The Colorado Dulcimer Festival brings you great musicians and teachers, including some who return to us every year (like festival founder Steve Eulberg) and others who come from around the country. Our artist roster includes national champions and people who have performed internationally. They play a wide, wide variety of styles of music and teach in a variety of ways. Our goal is to provide a great festival experience for every workshop and concert attendee.
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 2023 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.
Teaching Hammered Dulcimer and Performing
Karen Alley, the 2014 National Hammered Dulcimer champion, is a hammered dulcimer teacher and performer currently based in Winnipeg, Canada. Her repertoire ranges from Celtic to classical to hymns to show tunes, and her style combines percussive techniques with the rich harmonies and broad dynamics that make the dulcimer one of the most expressive instruments used in the folk community.
Karen was playing fiddle at a folk festival in Pennsylvania in 2004, when she realized she could make much nicer sounds on the dulcimer than she could on the fiddle. To her family’s relief, she put down the fiddle and began dragging dulcimers with her to festivals and concerts all over the country. Her main passion is teaching, but there’s little that compares to the exhilaration of playing with and learning from other musicians backstage and in concert. She has released two albums showcasing a variety of styles, as well as three books: “Beyond Melodies, Using Chords to Add Harmony,” which demystifies music theory and playing harmonies with melody lines, “Christmas with your Dulcimer,” a book of arrangements of favorite Christmas carols for beginner and intermediate players, and “Difficult Ditties and Hammer-Hampering Harmonies,” a book of exercises to increase efficiency while practicing.
When she’s not playing the dulcimer, Karen is a glaciologist specializing in the ice shelves of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. She also teaches in the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, where she lives with her husband, Alex, and two wonderful cats, Maximus and Lily.
Teaching Mountain Dulcimer, Guitar and Performing
Sam Edelston plays rock, pop, blues, country, traditional folk, and a lot more on acoustic and electric mountain dulcimer (and on guitar and banjo). He believes that dulcimers belong in mainstream popular music, and are a much more logical entry instrument than guitars. Sam draws his musical inspiration from rock bands, symphony orchestras, modern a cappella, and anything else he hears. His online videos have over 1,000,000 views. Based in Connecticut, he has performed or taught at dulcimer festivals, folk festivals, and other events in the Northeast, and at festivals as far-flung as Colorado, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, and North Carolina, plus more than fifteen online festivals.
One workshop student commented, “As zany as Sam is, he is patient, knowledgeable, caring teacher also experienced, smart, creative etc.” And as a preschooler once told her mother, “Rosie’s daddy came in and sang to us today. He was so much fun. Can he be my daddy, too?” Sam also teaches online mountain dulcimer courses and is chair of the Nutmeg Dulcimer Festival in Connecticut.
Teaching Mountain Dulcimer
I started playing mountain dulcimer at age 50, after purchasing a dulcimer at a pawn
shop on my birthday. I taught myself how to play by watching podcasts and buying
dulcimer books at music stores. I was hooked after attending my first Colorado
Dulcimer Festival in 2012. I felt like something was missing after attending local jam
sessions, so I took and interest in playing the bass. I began taking lessons from my
friend KC Grovesin Lyons, CO.
In 2020 we were struck with the pandemic, no more jam sessions, no more festivals.
It was not a whole lot of fun playing bass by myself. Fortunately my friend KC had
a space in her workshop where she could teach and still maintain proper distancing.
I took up playing the guitar and singing. More fun than playing the bass by yourself.
Recently I have been studying mandolin.
Currently I play multiple instruments including dulcimer, old time banjo, guitar,
ukulele, bass and mandolin. I play with the Four Star Band, at the Senior Resource
Center Wednesday mornings in Wellington, Colorado. I play mandolin and sing at
Gods Country Cowboy Church Saturday evenings in Loveland, Colorado. I help my
friend Erin Mae with the Youth Dulcimer Club zoom sessions. I also continue to attend
as many jam sessions as I can get away with throughout the Front Range area.
Teaching Mountain Dulcimer and Performing
“Celebrating 40 Dulcimer-Filled Years, Steve Eulberg continues to produce the
“Smileinducing, toe-tapping, thought-provoking folkgrass” which is how reviewers
describe this award-winning instrumentalist and songwriter’s music. He weaves
together age-old songs and tunes with new melodies and contemporary lyrics
accompanied by dulcimers and more. His 2019 recording, Between the Tracks,
has him returning to his guitar “roots with a collection of original fingerstyle
“I live for the aha! experiences that people have and am dedicated to helping people
enjoy their musical explorations on their instruments and share them with others,”
Eulberg says. Students respond enthusiastically to his engaging style and warm sense of
humor, making him in demand at festivals across the USA.
Award-winner in the national mountain dulcimer contest at Winfield, he is also a
multiple finalist in the national hammered dulcimer contest. His music has been
included in the Masters of the Mountain Dulcimer Compilations, Great Players of the
Mountain Dulcimer, and has been featured on PBS’ RoadTrip Nation, United Airlines
Inflight Audio and NPR. He tours as a solo performer, and with the duos Fiddle
Whamdiddle (with Vi Wickam) and Steve & Erin Mae (with Erin Mae Lewis).
