2023 FESTIVAL INFO & INSTRUCTORS BIO
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February 24-25, 2023
SOUTHERN STRINGS DULCIMERS’ 2023 ‘POCKET” FESTIVAL
Due to COVID and the shut down in recent years we have NOT had an Annual Festival since 2020. This year we decided to test the waters by having an onsite “POCKET” Festival. The activities, vendors, etc will be scaled to accommodate the number of attendees at our festival We are not offering as many workshops but we are not taking any quality from the classes that we are offering. Please come and enjoy all the “intimate” class work with our Instructors.
We may be smaller this year (THUS the name “POCKET” comes into play)….BUT we will be just as Enthusiastic as always.
PLEASE NOTE: The Deep South Dulcimer Championship will NOT be held this year. We hope to Host that again in the future.
Joe Collins – Shelby, NC
Joe Collins has been a folk musician and mountain dulcimer player since the late 70s. A songwriter and vocalist, he performs with a lot of humor and some excellent mountain dulcimer playing – sure to bring a smile to audiences of all ages. He has won numerous competitions, including the 2007 National Mountain Dulcimer Championship in Winfield, Kansas. He has performed and taught at some of the best camps and festivals in the country including Steve Kauffman’s Acoustic Kamp in Tennessee, Western Carolina University’s Dulcimer U, and a host of others from the east coast to California and from Florida to Vermont. Joe has a doctorate in adult education that he puts to good use in his workshops, and he currently is a professor of Discipleship Studies at Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina.
Colin Beasley– Mobile, AL
Colin first picked up and taught himself the hammered dulcimer as a freshman percussion major in college. Though he eventually changed his major, Colin stuck around the music school and took everything he learned and applied it to hammered dulcimer. In this sense, he considers himself a musician first, percussionist second, with the hammered dulcimer his instrument of choice. His playing style mixes elements of many different genres of music including, but not limited to, classical, jazz, folk, Latin, Caribbean, African, and Irish. These influences allow him to bring a sound to the hammered dulcimer that’s free of musical boundaries with influences from across the world.
Colin’s growth as a musician was paralleled with growth as a dulcimer player, leading him to win various contests across the country with the most notable being the 2018 Hammered Dulcimer National Championship at the Walnut Valley Festival. He has since strived to teach people the information he has accumulated through his music study and hammered dulcimer development, leading him to become an instructor and performer at various dulcimer festivals. From dulcimer technique to chromatic chords, Colin teaches workshops for all levels of play.
Lonnie Brown – Moss Point, MS
Lonnie has been in the Dulcimer Circle for many years and has been playing dulcimer for over 30 years
He has acquired the nicknames of the “Chord Professor” and the “Hymn Master”.
Lonnie has Instructed in several Festivals through the years including the Central Mississippi Dulcimer festival. SADA’s festival in Tannehill State Park has been a favorite of Lonnies’ and he has taught probably 10 years there. He has instructed at a Festival in Birmingham, AL and was in one of the very 1st workshops that Southern Strings ever put on. That workshop was a kick off for our Festivals.
Don Hill – Petal, MS
Don began is musical journey in 2005 when he began playing guitar. Drawn to the sound of the hammered dulcimer played by Christian artist, Rich Mullins, Don purchased his first dulcimer in 2009, but let it collect dust for a couple of years. In 2011, he earnestly began to develop his dulcimer skills, and in 2018, has won the Deep South Hammered Dulcimer Championship and placed second in the Southern Regional Championship in Mountain View, Arkansas.
Don has taught several in several workshops in Mississippi and Alabama and has helped with the Southern Strings Festival for several years.
Don also plays the mountain dulcimer, banjammer, chord stick and makes feeble attempts to play the harmonica and the bodhran.
Don’s real job is teaching photography and graphic design at Presbyterian Christian School as well as being the advisor for the school’s yearbook and newspaper.
Richard Switzer –Starkville, MS
Having grown up with his father in the Army Richard has travelled all over the U.S. After graduating from High School in Arlington, VA Richard received a B.S. & M.S. degree in Microbiology from North Carolina State University. He worked many years at Mississippi State and then for the USDA-ARS at which time he retired
Richard started playing the Mountain Dulcimer with the North MS Dulcimer Association and the Columbus Dulcimer Club in 2005. In 2008 he became interested in the Bowed Psaltery at the Southern Strings Dulcimer Festival. Richard has been an Instructor in several of the Southern Strings Festivals. He and his wife Donna are both very active in the Dulcimer field and have traveled extensively attending many festivals and workshops around the country.