This year’s Colorado Dulcimer Festival, February 3-4 in Littleton, features nationally acclaimed dulcimer performers Susan Trump (mountain dulcimer) and Jody Marshall (hammered dulcimer) as well as five who have taken prizes multiple times in national dulcimer championships: Karen Alley, Bonnie Carol, Steve Eulberg, Tina Gugeler and Erin Mae. “This festival draws the best dulcimer musicians from around the country, and the variety of music at the concerts is just wonderful” says Linda Colville, a long-time attendee and member of the festival planning team.
Everyone is welcome at the 7:00 pm Friday and Saturday concerts at St. James Presbyterian Church, 3601 West Belleview Avenue. Each concert is entirely different, featuring half of the performers each night. Concertgoers can expect to hear a variety of instruments and ensembles playing traditional music, with a few surprises. Tina Gugeler, who has performed in these concerts for many years, says “When artists of this caliber get together, all kinds of creativity results.” Tickets are $15 at the door ($10 for children and students).
During the day, those same musicians teach workshops to festival participants from Colorado and 8-10 other states. Workshops are offered for all levels from very beginner to advanced players, and rental instruments are available. The festival also promotes other dulcimer-playing experiences, including jams, a band scramble, a dulcimer orchestra, and a dance (and dance band). “We want to nurture a healthy dulcimer community in Colorado and give everyone opportunities to explore new ways to enjoy making music on these lovely instruments” says Bonnie Carol, a long-time supporter of the festival and one of the national champion teacher/performers.
To further the goal of growing and maintaining the dulcimer musician community, this year the festival is offering a children’s mountain dulcimer program on Saturday February 4 from 1:30 – 4:20 pm. The workshop is geared toward children ages 8-12 and mountain dulcimers are provided for participants.
Participants can register in advance for individual workshops or the entire festival at www.coloradodulcimerfestival.com. There is a discount for advance on-line registration by January 22, and registration can also be paid at the door on the day of the festival. Full details are at the website.
The Colorado Dulcimer Festival began in Ft. Collins 14 years ago, the brainchild of Steve Eulberg. He got it going, originated the dulcimer orchestra, and established its supportive, fun-loving mood. Since the festival moved to Littleton 3 years ago and Steve moved away, a team of volunteers has managed it, and Swallow Hill has been a key sponsor for the last 2 years. “I couldn’t be happier with how the festival has developed, and I’m honored to be invited back to teach and perform,” says founder Eulberg.