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2019 Faculty Biographies

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Mountain Dulcimer Faculty:

 

Bing Futch: Featured faculty/performer

   Using Appalachian mountain dulcimer, Native American flute, ukulele and a pedal board equipped with a loop station, Bing deftly navigates the varied waters of traditional and modern Americana with passion, wit and a genuinely huge heart for sharing music with a crowd. 

   Known for his musical shape-shifting, Bing switches the channels on style with every new song, sung in a limber tenor voice and woven together with the other instruments. His casual way with any audience, coupled with a fierce originality on the lesser known mountain dulcimer, makes each show a one-of-a-kind and good-timing romp. 

   As a nationally touring solo performer he's headlined at such events as The Walnut Valley Festival, The Florida Folk Festival, Old Songs Festival, Indiana Fiddlers Gathering, The Big Muddy, Kentucky Music Weekend and Common Ground On The Hill. 

   With a strong love for traditional music, Futch has enjoyed a career on both sides of the folk and rock divide, first as guitarist for CCM post-punkers Crazed Bunnyz in 1986 and much later in 1999 as co-founder of Mohave on mountain dulcimer.  That band, with bassist Mike Burney and drummer McGyver, took off after their debut performance at the House of Blues at Walt Disney World and over the course of the next seven years would become a crowd favorite and open for the likes of Molly Hatchet, St. Somewhere and The Crests.
   In 2006, Bing began performing solo at county fairs and festivals across the country. He has recorded a number of albums and published several music-education books including the best-selling "Blues Method For Mountain Dulcimer 101."  In 2014, Bing won the "Solo Artist" award in the Central Florida Blues Challenge competition, earning a coveted entry into the 2015
International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN, where he advanced to the semifinals, gaining new notice and fans for himself and this unique instrument. Several months later, Bing competed in the 2015 Central Florida Blues Challenge and won the Solo/Duo Award for the second year in a row, which led him back to Memphis to compete in the 2016 International Blues Challenge.  There, he advanced all the way to the finals and was named "Best Guitarist" in the solo-duo category, despite competing solely on the mountain dulcimer.
   Futch's music has also been featured in film, video, on stage and in exhibits at the Orlando Museum of Art.  He was composer and musical director for "The Jungle Book: A Musical Adaptation" at Stage Left Theater in Orlando, Florida.  He also contributed music to the soundtrack of The Castle of Miracles attraction at
Give Kids The World Village in Kissimmee, Florida.

   Bing can often be found teaching music workshops at various festivals and colleges, presenting music education programs at schools and libraries and producing episodes of his video podcast Dulcimerica which has been viewed by over a million people worldwide and is currently in its 11th year. 

   In traveling over 35,000 miles a year, Futch's home away from home is a 32 foot long Jayco Greyhawk that has been dubbed "Marahute."  While off the road, he lives in Orlando, Florida with his wife, Jae, and a menagerie of critters. 

 

 Bill Collins:

   Bill has been in love with the Appalachian dulcimer for well over 25 years, and is equally passionate about playing, teaching, and learning.  In his performing and teaching, he seeks to focus on bringing out the dulcet qualities inherent in the dulcimer and on expanding the repertoire of music played on the instrument.   

   Bill has conducted more than 120 dulcimer workshops in ten states and has taught week-long sessions at Augusta Spring Dulcimer Week, Shenandoah University, and Kentucky Music Week.  He also offers private lessons.  He has been a featured concert artist at several festivals and has performed at weddings, receptions, church services, museums, and private functions. 

   He has written six books of dulcimer arrangements:  collections of Turlough O’Carolan tunes, Irish jigs, and Icelandic folk tunes, a book of challenging arrangements for the advanced player, and two collections of Shaker tunes (one co-written with Nina Zanetti).  He has composed over 20 pieces for the instrument, several of which are featured on a CD entitled The Sum of the Parts, a recording of dulcimer solos and duets performed by Bill and 2008 National Mountain Dulcimer Champion Nina Zanetti.

