Elaine will be teaching the intermediate level and up at Winter Weekend.
Elaine Conger is a professional music educator and Orff-Schulwerk specialist who has a passion for instilling a love for the arts in young people. Her years as a professional musician, combined with her experience as a classroom teacher give her a unique perspective when working with students. She holds degrees from Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville and Tennessee State University in Nashville.
Her past musical experience includes touring with her own country band, performing on the General Jackson Showboat at Opryland in Nashville and touring as pianist and back-up vocalist with country music superstar, Faith Hill.
More recently, she has directed and accompanied numerous musical theater productions and even starred in a few herself. Her favorite role to date is as Patsy in "Always Patsy Cline." Elaine has also served as organist/music director for several churches throughout Tennessee.
Elaine and Larry are well known for their meticulously crafted dulcimer duets, featuring Larry on standard dulcimer and Elaine on bass dulcimer. During the COVID-19 quarantine, they have focused their efforts on virtual learning, offering classes online that are designed to teach the various arrangements they create.
Larry will be teaching the intermediate level and up at Winter Weekend.
Larry Conger is a graduate of the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) and has been involved with music as a vocation for almost 40 years. Besides being a popular instructor at various dulcimer workshops around the country, Larry also served as a church music director for several churches during the late 1970s through the 1990s. He has been a participating artist for the Tennessee Arts Commission's Arts in Education Program as well as the Kentucky Arts Council's Teacher Incentive Program, bringing dulcimer music and its unique history into the public schools.
He and his wife Elaine are co-directors of Dulcimer U at Western Carolina University. They also host their own Duet Dulcimer Retreat, Mountain Dulcimer Hymnposium, and the September On The Mississippi Dulcimer Retreat each year.
In 1995, Larry won the Southern Regional Mountain Dulcimer Championship in Mountain View, Arkansas. Three years later in 1998, he won the prestigious National Mountain Dulcimer Championship in Winfield, Kansas. Larry has authored sixteen music books and has numerous recordings to his credit.
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.
Joe Collins has been a folk musician and mountain dulcimer player since the late 70s.
A songwriter and vocalist, he performs with a lot of humor and some excellent mountain
dulcimer playing - sure to bring a smile to audiences of all ages. He has won numerous
competitions, including the 2007 National Mountain Dulcimer Championship in Winfield,
Kansas. In addition to performing, Joe is also well known for his laid back teaching
style, and he puts his doctorate in Adult Education to good use in dulcimer festivals
all over the country.
Joe graduated from East Carolina University with Bachelor and Masters degrees in English, from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity with Religious Education, and from NC State University with a Doctorate in Adult Education. He has worked in Religious Education for most of his professional career and is professor emeritus of religion at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, NC. Now that he is retired, he has more time for dulcimer, writing music, and traveling to work with clubs and in festivals.
Jim Miller has been playing and performing traditional music for more than 35 years.
An accomplished instrument builder and teacher, he has taught workshops at numerous
festivals as well as won many awards for his musicianship.
For twenty years, Jim was the owner of the Hampton Music Shop, in Hampton, Tennessee, where he handcrafted over 750 hammered dulcimers. He has played with Celtic, Bluegrass, Swing, Blues and Old Time bands, and has done session work on many recordings.
In addition to being an accomplished performer and workshop leader, Jim also is an enthusiastic jam facilitator (Jam-Meister, Master of the Jam, etc.) who likes to get everyone involved. He plays guitar, banjo, octave mandolin, bass, steel drum, percussion, autoharp, hammered and mountain dulcimers as well as his own off-the-wall musical inventions, which are always entertaining.
Jim holds a Master's degree in Elementary Education and has completed the course work for certification in music education. He is a retired 4th grade teacher at Cloudland Elementary School in Roan Mountain, Tennessee, where he led an after school traditional string band program. He also teaches dulcimer and autoharp in the Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music program at East Tennessee State University.
Carol Crocker’s first introduction to mountain dulcimer was at a school Heritage Day
program. For over 20 years Carol has enjoyed sharing her love of the dulcimer with
children, adults, schools, churches and senior homes. She has been an instructor at
various dulcimer festivals and events including Dulcimer U, Winston-Salem Dulcimer
festival, the Stephen Foster Dulcimer Retreat, North Georgia Foothills Dulcimer Festival,
QuaranTUNE, Mt. Dora, and various other events. She is also a regular song leader
on the Saturday Send In the Music Virtual Jam, and has a Send In the Music songbook
“Tunes From Zoom”. Other books include “Songs of the Spirit”, African American spirituals
arranged for the mountain dulcimer with a CD and digital download of “Songs of the
Spirit”; “Beginner’s Guide to Mountain Dulcimer”, and “Dulcimer in The Schools”. Her
website is www.Carolcrockermusic.com
Carol holds a BS degree in Music Education from Western Carolina University and a MM degree in Music Education from UNC-Greensboro. She is a retired music teacher from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband Joe.
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 of the Stephen Foster Digital and In-Person Dulcimer Retreats. Known as an enthusiastic and engaging teacher, one student at a recent QDF wrote, “I was fully engaged for the full hour – you kept my gears working on multiple levels.”
Laurie has been a regular contributor to the Send in the Music Virtual Jam, offering tab to the participants and serving as a song leader. She also hosts a weekly more informal zoom jam.