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Mark Gilston

Growing up in a folk revival household in New York City in the 1950’s, it was natural for Mark Gilston to gravitate to traditional music. He learned to play guitar at age 5 from his sister, and started piano lessons later that year. His parents acquired a dulcimer from Homer Ledford in the 1940’s. In his youth, Mark gained a love of traditional American ballads and Old-Time songs and instrumentals from recordings and from his father, who often sang the old ballads which he had learned in his youth in Appalachia. From his early years in college, Mark was often playing these tunes and accompanying himself on the mountain dulcimer.

He bought his own dulcimer in college and began performing in public in 1971 singing and playing dulcimer, guitar and Bulgarian bagpipes. Two years later he added English concertina to his instrument repertoire. After earning a Bachelor's degree in Folklore, Mark went to graduate school at SUNY Binghamton and ended up settling there until 1994. Sometime in the early '90's he discovered Swedish spelman music and fell in love with the traditional fiddle music of Sweden. Rather than trying to learn yet another instrument, he began playing this music on concertina which he found was capable of playing the intricate harmonies of multiple fiddle parts. In 2004, Mark began adapting many of these lovely tunes to mountain dulcimer as well.

Mark has given concerts and workshops for numerous colleges, folk music organizations, clubs and festivals throughout the United States as well as England and Canada.

Mark has published fourteen CD’s and eight books of dulcimer tablature which can be purchased at his website: MarkGilston.com

Erin Mae Lewis

Dana Gruber

Carol Walker

Presenters

Erin Mae is a mountain dulcimer virtuosa who has taken an obscure American folk instrument, and with it has developed a high level of technical proficiency and musical expression. Erin has been playing for over twenty years and in that time has developed a unique and progressive style with her signature percussive chop and fiddle-tune flat-picking.
Erin Mae received her first mountain dulcimer at the age of seven; won the National Mountain Dulcimer Championship in 2004, at age 17; and went on to study classical piano at Sterling College in Sterling, KS before pursuing a degree in Commercial Music, with an emphasis in bluegrass and acoustic jazz, through South Plains College in Levelland, TX. She graduated in 2010, becoming the first mountain dulcimer player to complete the program; and began touring full-time as part of the duo Scenic Roots. Erin has since been an instructor at various festivals, the director of children’s music camps, and a private mountain dulcimer teacher.

Erin Mae is a ten-year cancer survivor -- played her mountain dulcimer through every chemotherapy treatment. She strives to let her music and story act as a beacon of light for those going through difficult times. You can hear that passion as Erin Mae culls from her instrument music which lifts the spirit and heals the soul.

Carol Walker’s formal training includes a degree in Music Education, with majors in piano, harp, and voice. She was an active high school choral director in northern NJ for 32 years, and in 2003 was a recipient of the NJ Governor’s Teacher of the Year Award.

In 2008 she retired and moved on to her next adventure: Getting better acquainted with her Appalachian dulcimer! She began teaching dulcimer workshops, and soon became a popular workshop leader at festivals across the United States.

Carol’s six books of arrangements for mountain dulcimer are in wide use throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Her first two books (Tailless Tunes and Tailless Tunes 2) contain dozens of traditional Manx melodies. Her arrangements of these unfamiliar Celtic-flavored tunes from the Isle of Man have been enthusiastically welcomed on this side of the Atlantic.

Next, she published a trilogy of instructional books (DNA* Dulcimer Ditties), designed to guide players from their very first simple tunes all the way up to advanced show-stoppers. Her long-awaited book of classical arrangements appeared in 2017: Classical Dulcimer for Wascally Wabbits, in which dulcimer players discover that they are already familiar with the best classical melodies, thanks to Bugs Bunny cartoons! Visit Carol's website at www.MusicLadyCarol.com.

 


Dana Gruber is a mountain dulcimer performer and instructor from the Greater Cincinnati area who has been playing the dulcimer since 1997. Her music is a blend of both modern and traditional music, along with some original compositions. Her unique arrangements explore the contemporary side of the mountain dulcimer and add a new dimension to traditional tunes.

She and her husband Hank make up the dulcimer and guitar duo Sweet Funk and have been the featured teacher/performers at a number of music festivals throughout the Midwest and South. They have three recordings: Deja New - unique arrangements of traditional tunes; Sweet - a collection of contemporary favorites; and Christmas Time - holiday favorites. Dana is also the author of a number of mountain dulcimer tablature books geared to all level of playing styles. For more information check out their website at www.sweetfunkmusic.com.