2023 SCDH Month of Music Bios

Meet More of Our Artists!


Patti Amelotte

Hammered Dulcimer

Patti Amelotte became interested in the Hammered Dulcimer and Traditional Irish music after attaining a Bachelors degree in piano performance from Chapman University. She won the California State Hammered Dulcimer Championship and has performed throughout SoCal as a soloist and in the bands Better than One with Barbara Gershman and Looney’s Fortune with Matt Tonge and Georgiana Hennessy. Her newest adventure is teaming up with Brenda Hunter in the duo, Flutter-By Music. They perform wonderful musical arrangements on 2 hammered dulcimers, harp, fiddle and accordion. Patti and Brenda will present a 1 hour concert as well as coordinated workshops as part of SCDH October activities.

Patti has performed on many television/movie soundtracks and with the San Diego Symphony in the “Lord of the Rings Suite”. Patti's recordings include "Granuaile," Better Than One - “Les Cloches d’Hiver,” Looney’s Fortune “West Coast Irish” and "Bird in the Bush." Patti teaches private and group lessons in Southern California and at other festivals. As Kingsley Sessions, she hosts concerts and classes in her studio and on Zoom. Patti also does minor repairs on/and restringing of hammered dulcimers and sells Dusty Strings hammered dulcimers through her business - Patti Amelotte Music: Instruments and Services

Karen Ashbrook

Artist, Teacher, Performer, Therapeutic Musicianuntain Dulcimer

For more than 40 years, Karen has been an international pioneer and advocate in the revival of the hammered dulcimer. Along the way she added Irish wooden flute and pennywhistle.
Her career has spanned performances and teaching throughout Europe and Asia. She performs frequently with her husband Paul Oorts, a multi-instrumentalist from Belgium. Her strong commitment to using her music as a healing art led her to become a therapeutic musician, founding Music for the Spirit – healing dulcimer music.
Karen is a board member of the Cimbalom World Association, which promotes all forms of the dulcimer internationally.
Karen was hammered dulcimer headliner at our SCDH 2018 Festival in Costa Mesa.
One of her latest projects is ‘Dulcimer with Heart’, a hammered dulcimer subscription gathering for virtual lessons, jams, hangouts and more! Karen has so much to share – for all levels of players. The monthly online jams with Karen and Paul are fun and well organized.

KA/PO–Karen Ashbrook & Paul Oorts - Music from the Cultural Crossroads of Europe
Karen & Paul joined forces in 1996, musically and soon thereafter matrimonially, creating “wonderfully energetic and exquisitely arranged collaborations” (Washington Post). They perform and teach at festivals around the USA as a duo and individually. Their most recent recording, KA/PO in Concert from a 2013 live performance, showcases their dynamic ensemble music.
Their first recording together, Celtic Café on the Maggie’s Music label “explores pan-European music with uncommon enthusiasm, grace and imagination” (De Morgen, Belgium).
The Flemish folk journal Goe Vollek! mused that “Denizens of the old country, should be very grateful to Ashbrook and Oorts for the way in which they introduce our traditional music to the Americans…we cherish this brilliant CD.”

Facebook Page: facebook.com/KAPO.AshbrookOorts

or call 301-655-010

Barbara Gershman

Hammered Dulcimer


Barbara Gershman first heard the Hammered Dulcimer on a recording in a Yosemite gift shop and found a teacher, Patti Amelotte. Learning to play the dulcimer provided balance to community college teaching and led to many friendships and musical opportunities. She founded ‘On A Lark’ Celtic trio with Jill Cassidy and Terry Gucwa, succeeding the trio, ‘Dulcimania’. She also plays accordion, especially with Fountain Valley Singers & Strummers. She and Patti Amelotte perform as a duo ‘Better Than One’ for Chapman University's annual Wassail. She also plays with the ensemble ‘Legacy,’ the ‘Sans Frontieres International Folk Dance Band’ including keyboard, performs solo, ‘shepherds’ various dulcimer groups in SoCal and teaches beginning hammered dulcimer. Much of this has continued during the pandemic via Zoom and recorded videos. Barbara believes that the hammered dulcimer is ‘Music for the Soul’ and that SCDH helps keep traditional music alive. She is SCDH CO-PRESIDENT with Bobbie Adler, Festival Director & E-newsletter/calendar editor.

Terry Gucwa


Terry Gucwa is known for bringing a touch of class to any musical venture as he fuses his Cello with just about any type of music. He is a mult-instrumentalist, playing cello, fretted dulcimer, guitar, trombone, recorder and accordion. Terry has gained quite a reputation as an expert arranger as part of his contribution to many ensembles such as: When Pigs Fly!, Madison Avenue Folk and currently, On a Lark Celtic Trio with Barbara Gershman and Jill Cassidy. His International Folk Dance Band, Sans Frontières (Without Borders), performs Terry’s unique arrangements at local, regional and statewide dances and festivals. During the pandemic he produced many innovative stay-at-home composite music videos, sending arrangements and guide recordings to the 8 SF band members to video themselves. Terry then did his wizardry at editing and included dancers! He is also the author of “Easy and Eas-ified Jam Tunes and Songs.” He has been a long-time supporter of The Living Tradition (TLT) and SCDH. He publishes the SCDH Dulcimer Events Monthly E-newsletter / Calendar.

Karen Harvey

Hammered Dulcimer

Karen Harvey lives in Laguna Niguel with her husband, Mark, and her kitty, Latte. She was a nurse for 44 years and always loved caring for people. When retired, she wanted to continue helping people in a different way by combining caring with her favorite hobbies, like music. While working Karen performed with her hammered dulcimer in California, Idaho, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C with different bands. She has taught in a number of SCDH festivals, and is happy to be teaching again for this year’s SCDH festival. She has composed a number of tunes and hopes to compose more. During the pandemic Karen played music on Zoom for friends that lived alone, were sick, and one friend that lost her husband. She strongly believes that music can help people in many ways. For her it is a joy! She volunteered to play for the senior lunches at her local Community Center before the pandemic and is now playing for them again.

Brenda Hunter

Hammered Dulcimer

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. Keene, CA is her home base where she plays regularly throughout the area as a soloist on both dulcimer and Celtic harp. Brenda also performs in a duo with her husband, fellow multi-instrumentalist Dave Ogden, in a duo, Flutter-by Music, with fellow dulcimer player Patti Amelotte, and with her world/Celtic band, Banshee in the Kitchen. Brenda retired from her high school music teaching job in 2018 and is enjoying having more time to devote to her musical pursuits!

Patty McCollom

Bodhran & Tin Whistle


Patty McCollom has played bodhran (Irish frame drum) and tinwhistle professionally, for over 30 years. She is a multi-instrumentalist, playing tinwhistle, banjo, fiddle, and bodhran, and sings with several bands. She has toured internationally with various groups and performed at festivals throughout the United States. Patty is a jam organizer and an enthusiastic leader in the traditional music community. Contact Patty at: www.musicbypatty.com  or pattymccollom96@gmail.com