August 19, 2018

Performers and Instructors 2018

NOTE: Details for the 2019 Festival are not yet available. The following is for the 2018 Festival, and is provided to just give you an idea of what to expect in 2019. Check back later in the year for 2019 Festival  details.

The Colorado Dulcimer Festival includes a number of great performers and instructors who teach classes, perform, and help everybody enjoy the music!

Generally, we feature two out-of-state Mountain and Hammered Dulcimer Guest Artists—different ones every year (one specializing in Mountain Dulcimer and one specializing in Hammered Dulcimer), and our list of local Festival regulars (in alphabetical order) Tina Gugeler, Malacha Hall,  Judy Jones, to which we’ve added Ellen Baranowski, Dianne Jeffries, and Heidi McClure as of last year, and a new addition for 2018: Paul Weidig. We also welcome back “Honorary Coloradans” Steve Eulberg, the founder of the Colorado Dulcimer Festival, and the always delightful Erin Mae.


By the way, our local performers and instructors have included
National Champions who have won several titles,
including First Place winner,
at The National Dulcimer Championship,
Walnut Valley Festival, Winfield, Kansas.


For the 2018 Festival, we’re excited to present the following performers and instructors.


Guest Artist: Ted Yoder

(Teaching Hammered Dulcimer and Performing)

Critically acclaimed musician Ted Yoder is a visionary artist who has revolutionized  the hammered dulcimer through his pop symphonic approach to playing that has been nicknamed “Yoderizing” by his broad fanbase. He encountered the hammered dulcimer a decade before he ever actually played one. A competent multi-instrumentalist, he fell in love with the instrument but it wasn’t until after a tragic car accident and subsequent introspection about his life’s direction that, with the love and support of his family, he was transformed into the musical innovator he has become.

The Goshen, Indiana-based instrumentalist-composer-singer is a National Hammered Dulcimer champion who has released five critically acclaimed solo albums, and has become a master educator of the instrument. Ted has dazzled audiences nationally in diverse settings, including intimate gatherings, club venues, festivals, and comfy bar and grills with performances that cross genres and eras—including Irish traditionals, worship music favorites, pop and rock songs from Eagles and The Beatles. Ted enjoys unlocking the majesty and mystery of the hammered dulcimer, often taking audience questions, and sometimes even explaining his unique approach to music making.

Ted has been profiled in the Kearney Hub, Huffington Post, and on NPR’s All Things Considered show, among many other features, profiles, and reviews in regional and national tastemaking outlets. He’s currently enjoying a life of music: gigging, teaching, and issuing albums.


Guest Artists: Kim McKee and Ken Willson

Kim McKee

(Teaching Mountain Dulcimer, Hammered Dulcimer and Performing)

A Colorado native, Kim’s musical training was classical, but traditional folk music became her passion. Basically becoming obsessed with it in the late 70’s early 80’s when traditional music was not really available, she researched it by attending festivals, gathering unusual folk instruments, studying books, interviewing people from Ireland and Scotland, collecting stories and songs, and obtaining music from abroad. In addition to the hammered dulcimer, Kim also plays accordian, guitars, folk harp, mountain dulcimer, and bodhran, tells stories, and maybe a bit of ceili dance. And the results: Kim has won numerous awards, including the 2002 National Mountain Dulcimer Championship, and is a four-time songwriting award winner at the Milwaukee Irish Festival.

Since 1990, Kim has been part of “Willson & McKee,” appearing on multiple state Arts Rosters, juried showcases, and educational programming, and have performed in many states on stages ranging from Quonset huts to 1500 seat auditoriums. As artists in residence they’ve averaged 15,000 contacts per year, reaching students of all ages and ability levels.  They’ve also produced 12 professional recordings, and won awards in the U.S. and Ireland for songwriting and instrumental work. And amid all that, they say they’ve “just downright fun and passionate people!”

Kim is currently working with a small harp program in a public school in Southern Colorado, teaches lever harp at the Colorado Springs Senior Citizens Center, and provides private lessons on various instruments. She also has started a new endeavor called “Wynsom Forge Music.”  The name is descriptive, as “wynsom” (using her own unique spelling, of course), means “engaging, charming, appealing, endearing,” and “forge” is to create, form, fashion something with a concentrated effort. Kim also loves writing poetry, stories, songs and other miscellaneous word endeavors.

