September 23, 2019

Performers and Instructors 2019

The Colorado Dulcimer Festival includes 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.  In addition we welcome our list of local Festival regulars (in alphabetical order) Tina Gugeler, Malacha Hall,  Judy Jones, to which we’ve added Ellen Baranowski, and Dianne Jeffries. 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 2019 Festival, we’re excited to present the following performers and instructors.  The Festival team would also like to thank Donna and John Hammer for hosting some of out out-of-state artists.

Guest Artist: Brenda Hunter

(Teaching Hammered Dulcimer and Performing)

Multi-instrumentalist, Brenda Hunter, is classically trained but feels she found her niche when she discovered the hammered dulcimer in 1992 and, consequently, the world of traditional music. Since winning the National Hammered Dulcimer Competition in 1996, she has been a featured performer/instructor at numerous festivals across the country. Bakersfield is her home base where she performs regularly throughout the area, as a soloist on both dulcimer and Celtic harp, in a duo with her husband, Dave Ogden—a recording engineer and fellow multi- instrumentalist, and with her world/Celtic band, Banshee in the Kitchen. Brenda retired from her high school music teaching job in June of 2018 and is looking forward to having more time to devote to her musical pursuits!

Visit Brenda’s website

Guest Artist: Dave Ogden

Dave Ogden is a professional musician with a deep love of traditional music and the instruments it’s played on. He has played acoustic guitar and bodhran with The Sunday Drivers at Dargans Irish Pub in Ventura CA for over 10 years, a band that includes Ashley Broder on mandolin and Allison and Nicolas Buckmelter on fiddle and Irish flute. He also plays clawhammer banjo, bass, cittern, Irish flute, pennywhistle and a bit of hurdy gurdy. He runs Clear Creek Recording, an artist-focused residential recording studio located on his ranch near Tehachapi. He and his wife Brenda Hunter have a new album of harp and flute music, “Walking in the Air” that was released in 2018. He also has a solo guitar album, “And Why Not,” and appears on “Eire Mail” by the Sunday Drivers and the eponymous Blarney Rubble album with Brenda Hunter.

Visit Dave’s website

Guest Artist: Duane Porterfield

(Teaching Mountain Dulcimer and Performing)

Duane Porterfield is an award winning multi-instrumentalist or as often referred to, “That dulcimer player that always wears those overalls.” As a fifth grader, he got his first “real” guitar and, playing along with cassette tapes of The Eagles, John Denver and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, among others, he discovered a love for the sound of acoustic stringed instruments. Eventually he formed a string band, Hardtack, with his older brother Dennis and Les Crider. In 1997 he bought his first Mountain Dulcimer. He has won several awards, including being the 2014 National Mountain Dulcimer Competition Champion.

Born in Kansas City, MO, Duane was raised in Kansas City, KS where he served as a police officer for 32-years. He and wife, Cindi, lived on a farm there with their five children but in 2013 the couple retired to a cottage in the wooded hills just outside of Mountain View, AR, the “Folk Music Capital.” They volunteer at various regional festivals and at The Ozark Folk Center State Park. Duane is a regular performer and emcee at the Folk Center’s live shows, and assists with sales, promotions and the creation of McSpadden Dulcimers in Mountain View.

Russell Cook

(Teaching Hammered Dulcimer and Performing)

Russell Cook is a Hammered Dulcimer builder and player from Oklahoma. He built his first dulcimer in 1979, and went on to build Hammered Dulcimers originally under the name Wood ‘N’ Strings, and then merging with Mark and Steve Tindle to form Master Works located in Bennington, Oklahoma. He won First Place in the 1981 Walnut Valley National Hammered Dulcimer Championship held in Winfield, Kansas, and has several CDs available, including “Morning Has Broken.”


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