The Foothills Dulcimer Club

presents the

12th Annual Mid-Winter

Mountain Dulcimer Festival

(Workshops & Concerts)


February 5, 2011


Workshops: 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Concert (free & open to the public): 5:00 p.m.

@ Elizabeth Baptist Church; Shelby, NC










Workshop Flyer (pdf)

Hotels in Shelby



Workshop Schedule

8:30  – Registration & Introduction of Instructors

9:15  – Session I

10:30 - Break

11:00 – Session 2

12:15 p.m. – Lunch*

1:30  – Session 3

2:45  - Break

3:15  - Session 4

4:30  - Break - or Jamming

5:00  - Concert

 *  The club includes lunch at no extra charge if you are a preregistered participant.  If you have a non-participant with you, he/she may eat with us for $5.  The club has a well-deserved reputation of doing a great lunch!

 * During lunch there will be a short, free concert featuring some of our instructors.


Below is a schedule of classes.  A description of each class is listed below the schedule in alphabetical order.  At this point there is a possibility some of these workshops could be changed or moved to a different time.  The schedule will be settled by the first of January.


Choir Room - 107

Room 208

Room 102

Room 221

Room 206

1st Period Workshops

9:15 a.m. – 10:30

Basic Mtn Dulcimer: Getting Started (part1)

Beginner beginners

(Galambush & Roberson)

Autumn Fancy




Finger-picking for the First Time



Playing Along with Others




Rare Versions of Common Fiddle Tunes




2nd Period Workshops

11:00 – 12:15 p.m.

Basic Mtn. Dulcimer: Getting Started (part2)

Beginner beginners

(Galambush & Roberson)

Civil War Songs


Novice to Advanced


Chording & Singing


Novice to Intermediate


Introduction to Playing the Bodhran


No dulcimer skills required!


Strumming Workshop




LUNCH w/ Concert

12:15 – 1:20

A great lunch is available on site and is included in your pre-registered workshop fee. Concert will feature Mike Clemmer, Flat Mountain Dulcimers, and Don Pedi.

3rd Period Workshops

1:30 – 2:45

Great Songs for Beginners



Gigs: Preparing to Play in Public


(Galambush & Roberson)

Songs of Jean Ritchie




Ban-Jammer Tricks & Styles




Playing by Ear


Adv Beginner>Advanced


4th Period Workshops

3:15 – 4:30

Enhance Your Music with Chords




Civil War Songs of the Union


Novice to Advanced


Time for Jam


(All Levels)


Playing Around with Any Tune






No Dulcimer skills required!




Community Concert

Free to the public!

5:00 - 6:30 p.m.

Concert will feature Doug Felt, Joe Collins and Aubrey Atwater.

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Class Descriptions (alphabetical order)

Autumn Fancy: An Exercise in Inverted Chords and 6/8 Rhythm (Advanced).  This workshop will use an original piece by Joe Collins entitled Autumn Fancy" to help you work on several very useful skills - playing inverted chords, pulling off while playing inverted chords, and keeping a smooth 6/8 rhythm even when things get a little fast.  These are great techniques for playing some of those faster Celtic tunes.  (Instructor: Joe Collins)

Ban-Jammer Tricks and Styles (Novice to Advanced).  Snappy strums and fill-ins that sound good on any dulcimer plus some extra "banjo-ish" tips.  You do not have to have a ban-jammer to take this workshop, but if you have one, bring it!  (Instructor:  Mike Clemmer)

Basic Mountain Dulcimer - Getting Started (Part I).  (Rank beginner) A workshop that covers all the basics one needs to get started on the instrument including tuning, holding the instrument, basic noting technique, what to do, and what not to do as a beginning player.  We'll be learning a few basic tunes. (Instructors: Nancy Galambush and Margit Roberson)


Basic Mountain Dulcimer - Getting Started (Part  II).  (Rank beginner) Continuation of the workshop above.  (Instructors: Nancy Galambush and Margit Roberson)

