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About the 2022  Spring Music Weekend Teachers

Hammered Dulcimer Classes

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.

Karen was playing fiddle at a folk festival in Pennsylvania in 2004, when she realized she could make much nicer sounds on the dulcimer than she could on the fiddle. To her family's relief, she put down the fiddle and began dragging dulcimers with her to festivals and concerts all over the country. Her main passion is teaching, but there's little that compares to the exhilaration of playing with and learning from other musicians backstage and in concert. She has released two albums showcasing a variety of styles, as well as three books: "Beyond Melodies, Using Chords to Add Harmony," which demystifies music theory and playing harmonies with melody lines, "Christmas with your Dulcimer," a book of arrangements of favorite Christmas carols for beginner and intermediate players, and "Difficult Ditties and Hammer-Hampering Harmonies," a book of exercises to increase efficiency while practicing.​

Tina Bergmann  Hailed by Pete Seeger as “the best hammered dulcimer player I’ve heard in my life,” Tina Bergmann has been performing concerts, and teaching workshops and private lessons from an early age. A fourth-generation musician, Bergmann began playing music at age eight, learning the mountain dulcimer from her mother in the aural tradition and learning the hammered dulcimer at the knee of West Virginia-native builder and performer Loy Swiger. Demonstrating gifts for both performance and teaching, she has been a featured performer across the United States, performing solo; as a duo with her husband, bassist Bryan Thomas; with her stringband Hu$hmoney; and as a featured soloist with Apollo’s Fire and Canadian early music group, La Nef.

Instructing her first workshop at Cleveland State University at the age of 12, Tina went on to be in demand at festivals, music clubs and camps throughout the US. By the time she earned a BA in music education in 1994 she had a well-established and thriving private studio, had been planning and facilitating master classes and workshops, and was a featured instructor at weeklong camps in Kentucky, New York, Massachuses, Missouri, and North Carolina. Tina has been a Music Specialist at Hershey Montessori in Concord Township Ohio since 2001.

Tina is featured on 10 recordings and has authored two books, Bells in the High Tower, holiday music for the advanced beginner through advanced player, and Grooving & Growing-20 unusual jam tunes to light your fire. Information on private lessons & workshops, concert listings and merchandise can be found at her website


Multi-instrumentalist, Brenda Hunter, is classically trained but feels she found her niche when she discovered the hammered dulcimer in 1992 and, consequently, the world of traditional music. Since winning the National Hammered Dulcimer Competition in 1996, she has been a featured performer/instructor at numerous festivals across the country. Bakersfield is her home base where she performs regularly throughout the area, as a soloist on both dulcimer and Celtic harp, in a duo, Flutter-by Music, with fellow dulcimer player, Patti Amelotte and with her world/Celtic band, Banshee in the Kitchen. Brenda retired  from her high school music teaching job in June of 2018 and  is enjoying the extra time to devote to her musical pursuits!


Mark Alan Wade performs throughout Europe, Asia and North America as a soloist on dulcimer and trumpet.  A classical trumpeter by trade, Mark earned his masters and doctorate degrees in music from The Ohio State University and has played hammered and mountain dulcimers for nearly 30 years. His style uniquely marries his classical precision and technique with his wild traditional dulcimer playing. As a result, he brings Celtic and world music to life and authenticity to familiar classical pieces. Mark recently released a new book entitled, Classical Masterpieces for Hammered Dulcimer. A National Champion himself, 6 of his students have also won the National Contest. Mark loves teaching beginners and has eight dulcimer books to help them get started right.

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Sam Rizzetta Memorial 

Sam Rizzetta  RIP

Sam Rizzetta succumbed to late-diagnosed ANK Leukemia on Oct 28, an untreatable disease. For the more than four decades that I knew him Sam was an encouraging teacher, imaginative designer, blunt critic, fishing companion and dear, dear friend.  Forever in my mind, Sam will always be coming by the shop to show or hear something new, or I will be stopping by his to do the same. But with hundreds of miles of streams, river and lakes paddled, wilderness hiked, untold numbers of fish caught, tunes composed, instruments designed, sessions played, students taught, Sam used his time well, and departs this world the wealthiest of humans.

In Westminster Cathedral the epitaph of the architect Sir Christopher Wren reads “If you would seek his monument, look around you”. If you would seek Sam Rizzetta’s monument, next time you see almost any modern hammered dulcimer being played: go have a listen.

Rizzetta Memorial Host

Karen Ashbrook has been involved with dulcimer since the mid 70s when she built her first one as a high school project. She had been a pioneer in the promotion of the dulcimer in the US, Japan and more recently in its revival in Belgium.  Known for her elegant fluid style of playing, she performs regularly solo, with her husband, Paul Oorts and with the dance band, Cabaret Sauvignon, and has numerous well-received recordings. Karen is also a Certified Music Practitioner® (CMP), and is trained to play healing hammered dulcimer music at the bedside of those who are ill and/or dying. (Healing Music for hammered dulcimer and harp (other instruments with permission of the instructor).  

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