Active in the PNW Chapter of NARAS (Grammys), Locals 423 & 1000 AFM
(Traveling Musicians), Eulberg owns Owl Mountain Music, Inc., was the first guitar
instructor on JamPlay.com is co-owner and teacher at dulcimercrossing.com.
Teaching Hammered Dulcimer, Bodhran and Performing
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 years 2000 and 2015 she won the U.S. National Hammered Dulcimer Championship. She appears on recordings with John and Sue Reading as the Grandview Victorian Orchestra. John, Sue and Tina also play local contra dances under the name Balance and Swing.
Teaching Mountain Dulcimer and performing
Bing has enjoyed a career as both folkie and rocker, first with post-punk act Crazed Bunnyz in 1986 and later in 1999 as co-founder of Americana rock band, Mohave. In 2006, Bing began performing solo and, since then, he has recorded a number of albums and published several music-education books including the best-selling Blues Method For Mountain Dulcimer 101. At the 2016 International Blues Challenge, held in Memphis, Tennessee, Bing advanced all the way to the finals and was awarded “Best Solo/Duo Guitar”, despite competing solely on the mountain dulcimer.
Bing’s music has been featured in film, video, theatrical productions, and in exhibits at the Orlando Museum of Art. He was the composer and musical director for “The Jungle Book: A Musical Adaptation” at Stage Left Theater in Orlando, and he also contributed music to the soundtrack of The Castle of Miracles attraction at Give Kids The World Village in Kissimmee, Florida.
Bing is an endorsing artist for Folkcraft Instruments and has written a number of books for them, including the best-selling Method For Beginning Mountain Dulcimer. He’s also worked with V-Picks to develop a pick specifically for mountain dulcimers. This collaboration resulted in both the “Bing” Lite and “Bing” Ultra-Lite models.
Bing keeps a busy schedule of performances, workshops, and production that includes shooting episodes of Dulcimerica, now in its 16th year on YouTube. He lives in Orlando, Florida with his wife, Jae, and a menagerie of rescued critters.
Teaching Mountain Dulcimer and Performing
Erin Mae is a freelance folk musician and mountain dulcimer teacher from Kansas who has carved her own path every step of the way. She won the 2004 National Mountain Dulcimer Championship at the age of 17, and has a degree from South Plains College in Commercial Music, where she was the first student to study mountain dulcimer. She continues today to be a leader of innovation and education in her musical community. Erin Mae’s passion is to empower and equip others to find their own creative expression in the world.
Teaching Hammered Dulcimer and Performing
Joshua Messick is a National Hammered Dulcimer Champion, composer, producer, audio engineer, and performer. He has released nine studio albums and is a featured performer on God of War Ragnarök by Bear McCreary and Mary and the Witch’s Flower by Studio Ponoc, the successor of Studio Ghibli.
Joshua is a genre-blurring artist with a knack for evoking emotion. He innovates with his hammered dulcimer, creating immersive soundscapes that transport the listener and connect audiences. His versatility extends to his recording studio, where he records and engineers his work. Joshua has played thousands of concerts throughout the United States, Japan, India, and Thailand.
Teaching Hammered Dulcimer and performing
Kendra Tunnicliff gravitated towards the hammered dulcimer the first time she heard one. Though she had several years of piano experience, the freedom of the dulcimer appealed. She started dulcimer lessons at age seven, and loves to arrange and improvise her own music. Along with original songs, Irish tunes, classical pieces, pop songs, and hymns commonly find their way into her repertoire.
Kendra has graduated with an associates degree in music from Laramie County Community College, where she studied theory, percussion, and voice and occasionally played dulcimer with the string orchestra.
Kendra is now a music teacher in the Cheyenne area, teaching piano, voice, and hammered dulcimer, as well as music appreciation classes for toddlers. She finished an album, Hiraeth, with her sisters in 2020. She also works for the tutoring center at her local community college.
She enjoys playing music with her family, recording songs with her fiancé and his family, and leading hymns in church. It is her great joy to praise the Lord with music.
When not “music-ing,” Kendra enjoys cooking and reading, or just spending time with her family.
Kendra first attended the Colorado Dulcimer Festival in 2010, and since has greatly enjoyed many CDF festivals. She is thankful to return as a teacher—and still plans to learn a lot!
Teaching Hammered Dulcimer and Performing
Randy Zombola lives in Colorado Springs and has played the hammered dulcimer for 40 years. His music has its roots firmly planted in both Celtic and American traditional music. He played in the Celtic Band Blarney Pilgrim for about 16 years and currently is a member of the Swallowtail Celtic band. In addition, he also plays, old time, classical, ragtime, and tunes of his own composition. Like many contemporary dulcimer players, he has made an effort to expand dulcimer repertory by arranging tunes that are not normally considered to be standard fare for the dulcimer. The winner of the 1988 National Hammered Dulcimer Championship at Winfield, Kansas, Randy has recorded three albums of diverse dulcimer music.