Joe Collins has been playing the dulcimer since 1978. Unaware of the instrument until he was a senior in college, he fell in love with it on the first strum. Since then, he has been an ambassador for the instrument, taking it into places it had never been before. Likewise, the instrument took him to places he had never been. He began competing to improve his playing in 1998 and focused on technique as he developed his unique playing style. In five trips to Winfield to compete in the National Championships, he placed third three times and first in 2007.
His contributions to the dulcimer world include monthly free tabs available on his website for over twenty years, thirteen books of tablature, six CDs, hundreds of workshops, and a program for training dulcimer teachers. He has taught and performed in festivals across the country and composed a good deal of original music for the dulcimer. His love for the instrument has not diminished since he started 44 years ago.
Butch Ross has been gleefully smashing disparate genres of music together for over ten years. Using the mountain dulcimer as a prism, he has used the instrument to conquer everything from Bach to the Beatles to Radiohead (and everything in between).
His restless musical curiosity and virtuosity, coupled with his innate ability to break complex concepts into simple ideas, have made him an in-demand teacher and performer at many folk and dulcimer festivals both in the States and abroad.
He also plays guitar and Ukulele and is a regular contributor to the Dulcimer Players News.
Now based in North Carolina, Ken Bloom has been a professional musician all his life and has had experience playing in a wide range of circumstances. Traditional music from this country as well as many other parts of the world has been a keen interest of Ken’s for decades. He was trained in woodwork by his father from an early age, and Ken now devotes much of his time to building bowed dulcimers as well as several other instruments. He developed the bowed dulcimers he is now building from the older traditional ones, some dating back centuries. Performing has also been a very important part of Ken’s musical life, and he has done so in several countries and at many festivals all over North America.