Ken Willson

Ken Willson (the other half of “Willson and McKee”) can be heard playing guitars, Irish Bouzouki, or bagpipes (on occasion), and maybe throwing in some storytelling, and some mean ceili swing.

Visit Willson and McKee’s Website

Our local teachers, in alphabetical order by last name:

Ellen Baranowski


(Teaching Children’s Mountain Dulcimer Workshop)

Ellen Baranowski  is a classically trained ( which means she has a lot to learn) musician who started singing folk as a child. Changing from Music Ed to Early Childhood lead her into a life of Folksongs for Children. Ellen heard her first dulcimer at  19 in Halls Crown Center in Kansas City and started dragging everyone she knew along to hear this wonderful sound from then on.

Ellen has taught her own 8 children ( who refused to be VonTrappish) music and taught in private and public school, piano, and Folk Music Classes all over the country.
She now sings for her grandchildren( who show much more promise than her children) and may showcase them as soon as they are potty trained.
She also sings for her son Noah and his friends who are differentlyabled.
She has her BA in Early Childhood Education her teaching certificate from ECE to 8th grade and is working on her Masters in Kodaly.

Steve Eulberg (Honorary Coloradoan)


(Teaching Hammered and Mountain Dulcimer and Performing)

“. . . a superb dulcimer player . . . and a first rate composer.”

—Neal Walters, Dulcimer Players News

Steve is a versatile full-time folk musician who specializes in fretted and hammered dulcimers. But his first instrument was his mother’s ukulele. At a youth retreat the weekend after Jim Croce’s plane went down, he became so fired up about the guitar that he grabbed the only thing in the house with strings. His mother wanted her ukulele back so for that Christmas, he got a guitar. As a college student, he heard his first dulcimers, but never thought he could afford his own. It wasn’t until graduate school when he realized that he wouldn’t have to live on peanut butter sandwiches the rest of his life, because the Hughes Dulcimer Company was just down the street. He bought a kit and built his first dulcimer. It’s been love ever since – through a career performing folk for kids to seniors, as a composer, and as an inner-city pastor, this award-winning touring musician brings joy to all who hear him.

Steve has a musical soul influenced by many, including Tchaikovsky, Jean Ritchie, and Stevie Wonder. He’s shared the stage with folk artists John McCutcheon, Bryan Bowers, Maggie Sansone, Emma’s Revolution, and Mundy Turner. Steve is a five-time National Winner in Mountain Dulcimer and a three-time National Finalist for Hammered Dulcimer, in addition to other honors.

Visit Steve’s Website

Tina Gugeler


(Teaching Hammered Dulcimer and performing)

2015 National Hammered Dulcimer Champion

Tina Gugeler first heard a hammered dulcimer in 1986 while living in Ketchikan, Alaska. It quickly became her passion and soon it seemed everyone on the island had heard Tina and her band, BearFoot. She played on the docks for cruise ship tourists, for weddings and dances, and at the Alaska Folk Festival in Juneau.

Since moving to the Denver area in Colorado in 1990, Tina has become a full time musician; performing solo and in small combos with fiddle, guitar or piano, and in several local contra dance bands. Along with her busy performance schedule, she teaches students on the dulcimer and bodhràn.

Over the years, Tina has won many local and regional competitions and in the year 2000 she won the U.S. National Hammered Dulcimer Championship.? She appears on recordings by Denver’s High Strung and the dance band Contrafusion.

Visit Tina’s website

Malacha Hall


(Teaching Mountain Dulcimer)

Malacha was given her first “not very good” dulcimer in the early 70’s.  Since she already played the guitar, she recognized the diatonic scale and was able to play it immediately. But she didn’t really take it seriously until she met Neal Hellman at a festival in Manitou Springs. She bought a better dulcimer and has been playing ever since.

Malacha now has 14 dulcimers and teaches in a club with almost 80 members. The club has groups in Westcliffe, Cañon City, Colorado Springs, and Castle Rock.

