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Dulcimer U Winter Weekend

winter scene with dulcimer


Thursday-Sunday, January 5-8, 2023
Lambuth Inn, Lake Junaluska, NC


Registration and Costs

Make your separate room and meals reservations for Lake Junalusja online  or call 800-222-4930 

  • Double Occupancy Room with full meal package
    Thursday dinner through Sunday Breakfast $328.69 pp
  • Single Occupancy Room with full meal package
    Thursday dinner through Sunday Breakfast $510.17 pp

A Message from our Directors:

We are excited that you are considering joining us for a weekend of dulcimer music, fun and fellowship. Winter Weekend is always a great way to decompress from the stress of the holidays and take in some great music.

Again this year, we have put together a first class instructional staff, all of whom are veterans of Winter Weekend.  Their experience in the classroom as an instructor as well as on stage as a performer make them the very best at what they do!

The goal of all Dulcimer U events is to provide you the finest educational experience you can find at any dulcimer gathering, while still maintaining a relaxed, fun-filled atmosphere - offering something for everyone, no matter what the experience level. To top it off, the beautiful Lake Junaluska setting provides the perfect backdrop for your learning experience.

While we are extremely proud of our instructional staff, Dulcimer U events are not about showcasing them. Rather, it is about U, the participant. We work hard to make this weekend the very best that it can be for each individual, whether you are a new player or a seasoned veteran.

This is a personal invitation to check out what we have to offer in the way of instruction and to join us for this very special weekend of learning more about the mountain dulcimer. We look forward to making music with you in January!

Elaine & Larry Conger



MOUNTAIN DULCIMER 8:30 - 10:00 am

LEVEL 1 - New Players with Jim Miller
Participants registering for this class should plan to stay in this class throughout the weekend, as one concept will build on the ones before.  Jim will be starting with the very basics of playing the mountain dulcimer, then slowly progressing at a pace that he deems comfortable for the class.  Session 1 – Intro to the mountain dulcimer (tuning, strums, fingering, picks, chords, scales)

LEVEL 2 – Advancing Beginners - “Short and Sweet Songs – So Simple and Satisfying! with Laurie Alsobrook
It only takes eight measures for these songs to make an impact.  Included are short and sweet songs you will love playing over and over again ... lullabies, hymns, and traditional melodies.  Please bring a capo.

LEVEL 3 – Lower Intermediate - “Give Me That Old Time Religion” with Carol Crocker
Come learn some traditional old time gospel tunes including “Old Time Religion”. We will play these tunes using chord melody, flatpicking and arpeggio, as well as traditional strumming styles. 

LEVEL 3 and up - Intermediate to Advanced - “Be the Bass Player!” with Elaine Conger
Attention bass dulcimer enthusiasts!  Come review your alternating bass technique or learn it for the first time.  This will be the first of three sessions in the same day entirely focused on being the bass player on your bass dulcimer.  If you’ve had my classes before, newer material will be presented in addition to reviewing standard dulcimer jam repertoire.  As the class progresses throughout the day, we’ll add a little walking bass to the mix along with some boogie and rock styles.  By the end of the 3rd session, we’ll be ready to go on tour! Be sure to register for all 3 sessions for the most benefit. (DAd tuning; bass dulcimer with 1.5 fret required)(Prerequisite: Elaine’s book, “It’s All About the Bass Dulcimer” available for download or physical book. Will also be available on-site.)

LEVEL 3/4 - Intermediate to Upper Intermediate - “Combining Your Picking & Strumming” with Joe Collins
This workshop will focus on picking out the melody in between and in combination with the strums that give body to arrangements.  We’ll use exercises to develop effective strum/flatpicking technique and two tunes to incorporate the technique.

LEVEL 4/5 – Upper Intermediate into Advanced - “Playing Tunes All Over the Fretboard” with Sarah Morgan 
One of the most important and interesting things you can do to advance your playing and understanding of the dulcimer is to instantly be able to transfer the melody to multiple different locations on the fretboard. We’ll start by mapping out multiple melodic “zones” on the fretboard. Then we’ll take a simple fiddle tune on the melody string and translate it to many other locations. DAD tuning.

MOUNTAIN DULCIMER 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

LEVEL 1 - New Players, cont. with Jim Miller  
Session 2 –Simple melodies

LEVEL 2 – Advancing Beginners - “Peas & Harmony: Rounds, Canons and Partner Songs” with Laurie Alsobrook
Rounds, Canons, and Partner Songs are fun ways to bring harmony to your dulcimer and into your life...and give you “peas,” aka peace.

LEVEL 3 – Lower Intermediate - “The 7th Fret and Beyond….” with Carol Crocker
So, you are feeling pretty confident about your playing skills as long as the tab and tune doesn’t go above the 7th fret. Some players are hesitant or uncomfortable playing in the “nosebleed” section. Here’s your chance to just go for it as we focus on tips and techniques to help build confidence playing in the upper octave of your dulcimer. You will need your capo.

