6th Annual Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering

6th Annual Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering

Karen Mueller, Holly Tannen, Dusty Thorburn, Steve Eulberg, DJ Hamouris

Saturday, May 5th

9:00 am (event ends at 4:00 pm)

$80 Early Bird before 4/28/18 / $90 Regular

6th Annual Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering
The Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering is for anyone interested in playing the mountain dulcimer. This American folk instrument is enjoyed by beginner and master alike, easily accessible to new players and adaptable to all genres of music. Young and old can play a tune right away!


At the Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering you choose 3 out of 12 classes taught by 5 teachers, with subjects including repertoire, dulcimer history, and technique. We’ll also have Mark Walstrom, owner of Timbre Folk & Baroque in Berkeley, to help with evaluation and repair of your dulcimer. The day is planned for maximum time in community with about 50 mountain dulcimer aficionados. Some dulcimers will be available for loaners and to purchase. And all the instructors will have CDs, books & other products you can’t live without!


The Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering is fiscally sponsored by Intersection for the Arts, providing non-profit support for bay area art projects of all types.


Here are the events for this year’s gathering:

Friday night, 5/4, 7:30pm, Faculty Concert
$13 advance/$15 door @The Back Room, 1984 Bonita Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704 https://backroommusic.com/


Saturday, 5/5, 9am-4pm, workshops at the Freight


Afterglow Jam, 4:30-6:30 @People’s Café
61 Shattuck Square, Berkeley


Sunday, 5/6, 12:30-3:30pm, Workshop with Karen Mueller at the Freight
2020 Addison St., Berkeley
$45/$55 separate registration fee More Info


Our Faculty Concert will feature performances from Karen Mueller, Steve Eulberg, Deborah Hamouris, Holly Tannen, Dusty Thorburn and the Berkeley Dulcimer Orchestra, This performance is open to the public, so invite your family & friends for a night of good music.

For more information:

send us an email


Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering Class Offerings

Registration entitles you to 3 classes, participation in the Dulcimer Orchestra Grand Finale, and the Afterglow Jam. Once you register, you’ll receive an email from DJ Hamouris to select classes and receive other important info about the 6th Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering.

You can register online, call the box office at 510/644-2020, ext 0, or mail a completed registration form
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD
and check for tuition to:
Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse
2020 Addison Street
Berkeley, CA 94704


Class Period 1: 9:45AM-11AM
Mountain Dulcimer 101 (Dusty Thorburn) (Complete beginner)
This workshop is for the absolute beginner; no experience with any musical instrument is necessary. We will learn the parts of the dulcimer, how to position the dulcimer on your lap, what to do with the right and left hands, and how to read tablature. We will then begin with multiple versions of a song or two, starting very simply and slowly adding new elements until lo-and-behold, we’re playing music together!


Chord Boot Camp (DJ Hamouris) (Adv. Beginner/Intermediate) - DAd tuning
The key to “jamming” is often knowing the basic chords (I-iv-V) in a key. Let’s get some of these chord progressions under our fingers and chord concepts into our brains!
Awesome “A” Tunes in EAA (Karen Mueller) (Intermediate/Advanced)
Learn great new fiddle tunes in the key of A. EAA tuning


Clearing the Hurdles: Moving from Intermediate to Advanced Playing (Steve Eulberg) (Intermediate) Assuming Intermediate skills, this is a one-session class that will help us see, describe and explore ways to surmount the hurdles or perceived deficits that are keeping us from progressing in our musicianship and skills.


Class Period 2: 11:15AM-12:30PM
Absolute Beginner Repertiore (Steve Eulberg) (Beginner)

What a lucky day! Now that we have some basics in our fingers, we'll learn to play some tunes that make use of these skills and take them home in our fingers!


Jean Ritchie Songs (DJ Hamouris) (Intermediate) DAd, DAc & DAA tunings

As a member of the “Singing Family of the Cumberlands”, Jean came by her song-catching naturally. We’ll look at several tunes, both familiar and obscure, from her repertoire. Some arrangements will be accompaniments, some will be the full tune, all will be singable!


Watzes 3 Ways (Karen Mueller) (Advanced)
Explore familiar and newer waltz tunes using strumming, flatpicking and fingerpicking techniques, examining different approaches to the same tune. DAd


Fun on One String (Holly Tannen) (Adv. Beginner/Intermediate)
Abandon your chords and tablature for an hour and return to the old style of playing: melody against drones. We'll play simple tunes you already know, embellish them with slides, hammer-ons and pull-offs, and experiment with new noter techniques. By simplifying the left hand, you free part of your mind to focus on right-hand technique, singing, and connecting with your audience. DAd or DDd tuning


Class Period 3: 1:40-2:55PM
Song Accompaniment in 3 Keys Without Re-tuning (Holly Tannen) (Adv. Beginners/Intermediate)

Starting with the melody on the top string, we'll add chords to create simple yet rich accompaniments to all kinds of songs. We'll learn how to play them in D, G, and A, and perhaps E minor and A minor - all in DAd or DDd tuning. If you like, bring a list of songs you already know - the longer the better.