 

Carol Walker

  Carol’s formal training includes a degree in Music Education, with majors in piano, harp, and voice.  She retired after 32 years as an active high school choral teacher (and was the recipient of the 2003 NJ Governor’s Teacher of the Year Award), but soon found a way to combine her love of teaching with her new direction in folk music, and has become a popular workshop leader and featured performer at festivals all over the US.  Carol has published six dulcimer tab books, which have established her as a favorite arranger among players of all levels.  Her first two books (Tailless Tunes 1 & 2) are exclusively devoted to the Celtic-flavored Manx music -- traditional tunes from the Isle of Man.  Her next project featured a unique method of learning to play the dulcimer in gradual and progressive increments, using familiar Americana songs from yesteryear.  This trilogy, DNA* Dulcimer Ditties (*songs so familiar they're part of your DNA) takes dulcimer players from Basic Beginner to Nicely Novice to Adventurously Advanced.  The long-awaited Classical Dulcimer for Wascally Wabbits, released in 2017, includes a unique collection of solo and ensemble “awwangements of cwassical favowites.”  Along the way, Carol also produced several CDs and an instructional DVD, directed by Happy Traum of Homespun Tapes.  Carol also plays upright bass and travels with her husband, guitarist Toby Walker, during his US, UK, Europe, and Canadian tours. 

 

Ellen Pratt:

   Ellen has been playing dulcimer for sixteen years. She began writing her own music in 2004 and has performed at numerous open mics and festivals. Ellen’s style of playing is a mix of traditional and contemporary. She enjoys the hard, fast strumming of old time music and jam tunes with both the dulcimer and banjo but also enjoys the quieter, more contemporary chord style with fingerpicking on dulcimer. Ellen plays with the Northeast Dulcimer Orchestra in Connecticut. She co-coordinates Vermont’s August Dulcimer Daze festival with George Haggerty.

 

Joe Rosolen:

   Joe has been playing the mountain dulcimer for about 10 years and also plays electric bass and acoustic guitar. Pocono was the first dulcimer festival he attended in 2009. Currently he performs with "Never Grow Up" & "Linda & The LoveTones," two North Jersey bands. Joe’s  musical influences include The Carter Family, Robert Force, Dvorak, The Beatles, Elizabeth Cotton, Vivaldi, Don Pedi, The Rascals to name but a few... He plays Doug Berch dulcimers.

 

Jonah Talbott:

   Jonah is a social worker who works with at risk youth for the Carbon-Monroe-Pike (C-M-P) Drug& Alcohol Commission.  A mountain dulcimer player, he joined the PDC in 1998 and has been a member of the Dulcimer Fest committee since 2004.  Jonah demonstrates great skill, patience and humor in helping newer players to learn this wonderful instrument. He lives in Hamilton Square, PA with his wife and son.

 

Judith Giddings:

   Judith began playing the dulcimer after her retirement as a college professor of special education.  Her experiences include performing at various community events, often with a harpist friend, many years of playing for hospice patients, and playing and teaching at festivals. She has had several articles published in Dulcimer Players News. Her album, Sunshine and Shadows, features gentle finger-style tunes including well-known popular standards, as well as traditional Celtic and original songs. Her YouTube channel is at https://www.youtube.com/user/dulcimerintheforest and Facebook page is at “Judith Giddings Dulcimer Music.”

 

Kim Jennings:

   Kim Jennings is an art teacher at Voorhees HS in Glen Gardner, NJ. She discovered the mountain dulcimer in 1987 and become a more avid player after becoming a member of the Pocono Dulcimer Club in 1997. She especially loves playing her Folk Notes Banj-Mo and enjoys helping new dulcimer players become comfortable with their dulcimer.   She lives in Bangor, PA with her husband and two sons.

 

Norm Williams:

   Norm has been teaching M0untain Dulcimer since 2002 and has been faculty/performer at many festivals and events since including the MDMF, Cranberry, French Creek Music Retreat and the Augusta Heritage Festival. Norm is co-founder of The Pocono Dulcimer Club and a coordinator of their Winter DulcimerFest held annually in the Poconos of PA.  He is also co-chair of the Maidencreek Old Time Music Festival, held in July in Blandon, PA, and a great promoter of the mountain dulcimer.  Norm is currently semi-retired and resides with his wife, Erin, in Breinigsville, PA.  www.awayfarer-normw.com

Hammered Dulcimer Faculty:

 

Jody Marshall:  Featured faculty/performer

   Growing up with a jazz musician for a father, a mother who loves to sing, and a drummer for an older brother who introduced her to the music of the Beatles, Jody absorbed the strains of many different musical styles - from swing-era standards and Dixieland jazz to pop, rock, and folk. So began an eclectic love for music that continues to nourish her imagination today.

   She began singing harmony with her mom when she was four years old, and couldn't wait till she was old enough to take piano lessons. But it wasn't until much later, when she began playing the hammered dulcimer, that her musicality found its true voice. Now she is well known for her lively and expressive style, as well as for her creative arrangements of both solo and ensemble pieces. In keeping with her varied musical tastes, she is equally adept at playing Celtic jigs and reels, Renaissance and medieval dance tunes, classical music, and other genres. She delights in finding and adapting pieces that sit well on the dulcimer but aren't normally heard on the instrument, mining material from the likes of J. S. Bach, BBC television shows, the Allman Brothers, and Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson. Jody is also an innovative piano player with a style all her own, by turns driving a powerful rhythm for a rollicking reel or softly lilting a gentle waltz. 