LEVEL 3 and up - Intermediate to Advanced - “Be the Bass Player!” with Elaine Conger 
Continued from 8:30 am class.

LEVEL 3/4 - Intermediate to Upper Intermediate - “A Wintry Mix” with Joe Collins
Participants will learn to play some classic winter tunes often associated with holiday, but not necessarily about Christmas (“Jingle Bells,” “Over the River and Through the Woods”). There will also be a couple of less familiar tunes. This workshop is a great opportunity to add tunes to your repertoire that can still be timely after the holidays are over. Of course, you can play them for the holidays, too.

LEVEL 4/5 – Upper Intermediate into Advanced - “Approaches to Improvisation” with Sarah Morgan 
I wanna show you how to loosen up and liven up your playing. I’m gonna give you the tools to be able to make up interesting and musical things on the fly. We’ll start with learning two ways I approach improvisation. Then I’ll be teaching a simple tune with lots of room to experiment, then using these approaches to improvise within the structure of the tune. Knowledge of chords and chord shapes will be very helpful for the class. DAD tuning. 

MOUNTAIN DULCIMER 2:30 - 4:00 pm

LEVEL 1 - New Players, cont. with Jim Miller  Session 3
Chord melody style

LEVEL 2 – Advancing Beginners - “Making Waltzes Move!” with Laurie Alsobrook
How do you take a simply tabbed piece and make it an arrangement of your own?  Tools for doing this with strum variations for waltzing across your fretboard will be presented in this "moving" workshop. :-)  DAD tuning will be used.

LEVEL 3 – Lower Intermediate - Shaped Note Hymns for Mountain Dulcimer” with Carol Crocker
Come learn Shaped Note hymns arranged for the mountain dulcimer. Shaped note music is an American four-part harmony, acapella singing tradition dating from early 1800s. “Shape-notes” refers to the different shapes of the note heads of the music scale. We learn multi-part “choral” arrangements of shape note hymn tunes arranged for mountain dulcimers. Materials will be provided from the traditional shaped note tune books.


LEVEL 3 and up - Intermediate to Advanced - “Be the Bass Player!”  with Elaine Conger
Continued from 10:30 am class.

LEVEL 3/4 - Intermediate to Upper Intermediate - “When Irish Eyes Are Weepingwith Joe Collins Some sad, sad songs that are standard pieces in the Irish repertoire, including “Foggy Dew,” “Carrickfergus,” and others.

LEVEL 4/5 – Upper Intermediate into Advanced - “Singing with the Dulcimer” with Sarah Morgan
Learn to tastefully and artistically back your singing and others. Learn how to choose appropriate chords and strumming patterns and create melodic fills that effectively support your singing. DAD tuning


MOUNTAIN DULCIMER 8:30 - 10:00 am

LEVEL 1 - New Players, cont. with Jim Miller  
Session 4 – simple fiddle tunes

LEVEL 2 – Advancing Beginners - “Strumming Traditional Fiddle and Folk Tunes” with Carol Crocker
This workshop will focus on reinforcing and expanding mountain dulcimer playing skills for those of who are just beyond beginner players. We will learn some well-known traditional fiddle and folk tunes beyond Boil Them Cabbage. As we learn these tunes, a few left-hand fingering and right-hand strumming techniques will be included to help with efficiency and playing smoothly.

LEVEL 3 – Lower Intermediate - “From Ireland; Filled with Hope” with Laurie Alsobrook
I am drawn to melodies that reflect my family’s migration from Ireland in the mid 1800s.  Two tunes that fit this genre are “East of River Shannon” and “River of Dreams,” both lyrical gems by Arlene Faith Kortwright,* which conjure images of weary travelers seeking a new home in America.  Also included is the beautiful Irish traditional, “Slane” otherwise known as “Be Thou my Vision.”

LEVEL 3/4 - Intermediate to Upper Intermediate - Morning Has Broken:Four part ensemble with Larry Conger
This old Gaelic tune was paired with the words "Morning Has Broken" by Eleanor Farjeon in 1931.  It was recorded by Cat Stevens in 1971, becoming a #1 hit on the Billboard charts that year.  There will be parts for standard, baritone and bass dulcimers.  The workshop will not require participants to own or bring all instruments.  Just bring your favorite dulcimer.  Typically, there is always a shortage of baritones, so please bring them if you have them and let’s have some fun!

LEVEL 3/4 – Intermediate to Upper Intermediate - “Strumming and Picking Mastery” with Sarah Morgan
This class will focus on developing a strong, consistent, and interesting strumming hand. We'll cover pick selection, clean flatpicking, volume control, developing speed, how to play syncopated rhythms with confidence, and how to add rhythmic drive and energy to your playing.

LEVEL 4/5 – Upper Intermediate into Advanced - “American Spirituals, Volume 1” with Joe Collins
A spiritual is defined as a religious song of a kind associated with black Christians of the southern US and thought to derive from the combination of European hymns and African musical elements by black slaves. This workshop will introduce you to some deeply emotional songs about trials and joys of life. Includes “Ain’t a Dat Good News,” “Deep River,” and others.

