About the 2020 Spring Music Weekend Teachers
Hammered Dulcimer Classes
Colin Beasley: Before becoming the 2018 National Hammered Dulcimer Champion, 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, Brazilian, Cuban, 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.
Ruth Smith is widely recognized for her delicate, expressive style, and her many years of classical training give her a special touch which brings the "softer side" of the hammered dulcimer to life. Ruth performs with her husband, Steve, and together they have performed their Appalachian Americana music extensively in the U.S. and internationally. Steve and Ruth perform at major music festivals nationwide, are popular instructors at workshops, have been featured on the PBS TV series Song of the Mountains and NPR’s All Songs Considered and Thistle & Shamrock, and are regularly heard on XM & Sirius Satellite Radio, Pandora, Spotify, Internet streaming radio networks, NPR and acoustic music format radio stations around the U.S.
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.
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).
Paul Oorts a native of Belgium, is adept at musette accordion and many things with strings. His instrumental versatility and knowledge of many different styles of music have made Paul the accompanist of choice for many hammered dulcimer players and a valued member of several dance ensembles. He plays English and contra dance music with Goldcrest and Cabaret Sauvignon, and traditional French music with Ensemble Tympanon. As a member of the Rigatoni Brothers he researches and performs Italian-American mandolin in trio music. (Waltz Around the World for mixed instruments).
Steve Smith, an ASCAP award-winning songwriter, provides fingerstyle guitar, old-time banjo, ukulele and vocals to Steve and Ruth Smith's Acoustic Americana music duo. Ukulele is a favorite of Steve's, having played professionally in Hawaii for 15 years. His many years living in Hawaii give Steve a real feel for how the ukulele is traditionally played and he teaches ukulele workshops in a fun, friendly manner. Steve also teaches workshops on guitar, banjo, songwriting, recording, and performing techniques. Steve and wife Ruth are popular workshop instructors, teaching and performing at festivals and folk schools nationwide. (Saturday Uke Class)