Featured Teaching Artist, Mountain Dulcimer
Karen Mueller is one of the top autoharp and mountain dulcimer players performing today. Her exciting and innovative performing style, featuring Appalachian, Celtic and contemporary music, has been applauded by critics and audiences from LA to Boston. Bluegrass Unlimited magazine has said “Karen Mueller’s touch, timing and taste make her a true virtuoso. Her talent and clarity…deserve a wide audience.”
Featured Teaching Artist, Hammer Dulcimer
Tina Bergmann is a fourth-generation musician raised in a family that played music in the aural tradition. Performing since age eight and teaching privately and in workshops since age 12, Tina has decades of experience playing music for a wide range of events, including festivals, weddings and corporate events. In solo performance, as a duo with bassist Bryan Thomas, with her stringband Hu$hmoney, and with Cleveland’s world-renowned baroque orchestra, Apollo’s Fire, Tina’s expressive musicality and driving rhythm bring the American old time, Celtic, Classical, and world music she plays to life.
Karen Alley, the 2014 National Hammered Dulcimer champion, is a hammered dulcimer teacher and performer currently based in Winnipeg, Canada. Her repertoire ranges from Celtic to classical to hymns to show tunes, and her style combines percussive techniques with the rich harmonies and broad dynamics that make the dulcimer one of the most expressive instruments used in the folk community.
Judy and her husband, Kirk, are the founders of the Camel City Strummers Dulcimer Club and the Triad Dulcimer Orchestra, both of which are local. In early 2021, they founded the First National Dulcimer Orchestra, which meets weekly over Zoom and performs at festivals by invitation. They are the directors of the Winston-Salem Dulcimer Festival which is held the first Saturday in May in Winston-Salem.
Judy’s passion for the dulcimer has led to her teaching at festivals around the country and presenting at conferences and universities concerning the Mountain Dulcimer. She also enjoys working with those interested in becoming effective teachers of the mountain dulcimer and other folk instruments.
Judy has written 9 dulcimer music books with a couple more on the way!
Judy lives in Winston-Salem, NC with her husband, Kirk.
Erin Mae Lewis
Erin Mae is a freelance folk musician and mountain dulcimer teacher who has carved her own path every step of the way. She has a degree from South Plains College in Commercial Music, where she was the first student to study mountain dulcimer. She continues today to be a leader of innovation and education in her musical community. Erin Mae’s passion is to empower and equip others to find their own creative expression in the world.
Sarah Kate Morgan
Sarah Kate Morgan started her musical journey at 7 years old when she was introduced to old-time music through a dulcimer that her grandfather built. From there, she has gone on to develop a uniquely intricate and virtuosic style inspired by the traditional Appalachian music she grew up with in rural East Tennessee.
At 18, Sarah placed 1st at the 2012 National Mountain Dulcimer Championships held in Winfield, KS. She recently graduated from Morehead State University in eastern Kentucky with degrees in Traditional Music, Appalachian Studies, and Arts Administration. Sarah Kate also performs as a regular member of the Michelle Canning Band , calls square dances, attempts to quilt and grow things in her garden garden, and works at the Hindman Settlement School in eastern Kentucky as the Traditional Arts Education Director.
Mountain Dulcimer, Executive Director & Founder
DJ is a composer, teacher, recording artist, and community music organizer. She teaches mountain dulcimer at The Freight in Berkeley, CA, and in her east bay home. DJ founded the Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering in 2013, produced the first online dulcimer festival in 2020, and co-founded the Berkeley Dulcimer Orchestra in 2014 with Steve Eulberg. Since March 2020 she has participated in 10 global virtual dulcimer festivals, and is planning Dulcimoon – a women-led virtual dulcimer festival for 2023.
Musically versatile, she performs with her husband, Buffalo, as The DulciMates. DJ has produced 6 recordings and “Indian Summer,” a book of her music and original arrangements. She is working on a book of original music and arrangements for baritone dulcimer.
Learn more about DJ’s recordings, books, and online classes at:
After a full career in elementary education, Laurie Alsobrook has found a perfect blending of her two passions, teaching learners and playing the dulcimer. Laurie has participated in a variety of festivals, online and in-person. Festival credits include QDF, Black Mountain, Nonsuch, Dulcimer U, NGFDA, Dutchland, and Dulcimer Daze. She also served as co-host/organizer and instructor at the Stephen Foster Dulcimer Retreats, both digital and in-person events.
Laurie is a regular contributor to the Send in the Music Virtual Jam, offering free tab to the participants and serving as a song leader. She also hosts a weekly more informal zoom jam.
Melanie Johnston has been playing Mountain Dulcimer since 2001. She is a graduate of the Dulcimer University/Western Carolina University certification program for teaching the Mountain Dulcimer and teaches private students, classes and festival workshops in the New England and North Carolina regions.
Melanie and her husband founded the Northeast Dulcimer Orchestra in Connecticut and the Asheville Dulcimer Orchestra and Black Bear Dulcimer Club in North Carolina. Additionally, they work with Kirk and Judy House to run the National (Virtual) Dulcimer Orchestra.
Melanie and her husband, Mack, perform as a duo with dulcimer, guitar and mandolin.
In addition to playing and teaching dulcimer, Melanie has written TablEdit for Mountain Dulcimer Arrangers (available through Folkcraft Instruments) and writes a quarterly TablEdit Column for Dulcimer Player’s News: https://www.dpnews.com/