   The Washington Post has described Jody's work as "...deftly balancing the artful and the playful...lovely, lively, and shimmering." With her solo recording, Cottage in the Glen (Maggie's Music, MM232), Jody has put together a fine collection of music, including original tunes of light-hearted whimsy, tender poignancy, and irresistible rhythms.

   Jody is also a popular hammered dulcimer teacher. Her clear and insightful style of instruction has helped hundreds of students become more confident players with a greater understanding of how their instrument "works." She teaches both private lessons and group classes, and is frequently an instructor at workshops and festivals. She has been on the staff of the Augusta Heritage Arts workshops in Elkins, WV; the Upper Potomac Dulcimer Festival in Shepherdstown, WV; the Northeast Dulcimer Symposium in New York's Adirondack Mountains; and the Cook Forest festival in Clarion, PA, among others.

   Nominated as best folk instrumentalist by the Washington Area Music Association, Jody's performance credits include the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Smithsonian Institution, the Kennedy Center, and the White House. She was a founding member of the D.C.- based folk trio, Ironweed, and also performed extensively with the award-winning Celtic bands, MoonFire and Connemara. She also enjoys performing both solo and with other musicians at weddings, parties, and other special events. When she's not playing, teaching, composing, or recording music, Jody likes to dig in the dirt in her native plant garden and play with the numerous felines that let her live in their house.

 

Marya Katz:

   Marya (Mar-ya) is a musician, an educator, a lover of growing things...actually, all of those pretty much go together.  She plays a variety of instruments, her main passion being the hammered dulcimer.  She performs with her folk group, Simple Gifts of the Blue Ridge, composes music, and has been a workshop leader at various Dulcimer Festivals along the East Coast.  Marya plays for schools, weddings, receptions, festivals, parties, and churches; She is also available to teach private lessons on this beautiful instrument.  Be sure to check out her “Musical Musings” link for ideas, hints, and original compositions - She’ll publish new thoughts about every 2 weeks for you to explore. (And if you’d like to book performances, purchase books/CDs, or schedule lessons, see her “Contact Information” link) 

   Marya is a National Board Certified Teacher (Early/Middle Childhood Music, 2002), retired after teaching elementary public school music for 33 years.  She continues to conduct the adult choir at her church -- a position she has held for 36 years.  She resides in Blacksburg, VA, in the heart of the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains.

 

Mary Lynn Van Deventer:

   In 2012, Mary Lynn discovered a passion for playing the hammered dulcimer. and has studied intensively with Ken Kolodner, widely regarded as one of the nation's top hammered dulcimer players. She now teaches over 70 hammered dulcimer students privately and on FaceTime (from CA, NM, NY, TN, NH, AL, CO, MD, MI, and Australia). She has prepared dozens of students to attend Ken's Sandbridge Hammered Dulcimer Retreats, an elite hammered dulcimer retreat held in Sandbridge Beach, VA. Mary Lynn serves as an assistant teacher for Kolodner. Performances and teaching appearances include The Evart FunFest (2017, 2018, 2019), The National Cathedral (DC), The Black Mountain Festival, The Poconos Dulcimer Festival and with Kolodner in Chicago, Watkins Glen, NY and elsewhere.

   Mary Lynn began playing piano at the age of 6 and studied for 14 years. In sixth grade she played trumpet, but discovered her true passion the next year when she heard a french horn. She earned a Bachelor's degree in music education from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Master's degree in music education from Eastman School of Music. Mary Lynn has performed with the Durham Symphony for 20 years and served as Principal Horn for the past 5 years.

 

Rich Carty:

   With over 20 years’ experience playing and teaching hammered dulcimer, Rich Carty is “The Dulcimer Guy.” A multi-talented musician who is comfortable playing in a variety of styles, Rich has a large repertoire from which to draw for his performances, including weddings and music for the Christmas season.

   Rich's instrument — the hammered dulcimer — is an unforgettable solo instrument, but blends equally well as half of a duo, or as a special voice within a group. In fact, you may already have seen and heard Rich as The Dulcimer Guy almost anywhere within southern New Jersey — perhaps performing as part of a regional fair, or during candlelight holiday shopping evenings in Haddonfield, Celtic music events, during weddings, at restaurants and coffee houses.

   Rich would be a very special addition to your next family or group program. And he is available for bookings at coffee houses, restaurants and other venues.

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