April 17-20, 2023

Menucha's Mountain Dulcimer Festival is a 4-day workshop for players of the lap dulcimer. Participants arrive on Monday afternoon, get settled in and the music-making begins! Tuesday and Wednesday bring morning and afternoon classes taught by the 2 faculty instructors, followed by evening gatherings where the faculty perform. We weave in some 'open-mic' time as well as some time to just sit and talk or play with new and long-time friends. Thursday after breakfast we sing and play a bit together before beginning the journey home.

Menucha is 102 acres in the beautiful and amazing Columbia River Gorge. We are about 30 minutes east of Portland, Oregon. We welcome participants to stay in our housing at Menucha and enjoy the community and fellowship of other dulcimer players. If you live close by, you can choose to be a Commuter who sleeps at home but enjoys lunch, dinner and all the classes here at Menucha. Scroll down the page to see some pictures from festivals past.

2023 Instructors:

Janita Baker

Joe Collins

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Cost to Attend

The Dulcimer Festival will be housed in Creevey Commons and Boyd Hall. Classes will be in Creevey and The Greenhouse - two gorgeous spaces with lots of sunlight and good space!

Cost is per-person and all inclusive of classes, meals and housing (or a site-use fee for commuters). Cost is based on the number of roommates you're willing to have. All rooms in Creevey have 1 queen bed and 2 single beds and an en-suite bathroom. Single occupancy rooms will be in Boyd Hall which has 4 bedrooms and 2 shared bathrooms.

Triple Occupancy  $504

Double Occupancy $550

Single Occupancy $650

Commuter $440

Non-participating spouse/partner $300      Would your spouse/partner like to join you but not come to the classes? They can! Choose Double occupancy for yourself, then choose "add another registrant" as you are registering and register them as "Non-participating Spouse/Partner." They'll get to attend the evening gatherings, all meals and enjoy Menucha while you are in class!

 

 

 

Janita Baker

Janita Baker has been playing and teaching mountain dulcimer for close to 50 years; through her recordings, books and appearances at festivals and workshops across the United States she has become well-known for her teaching skills and Blue Lion Dulcimers, which she builds with her husband Robert. As a solo performer on the mountain dulcimer, Janita presents her audiences with a wide range of musical experiences including classical, traditional, delta and country blues, ragtime, swing and original instrumental pieces. A gifted story teller, Janita delights her listeners with a warm and personal sharing of her music and introduces to her audience and her students the incredible complexity, variety and beauty of the mountain dulcimer.

Learn more about Janita...

Joe Collins

Joe Collins fell in love with the mountain dulcimer back in 1978. At the time he was doing occasional coffeehouses as a college student in eastern North Carolina, and a good friend thought that he might be interested in tackling another instrument besides the guitar. He took her little instrument home, and she did not get it back for three years!  Today, he plays a lot less guitar and lot more dulcimer than in those early days.

After competing in a number of competitions and winning several regional competitions over a ten-year period, he won the National Mountain Dulcimer Championship in 2007 in Winfield, KS.  Over the past twenty years, he has had the opportunity to teach and play in festivals from California to the east coast, from Florida to Vermont, and a lot of places in between.

A folk musician and mountain dulcimer player since the late 70s, Joe combines mountain dulcimer wizardry with good, solid vocals. He is a songwriter and vocalist, inspired by artists like Simon & Garfunkle, Gordon Lightfoot, Bob Dylan, and Kris Kristofferson.  But as he grows older and pudgier, he realizes that perhaps the most profound influence on his musical bent was the old Burle Ives records he listened to over and over again as a kid.  His performances are sprinkled with a lot of humor and some excellent mountain dulcimer playing - sure to bring a smile to audiences of all ages.

Joe graduated from East Carolina University with Bachelor and Masters degrees in English, from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity with Religious Education, and from NC State University with a Doctorate in Adult Education. He has worked in Religious Education for most of his professional career and is professor emeritus of religion at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, NC.  Now that he is retired, he has more time for dulcimer, writing music, and traveling to work with clubs and in festivals.

Learn more about Joe...

Dulcimer Player Descriptions

For our festival, we are employing the following descriptors for  workshops:

BEGINNER
You should be familiar with:

• Tuning your dulcimer
• Reading and playing from tablature
• Basic right and left hand techniques for strumming and fretting
• Strumming basic rhythms
• Playing notes on the melody string
• Simple two finger chords

INTERMEDIATE
You should be comfortable with all of the above plus:

• Fingering more complex three finger chords
• Basic fingerpicking technique
• Basic flatpicking technique
• Playing more intricate rhythm patterns
• More complex timing, use of dotted quarter and eighth notes, etc.
• Use of embellishments (hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides)

ADVANCED
You should be comfortable with all of the above plus:

• Playing in different keys

• Using alternate tunings such as DGD, DAC, etc.
• Adding melodic variations to simple melodies
• Playing 5 or more tunes from memory
• Performance skills and musicality
• Basic chord theory and its application