Registration open for Augusta Spring Music Week

ELKINS Some of the finest musicians and teachers in mountain dulcimer, hammered dulcimer, acoustic guitar, fiddle and autoharp are lined up for Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College Spring Music Week. Registration is currently open for the classes, scheduled for April 6-11 on the College campus.

To reserve your spot, register online at or call 304-637-1209 for more


Class sizes are limited to allow plenty of personal attention, and daily group sessions highlight the talents and knowledge of the Spring Music Week staff. The week-long session also includes evening jam sessions, slow jam sessions, song swaps, dances, a public concert and end-of-the-week skits and performances by the student classes.

Autoharp, open to all levels, will be instructed by Ivan Stiles, who also is a performer, recording artist and author. A 2000 inductee to The Autoharp Hall of Fame, Stiles won first place in the 2006 Mountain Laurel Autoharp Championship, the 1991 International Autoharp Championship, the 1987 World Autoharp Championship, and the 1985 Great Lakes Regional Autoharp Championship. He has released four recordings, is the author of “Jigs and Reels For the Autoharp,” and is co-founder and former co-editor of Autoharp Quarterly magazine.

Gerry Milnes, recipient of the 2013 Vandalia Award, will instruct old-time fiddle to all levels. A multi-award-winning musician, Milnes is also a folklorist, author, filmmaker and teacher. Milnes served for 25 years as Folk Arts Coordinator for the Augusta Heritage Center at Davis & Elkins College, amassing more than 2,000 hours of audio and video documentation of native West Virginians engaged in folklife activities.

Old-time guitar for all levels will be instructed by Joe Herrmann. Co-founder of The Critton Hollow String Band, Herrmann has toured internationally as a singer and award-winning multi-instrumentalist. He has recorded eight albums, and is known for his patient and generous teaching style.

Hammered dulcimer will be taught on three levels: beginning, advancing beginner and intermediate/advanced.

Linda Thomas, a well-known performer, recording artist and instructor in the United States and Europe, will instruct the beginning level. A self-taught hammered dulcimer player, Thomas won first place at the 2001 Scottish Highland Games Hammered Dulcimer Competition in Denver, Col. She has published several instructional books with arrangements for hammered dulcimer, facilitates workshops for various levels, and, along with guitarist Dan DeLancey, has recorded 12 albums.

The advancing beginner level will be instructed by Jody Marshall, who also serves as Spring Music Week coordinator. A Washington Area Music Association nominee for best folk instrumentalist, Marshall has 20 years of experience as a hammered dulcimer performer in genres ranging from Celtic to classical to pop. She has performed at the White House, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Wolf Trap’s Filene Center for the Performing Arts, The Birchmere and The Smithsonian Institution.

The intermediate/advanced level of hammered dulcimer will be instructed by Mick Doherty. Known throughout the United States as a hammered dulcimer specialist, Doherty teaches private lessons and festival workshops. He is a member of the Cascadia Folk Quartet (a.k.a. The Whammadiddle Dingbats!) and The Trail Band, and also works as a musician and storyteller.

Mountain dulcimer will be taught in three levels: beginning, advancing beginner and intermediate/advanced.

Lorinda Jones, a performer, recording artist, teacher and author will instruct beginning level. A member of the Kentucky Arts on Tour Directory, Jones has authored numerous books and recordings, and is a board-certified music therapist. She teaches and performs at camps and festivals throughout the United States.

Advancing beginner level will be instructed by Larry Conger. An Appalachian Mountain dulcimer musician and teacher, Conger has been involved with music as a vocation for more than 35 years. He has won several dulcimer championships throughout the United States, including the prestigious National Mountain Dulcimer Championship at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kan. Conger also has contributed to many dulcimer books and recordings, and is featured on three Japanese compilation CDs of international acoustic music.

Karen Mueller will instruct intermediate/advanced level. One of the top autoharp and mountain dulcimer authorities of the day, Mueller’s music has been applauded by critics and audiences from Los Angeles to Boston. The 1986 International Autoharp Champion, she was inducted into the Autoharp Hall of Fame in 2006. Mueller maintains a year-round national touring schedule as a performer and workshop leader.

Rental hammered dulcimers, and loaner mountain dulcimers and autoharps, are available for the week. For more information, call 304-637-1209.

A Center of Excellence for more than 40 years, the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College offers several week-long programs featuring instruction in many traditions of music, dance, craft and folklore. Concerts, dances, a summer festival and other heritage arts events are part of the Augusta experience. The Augusta Heritage Center is also home to significant collections of field recordings, oral histories, photographs, instruments and Appalachian art.

Programs offered by the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College are presented with financial support from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.