Chansons Fort! Melodies from the French-Speaking Americas (Dusty Thorburn) (Intermediate)
Exploration of songs and reasonably-paced fiddle tunes from the French-speaking areas of the Americas, including Louisiana, Haiti, Québec, and Acadia.


Arranging Classical Music: Chopin’s Raindrop Prelude (Opus 28, No. 1) (Steve Eulberg) (Advanced)
This is the fruit of an ambitious idea that requires sustained industriousness to master. We'll dig in and get a good start. DAd (requires 1+ fret)


Fingerpicking Essentials (Karen Mueller) (All Levels)
Starting with right-hand positions and patterns, we'll explore how to interpret fingerpicking tab, fingerpick some familiar songs, and develop arrangements from strummed tune tab. DAd tuning


Class Period 4: 3:05-3:30PM
Dulcimer Orchestra Sectionals

Instructors will lead separate rehearsals for our Dulcimer Orchestra Grand Finale. You may choose the level you are comfortable playing.


3:40-4:00PM; Dulcimer Orchestra Grand Finale
We will join together in the lobby to play our piece, ending the day in grand style!


Sunday, 5/6, 12:30-3:30pm, Post-Gathering Workshop with Karen Mueller
(Adv. Beginner and Beyond)
($45 advance/$55 after 4/29/18 separate registration)

Join Karen for a fun afternoon of strumming, singing, picking, and skill-sharpening. We'll play songs and tunes together at the level of each individual, from simple melody to chord/melody and fingerpicking. Music will include folk, old-time, Celtic, '60s songs, classic country, and waltzes. Tuning: DAd.


Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering: Class Levels

About the skill levels
To help you pick the best workshops for your experience, all of our workshops are classified by the skill level of the material. Although you’re welcome to attend any classes you’d like (and there will be no test), you’re likely to get more from classes designed with somebody of your skill in mind.
Absolute Beginner: You do not need previous dulcimer experience or musical background.

Beginner: You know how to hold your instrument, and can strum and play some simple tunes. You may not feel confident yet, but you love the music that your instrument can make! These classes will help you learn some chords, gain more comfort with your instrument and your ability to find and play tunes by ear and from music and tablature.

Intermediate: You have the skills of the previous levels and you’ve learned the basics of strumming and reading tablature, you need to expand your playing techniques and musical theory. You are learning to embellish your basic music with hammer-ons, pull-offs, and slides; to adapt an arrangement with different chord positions; to play in and modulate to different keys with and without a capo or retuning; to flat-pick and fingerpick a tune. You can play in different tunings.

