February 21-23, 2019

Hey folks! The 2019 Southern Strings Dulcimer Festival is gearing up for another great Festival in Petal, MS. ( just outside of Hattiesburg, MS)    Mark your calendars for the following dates: Thursday Night, Feb. 21st,- Pre-Festival Jam Session & Fellowship…. Feb. 22nd, Friday – Jamming – Workshops – & Fellowship Dinner with Bingo…… Feb. 23rd, Saturday – Workshops – On-Stage Performances & “Deep South Dulcimer Championship” Competition


Mountain Dulcimer Instructor

Anne Lough Waynesville, NC

Anne is well known as an instructor and performer of traditional singing, storytelling, folklore, folk dance and the shaped-note tradition, but her repertoire ranges from classical music to old standards, show tunes and sacred music. Her programs have delighted and inspired all ages from day-care and pre-school children to Elderhostelers. Active in schools as a Visiting Artist, Anne is also on the Touring Artist Roster for the North Carolina Arts Council.

Anne’s music can be heard on a number of recordings, Smoky Mountain educational videos, public radio and a recent PBS Christmas Special. She has also published several collections of arrangements for the mountain and hammered dulcimer.


Mountain Dulcimer Instructor

Debbie Porter Pittsburg, TX

Debbie grew up singing the songs she learned from her grandmother in Northeast Texas. She began playing the songs of the rural South on ukulele at age 11. When she was 16 her mother saved up all her Green Stamps and ordered a Kay banjo for her which she quickly re-tuned to sound like a ukulele. Debbie worked my way through college playing and teaching music. In 1971, she moved to Austin and had a chance to play at the Checquered Flag with some of the great Texas songwriters like Alan Damron, Rusty Weir, and Shake Russell.

In 1974 Debbie’s husband was injured with a brain trauma, which greatly affected her families’ lives.  A few years later she discovered the healing qualities of the fretted dulcimer. This instrument has helped restore them both emotionally and musically.

Debbie has helped found a dulcimer club called the “Northeast Texas Community Chorus”. Still today, this welcoming club meets monthly to encourage its members to play and learn the fretted dulcimer.

Debbie has performed and instructed in numerous festivals and workshops all over the United States and a fun and excellent teacher.

Brett Ridgeway

Pittsburgh, PA

Hammered Dulcimer Instructor



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.

Additionally, an original composition,
“Gettysburg Rain” written and performed by Brett Ridgeway is featured in the soundtrack of “The Pat of the Wind”, a 2010 movie which features Wilford Brimley.


Bowed Psaltery Instructor

Brenda Mangan

West Union, SC

Brenda has enjoyed music all her life. She took a few years of piano as a child. Has played the mountain dulcimer since a teen. Plays a wood flute and a glass flute. In her later years, Brenda took up the violin but due to an old  injury on her fingers progression was hindered. It was at that point she stumbled upon the bowed psaltery and fell in love with its beautiful “ringing strings.” After taking introductory lessons from psaltery maker, Rick Long, and studying the styles of favorite and various psaltery artists in person and online, Brenda has continued playing, developing her own techniques and style, which she enjoys teaching to others. She has played in groups, solos and frequently plays at events and at her church. She has taught several years at the East TN Bowed Psaltery Gathering, as well as individuals and other small groups, and invites everyone to enjoy the offerings on her YouTube channel. GUEST WORKSHOP INSTRUCTORS 


Colin Beasley – 2018 National Hammered Dulcimer Champion


Colin is the current “National Hammered Dulcimer” champion having won 1st place in September 2018 at the Walnut Valley Festival.  Colin is also a past 1st Place winner in our own ‘Deep South Dulcimer Championship’ and in Mountain View, AR.  We are proud to have him come to conduct a workshop and also present a Concert on Saturday.  Colin is originally from Mobile, AL but resides locally.  We are proud of Colin and his accomplishments.



2019 Southern Strings Festival provides an opportunity for players of numerous acoustical instruments to increase their skills in workshop settings. If you do not play but would like to learn, beginner classes will be available to you. Intermediate and Advance players will enjoy workshops on techniques and new musical selections. All players can gather, learn, listen, jam and share musical experiences.


Calvary Baptist Church 
1123 Highway 42
Petal, MS 39465

  Sessions are geared to all levels of players from Absolute Beginner to Advanced, all in a laid back atmosphere.
  On-Stage Performance - for individuals or groups who would like to play a '2 song set' or no more than a 10 minute slot of time. Our Instructors will also perform at this time if they desire.

  A wonderfully 'Indoor' Campfire meal will be served on Friday night followed by the Annual Southern Strings BINGO game for prizes. (cost of meal will be on the registration form coming soon)
  Lunch Friday & Saturday - you will have plenty of time to go pick something up bring back to eat at the Church or maybe you would like to bring your lunch. Drinks will be available at the snack bar.(additional info on registration form)

  Vendors will be available on site. Music related items only. Musical Instruments, music, accessories, and new items will be available for purchase.

  Jam session will be available at all times.

  A dulcimer doctor will be available for minor repairs to your dulcimer during the festival.

REGISTRATION FORM 2019   (double click on form)