Chording and Singing (Novice to Intermediate): Participants will learn basic chords for the DAD Mixolydian tuning and how to sing and play at the same time! Aubrey will choose from some of her favorite traditional songs and also explore playing melodic instrumental breaks with a variety of D, G, and A chord shapes, as time allows.  (Instructor:  Aubrey Atwater)

Civil War Songs (Novice and above).  This is a repertoire workshop.  We'll be learning some songs from and about the Civil War, including "Grafted into the Army," "The Cruel War," and "The Battle of Shiloh Hill." (Instructor:  Joe Collins)

Civil War Songs of the Union (Novice and above).  Another repertoire workshop in which we will learn several tunes associated with the Union.  However, most tunes were shared by both the North and the South, just with different words.  (Instructor:  Joe Collins)

Clogging (All Levels, All Ages). This is a nice physical break from the sitting in a festival! Clogging is a percussive form of dance that precedes tap dancing, with rhythmic tapping of the feet, traditionally danced to old-time fiddle tunes. Aubrey will teach simple clogging (also known as flatfooting, jigdancing, or buckdancing) steps learned from the masters in Kentucky and North Carolina. If possible, wear leather sole shoes or tap shoes.  (Instructor:  Aubrey Atwater)

Enhance Your Music with Chords (Advanced Beginner)  Incorporate chords into your music or use chords to accompany others or to play in a jam.  We will start with the "magical" key of D and move onto the keys of G and A if we have time.  This is not a music theory course, but a course to help you become more comfortable using chords.

Fingerpicking for the First Time (Beginner to Intermediate).  Aubrey will provide a framework for fingerpicking simple songs on the mountain dulcimer. Participants will learn several basic patterns for vocal accompaniment as well as a method for fingerpicking a melody as an instrumental. (Instructor:  Aubrey Atwater)

Gigs - Preparing to Play in Public  (All levels – no instrument needed) Ready to perform in public but don't know where to start?  Let us share our ideas of what you need to know to prepare yourself.  Whether it is your first gig or you want to improve your program, take advantage of our experiences so that you will know what to do and what NOT to do.  What you need to know before accepting a gig, how to structure your program, gig etiquette and where to find gigs will be covered.  There will be time for an open discussion so that we can share and learn from each other's experiences.  (Instructors:  Nancy Galumbush and Margit Roberson)

Great Songs for Beginners (beginners) - a workshop introducing a collection of several songs for beginners.  You'll get to choose the ones you want to do as a group.  (Instructor:  Doug Felt)

Introduction to Playing the Bodhran.  Want to learn how to play percussion the old fashioned way?  The bodhran is an Irish drum played with a beater.  For this workshop, you do not need to own a bodhran; everything is provided.  (Instructor:  Doug Felt)

Playing Along With Others:  Finding Your Part (Intermediate to Advanced)  Learn how to use background chords and bass-style runs to really make a partner or partners sound really good.  (Instructor:  Mike Clemmer)

Playing Around With Any Tune (Novice to Intermediate).  A workshop designed to help you use easy chords and picking patterns to "make it sound right."  We'll also work on hand positions to make it easier to play.  (Instructor:  Mike Clemmer)

Playing By Ear Workshop (advanced beginner and above)  Another important method for developing the ability to play Old-Time and other types of music, especially with others, is playing by ear. It is the traditional way the old tunes were passed on from one person to another. The methods employed to learn to play by ear are simple and effective. Many people convinced they could never play by ear have left this workshop with a different point of view. (Instructor:  Don Pedi)

Rare Versions Of Common Fiddle Tunes Workshop (Novice and above)  Authentic and unique versions of Old Joe Clark, Bile 'em Cabbage Down, Skip to My Lou, Fire On The Mountain, Sally Goodin, Barlowe Knife and other common titles arranged for dulcimer from the playing of living and past master fiddlers. (Instructor:  Don Pedi)

Songs of Jean Ritchie and the Ritchie Family (Beginner to Intermediate): This is a good repertoire as well as traditional technique workshop where Aubrey will teach a variety of songs she has learned over the years through her contact with Jean Ritchie and other Ritchie family members. Workshop focuses on the traditional style of playing with the noter and playing in different tunings. For the more advanced player, other subjects can be incorporated in addition to noter technique and modes and tunings, including using the dulcimer as a harmony voice, arrangement, and crooked rhythm. (Instructor:  Aubrey Atwater)