Advanced: You have the skills of the other levels plus the ability to play at least 4 chords in DAd or DAA tuning, to use 2-3 fingers (left hand), and be comfortable with at least 2-3 basic rhythms, utilize melody runs on all the strings using scales, then adding arpeggios and patterns from within chords, as well as a strummed chordal melody.
Karen Mueller
Karen Mueller
Karen bridges many mountain dulcimer traditions to formulate her own dynamic style. She started playing the dulcimer in 1979 by learning the innovative tunes on the Pacific Rim Dulcimer Project record, featuring Neal Hellman, Force & d’Ossche, and Bonnie Carol. From there she began adding traditional Appalachian and Celtic music to her repertoire, and developed her own arrangements of these styles as well as pop, jazz, and original material. Her techniques range from rhythmic flatpicking and strumming to sensitive fingerpicking. Karen grew up in Winfield, KS, home of the Walnut Valley Festival, and was introduced to the dulcimer and autoharp there. She has been a finalist in the National Mountain Dulcimer competition, and first place winner in autoharp, both at Winfield in the mid-1980s.
Today she is a full-time performer and instructor, and has travelled throughout the US and England teaching at major workshops and festivals. Karen has released 6 solo recordings and several instruction books, including “Favorite Dulcimer Arrangements,” and is featured on two volumes of the “Masters of the Mountain Dulcimer” CD series. She is an active teacher of private lessons, school classes and residencies, and also performs with Irish singer Katie McMahon, the original lead singer from “Riverdance”. In demand as a multi-instrumentalist, she plays and teaches guitar, mandolin, ukulele and Irish bouzouki in addition to dulcimer and autoharp. A skilled and esperienced instructor, Karen is able to work effectively with all levels of students, from new players to advanced. She has also performed the challenging Blackberry Winter dulcimer concerto twice with Minnesota orchestras.
Holly Tannen
Holly Tannen
Holly Tannen was given a dulcimer by her first boyfriend for her seventeenth birthday. It helped her get over her adolescent shyness, and she adapted the dulcimer to backing up fiddle tunes and playing in string bands. She moved to England in 1974, playing and singing around the folk clubs. She returned to Berkeley in 1980 and went on to get her master’s degree in folklore. Holly now specializes in English and Scottish ballads, seasonal songs, and her own satirical songs about life in Mendocino. Holly’s CDs include Between the Worlds, Rime of the Ancient Matriarch, and Crazy Laughter.
Dusty Thorburn
Dusty Thorburn
Dusty Thorburn grew up strumming guitar and singing Kum Ba Ya and Blowin’ in the Wind before it was a cliché. A professional historian, he sees traditional music as a way to connect with people from the past, especially those who left few written records of their lives. A long-time guitarist and occasional mandolin player, Dusty discovered the dulcimer several years ago and has been obsessed ever since, entranced by the simple beauty of the instrument’s design and sound. Dusty serves as a Moderator at the immensely popular website Friends of the Mountain Dulcimer, founded and leads the monthly River City Dulcimers gathering in Sacramento, and offers private lessons at The Strum Shop in Roseville. His arrangements, lessons, and compositions combine a respect for traditional sounds with a modern, blues-influenced sensibility.
Steve Eulberg
Steve Eulberg
Steve is a versatile full-time folk musician who specializes in fretted and hammered dulcimers, but his first instrument was his mother’s ukulele. He later bought a kit and built his first mountain dulcimer. It’s been love ever since – through a career performing folk for kids to seniors, as a composer, and as an inner-city pastor,this award-winning touring musician brings joy to all who hear him.


He’s been called an Appalachian Jimmy Buffett because of his personable stage presence and warm voice, but Buffett doesn’t have Steve’s on-the-money musicianship on dulcimers and more. He plays the dulci-bro, banjammer, electric dulcimer and baritone dulcimer, guitar, bass, mandolin, piano and hand percussion. He is a five-time Winfield, KS National Winner in Mountain Dulcimer and a three-time National Finalist for Hammered Dulcimer, in addition to other honors. He has produced 15 recordings; the newest, Old School Old Time, was released in December 2012 and recorded with third-generation fiddler Vi Wickham. Calling themselves “Fiddle Whamdiddle” (thelatter is slang for hammered dulcimer), this 15 song collection of old-time folk includes tunes they “can’t remember not knowing.” Steve offers his considerable talents on both fretted and hammered dulcimers, making for a knee-slapping good time.


Steve has a musical soul influenced by many, including Tchaikovsky, Jean Ritchie, and Stevie Wonder. He’s shared the stage with folk artists John McCutcheon, Bryan Bowers, Maggie Sansone, Emma’s Revolution, and Mundy Turner. His music has appeared on National Public Radio and on United Airlines Inflight Audio; his “Soaring” was licensed by PBS’ RoadTrip Nation. Several songs have charted on The Music Review, including “War Is Sweet,” which topped the Independent Country chart in September 2007. In the Roots Music Report for November and January 2013, he had 3 albums in the Top 50.


Originally from Pemberville, Ohio, Steve spent many years living in Fort Collins, CO. Since 2014 he and his wife Connie settled in San Mateo, CA, where he is now the Artistic Director of the Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering and leads the Berkeley Dulcimer Orchestra. In addition to teaching pre-school children and their families in Music Together, Steve teaches at many top dulcimer festivals and continues to bring his “smile-inducing, toe-tapping, thought-provoking folkgrass” to audiences across the country.
DJ Hamouris
DJ Hamouris
Deborah (DJ to her friends) is a performer, songwriter, teacher, recording artist, choral director, and community music organizer. She teaches mountain dulcimer classes at Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse; directs the singing group Women & Song; and teaches private voice, mountain dulcimer, and songwriting. Deborah founded the Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering at The Freight in 2013 and, with Steve Eulberg, co-founded the Berkeley Dulcimer Orchestra in 2014. Musically versatile, she performs as both a jazz vocalist as well as a traditionally-influenced songsmith on her dulcimer.

Deborah’s current musical project is 1 in 8, songs & stories inspired by successful breast cancer treatment. It is a theatrical piece with collaborator and guitarist Mimi Fox, recorded in 2017. Previous recordings include Snapshots, also recorded with Mimi Fox, and The Green Man recorded by The DulciMates, her vocal & dulcimer duo with husband, Buffalo. Deborah is the founder and Executive Director of the Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering held annually at The Freight. In her spare time, and when the cat allows, she knits.