2023 Month of Music
Mountain Dulcimer Day

Saturday October 21st, 2023

9am-12Noon / 12-1:30pm lunch / 1:30-4:30pm Pacific Time

ZOOM – Same Zoom link all day

$30 for entire day

Zoom info will be emailed several days before the event and after completing registration and payment

Each artist was given the choice of playing songs, teaching a workshop or some combination. Below is the order and biographies of our 8 Mountain Dulcimer artists and a description of what each has chosen for their 30 or 60 minute presentation.

SATURDAY OCT 21st , 2023

9:00AM Grant Olson1 hour
10AM Pam Setser 1 hour
11AM Aubrey Atwater 1 hour

12-1:30PM LUNCH

1:30PM Nina Zanetti 1 hour
2:30PM Leo Kretzner ½ hour & Bill Dempsey ½ hour
3:30PM Kevin Roth ½ hour & Joellen Lapidus ½ hour

Bill Dempsey

Bill Dempsey: “I started playing trombone when I was 9 years old. I did my first professional gig when I was in Jr. High. I started teaching in 1973. I built my first dulcimer in 1976. My main influences are Jean Ritchie and Richard Farina. I play 4 equidistant string dulcimer. I'm a singer/multi-instrumentalist. The dulcimer has helped me maintain and find peace and serenity while teaching beginning band, violin & recorder to 3rd, 4th, & 5th graders.” Bill is now retired from a long career as a full-time public school music teacher. Bill continues an active performing and private teaching schedule. He teaches online and from his home in San Juan Capistrano, CA. An avid surfer, he has a deep and abiding love of the sea and sea music of all kinds.

CLASS 30 Minutes:

Singing & Playing with Dulcimer. Intros, endings, solos, and most importantly, phrasing. When to stop. When to slow down. Options for vocal accompaniment.
Bill will teach and demonstrate!

Leo Kretzner

Leo Kretzner – Tradition Meets Innovation
Leo and the mountain dulcimer met in 1975, and neither has been the same ever since. He has been a major innovator of the instrument, spanning from Celtic jigs and reels to blues and rock, and from Appalachian to contemporary, with guitar and vocals added to the mix.
Leo has performed and taught for over forty years at folk festivals and coffee houses all over the country. His newest album is Mixed Colors/Art of the 4-String Dulcimer, 2022. His other albums are Dulcimer Fair (’77), Pigtown Fling (’79,  Bold Orion (’84), and Not-So-Still-Life (’90).

CLASS 30 Minutes:
Basic String-Bending. We’ll apply bluesy string bends to the old-time songs 'Old Man At the Mill' and 'Cluck Old Hen.' (D-A-D)

Joellen Lapidus

Joellen Lapidus is one of the pioneers of contemporary mountain dulcimer playing, songwriting, and building. She blends Appalachian, Indian, Arabic, jazz, classical, and pop musical styles to give the mountain dulcimer a new range of rhythmic, melodic, and tuning possibilities. As a dulcimer maker, her work influenced many of the dulcimer builders of the 70's and 80's. Her instruments were known for their innovative shapes, exquisite sound hole and peghead inlay work. She introduced the dulcimer to Joni Mitchell and made three instruments for her between 1968 and 1976. She has also made instruments for David Crosby, Jackson Browne, Wendy Waldman, Garth Hudson and Harry Stiles.
She is a gifted teacher and is the author of the 2nd edition of her classic dulcimer instruction book “LAPIDUS ON DULCIMER 2". She has recorded 2 CDs, “Joellen Lapidus Live in Concert” and “Dulcimer Music For the Pelican Ballet”.

CLASS 30 Minutes:
Joellen will be demonstrating and teaching the "Mandolin Strum": that fast tremolo mandolin players do on their 4 sets of double strings. “I’ll be teaching you how to do that tremolo on your dulcimer whether you have a double melody string or not. I’ll use a prerecorded chord track and we’ll add the melody with tremolo.”
You can view her work and reach her at

Grant Olson

Grant is currently a senior at Cedarville University, from Andover, Minnesota, who has played the mountain dulcimer for ten years. He plays fiddle tunes, hymns, and arranges classical songs for chromatic mountain dulcimer. He enjoys composing his own tunes, and building his own dulcimers out of cardboard and styrofoam. In 2019 he competed and won the mountain dulcimer championship at Winfield, using a cardboard dulcimer he made for 2 of the songs. Since then, he has continued writing and arranging, and built up a collection of youtube videos sharing his music. https://www.grantolsondulcimer.com/

CLASS 60 Minutes:
Title: Introduction to Fingerpicking
Level: Advanced Beginner/ Intermediate

If you consider yourself past the beginner level, but have never really learned how to fingerpick, this class will be a great option for you!

