Instructors - 2019 festival

Aaron O'Rourke   began teaching and performing on mountain dulcimer at the age of 16. In a short period of time, Aaron became one of the headlining names at dulcimer camps and traditional music events across the US including Steve Kaufman's Acoustic Kamp, WCU's Dulcimer Week, Augusta Heritage Center's Traditional Music Week, Kentucky Music Week, The Florida Folk Festival and more.

In 2010, Aaron won the National Mountain Dulcimer Competition held at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, KS. Aaron is also a past winner in the Florida Old-time music competition and the Southeastern Regional Dulcimer Contest in Mountain View, AR.

Aaron has written 20 instructional books for the mountain dulcimer, released three solo albums and two albums as front man of the Aaron O'Rourke Trio. His latest recording, appropriately titled, "Unaccompanied," features all solo tracks on mountain dulcimer, banjammer (a banjo/dulcimer hybrid), and fingerstyle guitar. The album pulls heavily from influences in classical, jazz and traditional fiddle tunes, while at the same time making forays into the raw energy reminiscent of Aaron's early days in a punk band.

Lorinda Jones   first became interested in the mountain dulcimer as a music educator in the public schools. Her first self-published books were developed as instructional and song materials for her classroom and ensembles. As she began teaching adults, she continued to arrange music to meet the needs of her students. It was during this time, she formed the Heartland dulcimer club, now an active non-profit organization striving to preserve the traditional music of Kentucky and southern Appalachia. This group is active in the community, sponsors a traditional music festival, and under the guidance of Lorinda, has produced three traditional music CD recordings. Since her initial involvement with teaching dulcimer, arranging music, and leading performing ensembles, Lorinda has gone on to have a successful solo performing career featuring the history and playing of the mountain dulcimer in Kentucky. Three of her books are published by Mel Bay Publications, five of her CD recordings feature the mountain dulcimer, and she is a contributing artist on both the "Great Players of the Mountain Dulcimer" by Michael Shull, and "Masters of the Mountain Dulcimer Play Christmas", by Susan Trump. Lorinda has taught and performed at festivals and camps across the United States, including Kentucky Music Week, Swannanoa Gathering near Asheville, NC, Meadowlark Music Camp, in Maine, John C Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC, and many more weekend events and venues. As an extension to her music therapy and dulcimers in the classroom work, she has developed a method of teaching the dulcimer to special learners and a sequential program that uses colors, numbers, and an adapted approach for success. She remains an active member of the Kentucky Arts on Tour Directory (a juried directory of the Kentucky Arts Council), performing for schools, Kentucky Crafted Market venues, and other local and state events, and is a member of the Kentucky Center for the Arts, “Arts in Healing” program.
Melanie Johnston  has been playing Mountain Dulcimer since 2001. She founded the Connecticut Mountain Dulcimer Gathering and she and her husband Mack co-founded the Northeast Dulcimer Orchestra. Melanie is certified by Western Carolina University to teach mountain dulcimer. In addition to teaching ongoing dulcimer classes, she has taught at festivals in New England and North Carolina.

Melanie and her husband, Mack, often perform as a duo with dulcimer, guitar and mandolin.

Carol Crocker   lives in Winston-Salem, NC. Her first introduction to the mountain dulcimer was at a school heritage day program. For over 20 years since then she has enjoyed sharing her love of the dulcimer and singing with children, adults, at schools, churches, and senior homes. Carol has a certification in Teaching the Mountain Dulcimer from Western Carolina University-Dulcimer U. In addition to teaching, she performs with Cantabile-Jubilee, a dulcimer-based trio, and she helps to lead the Camel City Strummers dulcimer club.

Carol is a graduate of Western Carolina University in music education and voice. She holds a MM in music education from UNC-Greensboro as well as Level III certification in Orff-Schulwerk. As a music educator she has taught many levels from elementary through working with college students for the over 30 years, and has been a presenter at music workshops and choral clinics throughout the Carolinas.
Judy House   is from Winston-Salem, NC where she lives with her husband, Kirk.  A graduate of Campbell University, she has had an interesting and varying career as an educator. She retired from public education after 35 years.

Having been involved with music all her life playing the piano, flute, and other instruments, she was asked 10 years ago to teach dulcimer at her local community college. This led to a new career for her! She now enjoys teaching groups and individuals in her area. A graduate of the first class for Teaching the Mountain Dulcimer from Dulcimer U at Western Carolina University, she joined the Dulcimer U staff to teach year 1 of this core class in 2014.

Judy is the music director for The Camel City Strummers Dulcimer Club which holds the Winston-Salem Dulcimer Festival each year in May. She also plays in the Cantabile Jubilee Dulcimer Trio and the Southern Appalachian String Section. Judy has written 5 dulcimer music books.

She is very fortunate that her passion for teaching as well as playing the dulcimer has led to her teaching at festivals around the country.  She has also presented at the NC Music Educators Association Conference on using the dulcimer to teach music in schools, something she feels very strongly about.