MOUNTAIN DULCIMER 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

LEVEL I - New Players, cont. with Jim Miller
Session 5 – hymns

LEVEL 2 – Advancing Beginners - “Easy Arrangements of Spirituals” with Carol Crocker
The history of spirituals is the result of a deep expression of emotions among enslaved African Americans. Many of these songs can be very rhythmic and syncopated. This workshop will include easy arrangements of a few favorite spirituals for advancing beginning players including “This Little Light of Mine” and “My Lord What a Mourning”.
LEVEL 3 – Lower Intermediate - “Just ‘Darling!’" with Laurie Alsobrook
What could be more endearing than a few songs about a loved one?  Tunes included are the traditional "Goodbye My Little Darling," and Stephen Foster's "Slumber My Darling," with tab designed to help smooth out your playing in 3/4 time.   An additional tune offered is the old Irish ballad, "Mo Ghile Mear" (“My Gallant Darling”).
LEVEL 3/4 - Intermediate to Upper Intermediate - “Red River Valley:” Four part ensemble with Larry Conger
"Red River Valley" is an American folk song and cowboy music standard of uncertain origins.  The song has gone by different names such as "Cowboy Love Song", "Bright Sherman Valley", "Bright Laurel Valley", "In the Bright Mohawk Valley", and "Bright Little Valley," depending on where it has been sung. This fun arrangement is intended for four standard dulcimers or three standards and a bass.  There will be a part for the advancing beginner through upper intermediate level players.  Each part is relatively easy to play, making use of lots of open strings.  The technique of additive orchestration will be discussed and implemented to make the arrangement sound more interesting.
LEVEL 3/4 – Intermediate to Upper Intermediate - Learn the tune “Road to Maysville” with Sarah Morgan
Learn this unique and moody, mid-tempo old-time tune from the playing of Eastern Kentucky fiddler, JP Fraley. I’ll share the basic arrangement plus a few regional variations that you can incorporate to create your own take on this tune. CGC tuning. Listen to a recording of this tune here - https://www.slippe -
LEVEL 4/5 – Upper Intermediate into Advanced - “Old-Time Tunes” with Joe Collins
A collection of fun old-time tunes with a few twists and turns like “Big Taters in Sandy Land” and others.


MOUNTAIN DULCIMER 2:30 - 4:00 pm

LEVEL 1 - New Players, cont. with Jim Miller  
Session 6  – Carter Family tunes in the public domain

LEVEL 2 – Advancing Beginners -Changing Keys with a Capo” with Carol Crocker
Using a capo with your mountain dulcimer can expand your ability to go beyond the key of D and play in different keys. We will explore playing a tune in E minor, G, and A by placing a capo at different frets, and learn to read tab written for capo tunes. Yes, you will need a capo.


LEVEL 3 – Lower Intermediate - “Holding Ukraine in Our Hearts” with Laurie Alsobrook
Several Ukrainian folk songs will be taught in this workshop – songs that teach us about the beauty and strength of these people who are suffering so much right now. Included in this workshop are the rousing “Oh, the Red Viburnum in the Meadow” (1-½ fret needed) and their national anthem, a very powerful hymn with strong lyrics for a nation who is proud of its people and its freedom.  We will end with a sweet lullaby. Please bring a capo.


LEVEL 3/4 – Intermediate to Upper Intermediate  - “Crooked Fiddle Tuneswith Sarah Morgan
If a tune is "crooked", that means it has an uneven number of beats or bars. That makes for an interesting listening experience as these tunes are an unexpected shift from the standard 32 bar fiddle tunes. We’ll learn a set of two crooked fiddle tunes from the mountains from Appalachia. These tunes are not often played in mountain dulcimer circles but are really catchy and fun to play. Be prepared to play in both DAD and other tunings (I’ll walk you through the re-tuning process) and have a capo handy. 

LEVEL 3/4 - Intermediate to Upper Intermediate  - Going Home: Four part ensemble with Larry Conger
From Dvorak's "New World Symphony" this arrangement includes four parts - two standard dulcimers, a baritone dulcimer and a bass dulcimer.  It is a relatively easy arrangement to learn as most of the arrangement involves single notes as opposed to two and three finger chords.  Bring your favorite dulcimer or multiple dulcimers to try out all the parts.  Experience the full, rich sound of multiple dulcimers being played together in an ensemble setting.

LEVEL 4-5 – Upper Intermediate into Advanced - “Hornpipes for the Mountain Dulcimer, Vol 2” with Joe Collins
A repertoire workshop of relatively fast-moving hornpipes that will make folks want to dance on the deck of a ship somewhere or, at the very least, tap their feet. The unique bouncy rhythms of hornpipes will really make your dulcimer shine! Songs include “Dorsetshire Hornpipe,” “An Comhra Donn,” and “Devil’s Dream.”



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