We will discuss the basics of fingerpicking, including how I fingerpick and why, along with the other ways people fingerpick. After that we'll work through a few exercises to practice fingerpicking, and end by learning a fingerpicking arrangement of "Jesus Paid it All".

YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/@GOdulcimer
Example Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgrWn_oBzM8

Kevin Roth

Kevin Roth entered the dulcimer scene in 1974 and quickly became known as one of the innovators of dulcimer music. From 1974-1978 he recorded a dozen albums for Folkways Records and then formed his own label now numbering a total of forty-nine albums to his discography. In 2020 Kevin introduced ‘Dulcimeditation’ to the dulcimer world, and now teaches this form of playing along with his personal life-coaching career.

CLASS 30 Minutes:
“I'll be teaching "Dulcimeditation" for both three string and four equidistant. Dulcimeditation is an easy technique I developed to relieve stress and bring more mindfulness and clarity into your life on a daily basis. In addition I will be playing some very sweet and meditative 'lullabies' and folk songs on the four string dulcimer showing you unusual chording and phrasing.”
www.kevinroth.org  www.kevinrothmusic.com 

Pam Setser

When Pam was 5-years-old she began singing with her mom and dad's family band and continued for 16 years. Later, she became a working mother and raised her own family while still continuing to make her music. For Pam Setser, music has always played a role in her everyday life and still does today for the talented singer and multi-instrumentalist.

Along the way, Pam's voice has been heard on numerous albums, with her parents and on three solo works, including her current CD “Now”. The 13-song Now album is a collection of Americana music containing folk, bluegrass, gospel, country, and 1930s swing. Wow! Pam embraces a wide variety of styles and sounds within her musical toolbox.

CLASS 60 Minutes:
I will be showing you the Ozark Traditional Style which my mother taught me to play. I plan to teach "Boneparte's Crossing the Alps", which is a fiddle tune I learned from a local family here in my area, "Crooked Ridge" a tune I wrote for the Mountain Dulcimer which includes chords and if time another tune from our area, "Harrison Town", If time permits, I will show you my alternating thumb finger picking style. Tuning will be DAD

https://youtu.be/PL-iC2Ad7Ns  Youtube Crooked Ridge an original tune
https://youtu.be/ncP5gtJaaeM  Hayes’ Hoedown (an original tune)

Aubrey Atwater

From Warren, Rhode Island, award-winning musician, singer, dancer, writer, teacher and public radio commentator, Aubrey Atwater presents captivating programs of folk music, dance, and narration. Aubrey has performed throughout the United States and beyond, singing and playing mountain dulcimer, banjo, guitar, mandolin, and whistle, and thrilling audiences with her highly percussive freestyle clogging. In a scholarly, yet humorous way, Aubrey conveys the heritage behind traditional folk music and dance, showing deep passion and understanding of folk history and key players.



Nina Zanetti

Nina Zanetti is the 2008 National Mountain Dulcimer Champion. She comes to the mountain dulcimer from a diverse musical background, including choral music, violin, viola, piano, and shape note singing. She plays regularly at churches, historic sites, and community events and has taught at dulcimer festivals throughout the country and online. Nina is especially fond of the “softer side of dulcimer” and has a strong interest in American folk hymns, Early Music, and ensemble playing. She has published ten books of tablature arrangements for mountain dulcimer. She is featured on Masters of the Mountain Dulcimer Play Music for Christmas (CD) and she has recorded a CD of solos and duets with Bill Collins, as well as two solo CDs, Beside Still Waters and Winter’s Light. http://www.ninazanetti.com

CLASS 60 Minutes:
Title:Playing with Expression
Level: Novice and up
Tuning: DAD
Description: You’ve picked a beautiful tune, mastered the notes, and maybe even memorized it. Now you’d like to “play it with feeling”. This workshop will first introduce some technical strategies for making your playing as expressive and elegant as lovely singing. We’ll also spend time exploring what it means to “play with feeling”, different approaches to achieving this goal, and the possible role of mindset and ease. You’ll get to try out these “tools” as we learn a lovely tune. The workshop will conclude with a mini-concert that will illustrate some of the principles of expressive playing.