitar and ukulele with her husband, Guy. She studied music and fine arts at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. Sharrie and Guy teach and play music together for weddings, private parties and events, and at churches and festivals around the U.S. Sharrie has taught guitar and ukulele at festivals such as Key West Dulcimer Festival, Kentucky Music Week, Common Ground on the Hill in Maryland, Memphis Dulcimer Gathering, WinterCreek Family Reunion in Oklahoma, and John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, N.C., as well as co-hosting the Florida Gulf Coast Dulcimer Retreat with Bing Futch and Guy.
Guy & Sharrie have been a part of our Festival for several years and we Welcome them back for another great Festival!
JESS DICKINSON – Hammered – Beginner -Intermediate – Advanced
JESS DICKINSON began performing hammered dulcimer in Mountain View, Arkansas, in 1990 at the Ozark Folk Center, where he played on the annual Christmas show for seven years. He has instructed hammered dulcimer and performed at numerous festivals and workshops, and he is the organizer of the annual Deep South Dulcimer Competition at William Carey University. Jess is the 2013 Southern Regional Hammered Dulcimer Champion, and he and Jeff Hames won first place in the 2013 Southern Regional ensemble competition. Jess has performed with symphony orchestras and on stage across the country. He is a popular hammered dulcimer instructor at numerous workshops and festivals, including ODPC Funfest, The Memphis Gathering, Ozark Folk Center, Southern Strings, Arkansas Dulcimer Society, Lagniappe Dulcimer Festival, the Southern Appalachian Festival. When Jess is not performing or teaching hammered dulcimer, he is either working at his two day jobs – Mississippi Supreme Court Justice, and law school Professor – or he is posting free hammered dulcimer instruction videos on his website, DickinsonDulcimer.com. His best-selling book – “The Essential Hammered Dulcimer Instruction Manual” – is now in its second printing, and his bluegrass band – the Bluegrass Appeal – recently released a CD, “From Dublin to the Delta,” with guest performer Stephen Seifert.
Co-Host of our Deep South Dulcimer Championship each year!
Jeff Hames, Mountain Dulcimer
JEFF HAMES, (Mississippi’s own) is another of that generation of young, amazing mountain dulcimer players. In mid-September, he finishes his second stint as National Mountain Dulcimer Champion.
He started learning the mountain dulcimer at the age of nine by watching his grandparents play. Soon, dulcimer music – both traditional and non-traditional – caught fire in him. He studied under the legendary David Schnaufer at Nashville’s Blair School of Music over a six-year period. He says, “I always tell people that I’m pretty much self taught, but David taught me how to make music.”
In his early-to-mid teens, he won some dulcimer contests and played traditional music on dulcimer in a video that was distributed to all Mississippi schools as an educational tool about regional history. Perhaps his greatest notoriety came, however, when his high school’s marching band performed Aaron Copeland’s Hoe Down, with Jeff playing a solo on dulcimer. This was a first in marching band history and had everyone talking about the mountain dulcimer.
Jeff has released two CDs that showcase his varied tastes in traditional and modern music: “It’s Dulcimer Time” and “One for a Friend.” www.cdbaby.com
Mississippi is proud of Jeff and we are very glad to have him back as an instructor again this year.
RICHARD SWITZER – PSALTERY INSTRUCTOR & Dulcimer Maintenance Sessions
RICHARD SWITZER, is retired from: Mississippi State Univ. and USDA-ARS. He loves music and loves to learn to play as many new instruments as possible. Richard is an accomplished Mountain Dulcimer player as well as a Psaltery player. At our Festival, Richard will conduct several workshops on the Psaltery and will have a workshop on Instrument maintenance. Richard has been playing Dulcimer for 9 years and the Psaltery for over 5 years. He has added two additional instruments to his repertoire , Autoharp, & Ukelele.
Richard is a member of several groups in Mississippi including, Columbus: Friendly City Strummers, Philadelphia: Wayfaring Strings, Starkville: Dulcimers & is a member of Southern Strings Dulcimers as well.
MARY JO WARD – Autoharp- Dulcimer Noter Session – Sacred Harp Singing
MARY JO WARD competes nationally with her autoharp, and plays pieces including “76 Trombones”. She brings her students a wealth of experience in old-time, Appalachian and gospel music. She has been playing the autoharp for many years and has developed her own distinctive style. She can really drive a fast fiddle tune or bring out the beauty of a waltz or air. She has also enjoys singing with the autoharp.
She has taught beginners at the Buckeye Dulcimer Festival, Dayton Dulcimer Club and at several Dayton area locations. Mary Jo has competed at the nationally-recognized Mountain Laurel Autoharp Festival and looks forward to that yearly challenge. Her warm and engaging style will have you enjoying your autoharp in no time.
Mary Jo attended our Festival last year and conducted private lessons as well as participated in the Instructors Concert. We are very pleased that she will be conducting classes in Auto Harp, Shape Note singing and the old time Noter playing of the dulcimer. Welcome Mary Jo.