Strumming Workshop (all levels). Strumming techniques include: applying proper angle, placement and pressure to a strum, how to hold the pick, body mechanics, developing a "fiddle-shuffle" type rhythm for square and contra dance tunes, developing appropriate rhythm for waltzes, jigs and other type tunes, vocal accompaniment, playing with others, vamping and more. (Instructor:  Don Pedi)

Time to Jam (All levels).  This is not a workshop, but an actual jam.  Several participants in the past have suggested have a place and a time just to jam, so we are responding to your requests.  Come ready to join in with dulcimers or any other instruments you choose to bring along!  (Jam Meister:  Margit Roberson)


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From I-85:  Take the Kings Mountain/Shelby exit (74 West).  Proceed on 74 Bypass until it intersects 180.  Turn right (180 North).   Go through three lights.  Elizabeth Baptist Church will be on the left.

 From 74 West:  Come into Shelby on 74 Bypass.  Proceed until it intersects 180.  Turn left.  Go through three lights.  Elizabeth will be on the left.

 From 18 North:  Before getting into Shelby, turn left on 180.  Go through two stop lights.  Elizabeth will be on the right.

Google Map

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Registration Information

Pre-Registration - before January 26, 2011

Workshop, Lunch, and all concerts:  $40


Registration - $50 dollars after January 26.  Does not include lunch, but lunch will be available for $7 as long as the food lasts.  Those who pre-register will go through the line first.




For registration forms and directions, click HERE.  


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About the Instructors

Aubrey Atwater.  From Foster, Rhode Island, award-winning musician, vocalist, writer, and dancer, Aubrey Atwater presents captivating programs of folk music, dance, and spoken word. Aubrey is in great demand for performances and classes and has performed throughout the United States as well as England, Ireland, and Canada.  She sings and plays the mountain dulcimer, old-time banjo, guitar, mandolin, and Irish tin whistle, and thrills audiences with her highly percussive clogging. In a scholarly, yet humorous way, Aubrey conveys the heritage behind traditional folk music and dance, showing a deep passion and understanding of folk history and its key players.  Aubrey is particularly well-known as a mountain dulcimer player and teacher in the US.  She teaches a wide variety of unique workshops and has used over twenty-five mountain dulcimer tunings over the years, playing styles that are both deeply traditional as well as modern and innovative.  She counts long-time friend and mentor Jean Ritchie as a great influence in her musical and personal life.  Part of the acclaimed duo Atwater-Donnelly, Aubrey has eleven recordings and six books to her credit. 

Links:  To learn more about Aubrey, her collaborators, and projects, please visit: 

Joe Collins began playing the dulcimer in the late 70s and has been a popular instructor/performer in festivals around the country for over a decade.  He has five recordings and eight popular tab books to his credit as well as a number of championships, including the 2007 National Mountain Dulcimer Championship.  Joe loves teaching and has a doctorate in Adult Education.  In addition to teaching dulcimer, he teaches Sunday School at his church and Discipleship Studies at Gardner-Webb University.  Thus he has plenty of opportunity to share the two greatest passions in his life:  his music and his faith in Christ.


Links:  Joe's Website       Joe's Press Kit

Don Pedi has amazed and delighted audiences for over 40 years with his unique "Fiddle-Pick" style of playing the dulcimer. Drawing on decades of association with many of the best musicians in the southern mountains, as well as his deep commitment to preserving the old music, Don carries on the tradition in an exciting and innovative fashion. Don won first place in the first contest he ever entered at the 1974 Fiddler's Grove Festival, in Union Grove, North Carolina. Before retiring from festival competitions in 1982, he had won over thirty first place trophies and awards.
     Don Pedi has performed with a great many musical legends. He currently performs solo, as a duo with Bruce Greene or in a group with Bruce.  In 2003 Don represented Appalachia at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.  Don and his music appear in the motion pictures: "Songcatcher" and "The Journey of August King".
     Since 1985 Don has served as an on air host at NPR affiliate WCQS-FM in Asheville, NC.  "Close to Home" features Traditional, Old-Time, and Classic Folk music. The show airs on Saturdays from 8:00-10:00 pm. Listen locally on the radio, or streaming on the world wide web at WCQS.ORG. Or, listen anytime to past shows from the WCQS Audio Archives on the web.