Visit the Serendipity Peak Dulcimer website

Dianne Jeffries


(Teaching Mountain Dulcimer)

Dianne Jeffries saw a dulcimer for the first time in 2003 at Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO.  Because she enjoys bagpipes, the drone sound of the mountain dulcimer immediately appealed to her and she returned home with one.  With very little musical background, she attempted to teach herself how to play it.  She is extremely grateful for her very patient husband who encouraged her during the time when she didn’t know her dulcimer needed frequent tuning.

Meeting & taking lessons from Steve Eulberg was a tremendous blessing. He helped her overcome bad habits, develop her musical skills, face the fear of playing the dulcimer publicly, and rise above mediocrity.

The dulcimer has become her favorite way to drive away the stress of her very busy schedule as an entrepreneur, church volunteer, belly dancer, homemaker, wife & grandmother. Musically, she coordinates a diverse dulcimer jam group which meets twice a month, gives mountain dulcimer lessons, demonstrations, and performs with the Loveland Heart Strings at various locations near Loveland, CO. She finds introducing others to the sweet sound of the dulcimer extemely rewarding.

Judy Jones


(Teaching Hammered Dulcimer)

Early piano lessons gave Judy Jones a love of music, followed by active participation in choral groups and school and community bands in her Ohio hometown. She began playing Hammered Dulcimer 11 years ago, first with Willie Jaeger at Swallow Hill and later with Bonnie Carol.

Judy plays in the Lots O’ Irish band and does solos for parties, retirement centers and art galleries. In 2011 she won the Colorado Dulcimer Festival Hammered Dulcimer contest, and has taught Beginning HD at the festival for the past six years.

Erin Mae


(Teaching Mountain Dulcimer and Performing)

Erin Mae got her first Mountain Dulcimer at the age of seven. Ten years later, in 2004, she won the prestigious National Mountain Dulcimer Championship—making her the youngest winner of the award at the time. Now, after playing for 20+ years, Erin has developed a unique and progressive style, with her signature percussive chop and flat-picking fiddle tunes. One guitar player quipped, “Erin can do more with three strings than I can do with six.”

Erin studied classical piano at Sterling College in Sterling, KS before pursuing a degree in Commercial Music, with an emphasis in bluegrass and acoustic jazz, at South Plains College in Levelland, TX. Graduating in 2010, she is the first Mountain Dulcimer player to complete the program.

As a cancer survivor, Erin firmly believes that her music and faith were paramount to her healing. Erin strives to let her music and story act as a beacon of light for those going through difficult times, and is currently writing a book documenting the effect this experience had on her music and worldview. You can hear that passion as Erin Mae culls from her instrument music, which lifts the spirit and heals the soul.

Erin tours full time as part of the duo Scenic Roots. Erin has also participated as an instructor at children’s music camps; as well as various festivals, and providing private lessons.

Visit Erin’s website

Heidi McClure


(Teaching Hammered Dulcimer)

Heidi McClure learned to play the hammered dulcimer as a result of going to Winfield (The Walnut Valley Festival) and seeing John McCutcheon play this strange percussion instrument that makes music. Heidi learned to play drums from her dad who taught her drum rudiments on the basement stairs. These drum skills transferred well to the hammered dulcimer and helped to make it her instrument of choice.  She was part of the Irish band, Ceol Ceili, for 9 years. She has been a supporter of the Colorado Dulcimer Festival for years and, in addition to helping with whatever needs doing during the festival, she is the MC of the Festival’s Friday and Saturday night concerts.


Paul Weidig


Paul has been plucking strings, singing songs, and spreading his love for making music since 1975. He holds a degree and teaching certification in art education, has been a professional musician and teacher at Woodsongs in Boulder since 1986, and has also taught group classes at Swallow Hill in Denver, where he was a founding member of the Swallow Hill Traveling Troupe. Paul has appeared at the Walnut Valley Folk & Bluegrass Festival (“Winfield”) with the band Safe Harbor, in addition to countless solo performances locally and on tour.

As a left-handed multi-instrumentalist originally self-taught, overcoming the challenges of learning in a “right-handed world” has given him a unique perspective on what it takes to learn an instrument. “There are many paths that lead to the same place,” he says. Many of Paul’s students have gone on to be professional musicians. Paul teaches banjo, guitar, mandolin, ukulele, bouzouki, harmonica, and hammered and mountain dulcimer.