Nancy Galambush first encountered the sound of a Mountain Dulcimer on a family trip to the Smokey Mountains in the ‘60’s.  In 1997 her husband, JC Bradshaw, offered to make one if she’d learn to play it.  She took him up on his offer.  Since then she has attended workshops and brought the knowledge home to others in eastern North Carolina, where she was a founding member of Waterbound Dulcimers.

Margit Roberson was introduced to the dulcimer years ago, when she bought one for her husband from a Sears and Roebuck catalog.  It was soon forgotten. Years later she met JC Bradshaw and Nancy Galambush and was reintroduced to it.  She originally thought she couldn’t play because she could not read music and didn’t have any musical background.  However, she did learn by going to workshops and playing with the Waterbound group.   She now teaches at workshops and won third place in the dulcimer competition at Busco Beach.

Nancy and Margit now play together regularly along with Margit’s husband Dave in Flat Mountain Dulcimers, an ensemble with some great arrangements.

Mike Clemmer is well known for his unique, high quality dulcimers that he builds and sells in Townsend, TN at Wood-n-Strings Dulcimer Shoppe.  Over twenty years ago, an acquaintance asked Mike to help him catch up on his dulcimer orders. Armed with years of experience repairing violins and guitars, Mike accepted the challenge and learned the art of dulcimer building. "If you had a blank check, what would you want to do?" Connie Clemmer asked her husband, Mike. After talking and praying about it, Mike realized what he wanted ... his own shop for building and selling handcrafted mountain dulcimers.  Its been a labor of love ever since. 

Mike's long sought dream-come-true has evolved from his life-long love of many types of music, playing, singing and his reputation for repairing, trading and buying instruments.  What many people don't know is that Mike is also a very fine player.  He and his wife Connie have just released a great CD that demonstrates his unique stylings on the instrument, and we look forward to what he has to offer as in instructor.

Links:  Wood-n-Strings Dulcimer Shop

Doug Felt made his first dulcimer, a cardboard model, in 1982 and has been playing ever since. He has played his dulcimer throughout the country. The penny whistle came a few years later. He began teaching the pennywhistle workshops in 1990, and gave his first fretted dulcimer workshop in 1995. He has taught and performed in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Louisiana, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, and Oklahoma.

He has given featured concerts and mini-concerts across the country entertaining the people with his fretted dulcimer, penny whistle and his collection of small town stories. He has a CD entitled "A Little of This and A Little of That", with a corresponding tab book.

Doug and his wife, Lee, tour the country together featuring their custom instrument cases and other dulcimer lovers' accessories.

Links:  Doug's Website


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Hotels in Shelby


We have not reserved a block of rooms in any of the following hotels.  As far as I know, all of these hotels are in pretty good shape and are moderately priced.  The newest hotel is the Holiday Inn, followed by the Hampton Inn, Econo Lodge, and Days Inn.  You must call the hotel to make reservations.



Hampton Inn  (704-482-5666)

2012 East Marion St; Shelby, NC 28150

About 1 ˝  miles from the workshop.


Holiday Inn Express  (704-480-0881)

2001 East Dixon Blvd, Hwy 74; Shelby, NC 28152

About 1 ˝ miles from the workshop.


Super 8 (704-484-2101)

1716 East Dixon Boulevard; Shelby, NC 28150

About 1 ˝ miles from the workshop.


Days Inn  (704-482-1800)

1431 West Dixon Boulevard; Shelby, NC 28150

About 5 miles from the workshop.


Affordable Suites of America (704-471-0441)

920 Grove Street; Shelby, NC 28152-6850

About 2 miles from the workshop.  This is one of those extended stay hotels.  Not sure about nightly rates.


America's Best Value Inn (704-482-3821)

825 West Dixon Blvd.; Shelby, NC 28152

About 3 miles from the workshop. 

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