The 5th Annual Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering

Saturday, June 10, 9:00 am-4:00 pm

$75/$85 after June 3

Register Online



The 5th Annual Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering!
Quality music education on the dulcimer in the Heart of Berkeley!

Saturday, June 10, 9am-4pm Workshops $75/$85 after 6/3/17


Larry Conger
Steve Eulberg
Holly Tannen
Deborah “DJ” Hamouris
Dusty Thorburn

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 6 teachers, with subjects including repertoire, instrument care, and technique. 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. To make a donation for our event, please write to

Here are the events for this year’s gathering:
Friday night, 6/9, 7:30pm, Faculty Concert $10/advance, $15/door @The Back Room, 1984 Bonita Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704 (ticket link coming)

Saturday, 6/10, 9am-4pm, workshops at the Freight, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley

Afterglow Jam, 4:30-6:30 (location tba)

Sunday, 6/11, 1-4pm, Workshop with Larry Conger at the Freight, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley
$40 separate registration fee

Our Faculty Concert will feature performances from Larry Conger, 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:
For more information:
or 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 to select classes and receive other important info about the 5th Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering.

You can register online

call the box office at 510/644-2020, ext 0, or

mail a completed registration form
and check for tuition to:
Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse
2020 Addison Street
Berkeley, CA 94704



Class Period 1: 9:45AM-11AM

Mountain Dulcimer 101 with 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!


Use of the Capo with Larry Conger (Advancing Beginner/Intermediate)

DAD tuning In this class, Larry will present five short songs, all of which use the capo, to demonstrate the various places a capo can be used on the mountain dulcimer. The presentation will help guide you through the process of properly seating the capo as well as what sort of capos are available on the market today.


The Magical Moveable Chord with Holly Tannen (Beginners/Intermediate)

DAD or DDD tuning No tablature required, just a flatpick, three fingers and an optional thumb. I’ll show you how to play Goodnight Irene in the keys of D, G, and A without re-tuning.

Class Period 2: 11:15AM-12:30PM

Easy Old Time Tunes for Real Beginners with Deborah Hamouris (Beginner)

Choosing music from the American Old Time Fiddle repertoire you’ll get more melody string patterns under your fingers, with chord options for those who are ready for them. Just fun stuff to play alone or with others.


Elvis Love Songs with Larry Conger (Intermediate)

This class will explore 2-3 songs that are actually old, traditional melodies made popular by Elvis. Love Me Tender, I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You, and The Twelfth of Never will be presented as time allows.


Lullabies from Around the World with Dusty Thorburn (Beginner/Intermediate)

Lullabies are almost always pretty, gentle, and slow, making them perfect for the dulcimer and accessible to beginning players. We will learn a French lullaby, a Zulu lullaby from South Africa, a Spanish lullaby, an African-American lullaby, an Indonesian lullaby, and more if time allows. A few arrangements involve (optional) intermediate-level left-hand techniques but all are a within the range of a beginning player with minimal experience playing simple chords. All can be played either fingerstyle or with a flatpick. Warning: you may find yourself longing to curl up in your mother’s arms once again.


Noel New-Velet French Carol meets Dave Brubeck with Steve Eulberg (Advanced)

I’ve always loved the 12th century French Carol NOEL NOUVELET, but it really came alive to me when I explored using a capo at the 4th fret, strumming, finger-picking and then playing in 5/4 timing like Brubeck’s Take Five. This tune was selected for Masters of the Mountain Dulcimer, Vol 2.


Class Period 3: 1:40-2:55PM

Rennaisance & Medieval Music for Intermediate & Advanced players with Deborah Hamouris

Fingerpicking our way thru early music, we'll learn tunes from Europe. Courtly or pastoral, this music is pleasing to hands & ears. A capo is required.


Five Fingers On the Fretboard with Larry Conger (Advanced)

This workshop addresses the “moveable capo” meaning that, instead of using a capo, the player will learn to use his/her last three fingers to form a moveable barre chord while the thumb and index fingers play the melody in front of the barre chord. A fun challenge for those adventurous players. DAD tuning.


The Old Style: Melody Against Drones with Holly Tannen (Beginners)

Play by ear, chordlessly and tablessly. Jean Ritchie taught herself to play without written music - you can too. I’ll hand out a list of songs and tunes you can play without chords. If you can sing them, you can play them! Try a couple on your own, and we’ll learn some together, with and without a noter. DAd or DDd


Advanced Bluegrass with Steve Eulberg (Advanced)

Bluegrass on the Mountain dulcimer is not only possible but fun! We’ll review the importance of the Chop and Classic Bluegrass Licks, and then we’ll explore harmonies and soloing as we challenge mandolins for a place in the band! (DAd tuning, bring a capo)

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 – Larry Conger

We will join together in the lobby to play our piece, ending the day in grand style!


Sunday, 6/11, 1-4pm, Post-Gathering Workshop with Larry Conger

(Advancing Beginner and Beyond, $40)

This workshop will present various arrangements that will focus on economy of movement and consistency of fingering while addressing various embellishments that should make your playing smoother and more comfortable. Come prepared to learn major and minor chords in DAD tuning and discuss their most efficient fingering. Several tunes will be used to reinforce these concepts.


All instructional materials will be provided, including tab for the visual learner and MP3 audio tracks for the auditory learner. Some tunes will be challenging for the advancing beginner but should help to facilitate your advancement to the intermediate level and beyond.


Handy items to bring include a music stand, pencil, eraser, highlighter, capo, picks and extra strings.




Larry Conger is a full time, professional musician. He operates a private music studio, along with his wife Elaine, teaching piano, guitar and drums as well as the mountain dulcimer at their home in Paris, Tennessee. Some of Larry’s instruction includes numerous dulcimer festivals, long distance learning via Skype and his Tune of the Month.


A graduate of the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) Larry has been involved with music as a vocation for almost 40 years. Besides being a popular instructor at various dulcimer workshops around the country, Larry also served as a church music director for several churches during the late 1970s through the 1990s. He has been a participating artist for the Tennessee Arts Commission's Arts in Education program as well as the Kentucky Arts Council's Teacher Incentive Program, bringing dulcimer music into the public schools.


In 1995, Larry won the Southern Regional Mountain Dulcimer Championship in Mountain View, Arkansas. Three years later in 1998, he won the prestigious National Mountain Dulcimer Championship in Winfield, Kansas. Larry has authored fifteen dulcimer books and has three recordings to his credit.


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 ThorburnDusty Thorburn grew up strumming guitar and singing "Kum Ba Ya" and "Blowin' in the Wind" before he knew it was a cliché. A professional historian, he sees traditional music as a way to connect with people from the past, especially those unable to leave written records of their lives. A guitarist and occasional mandolin player, Dusty discovered the mountain dulcimer about five years ago and has been obsessed since, entranced by the simple beauty of the instrument's design and sound. About three years ago he founded River City Dulcimers, a group of musical friends who meet monthly in Sacramento. His lessons, arrangements, and compositions combine a respect for traditional sounds with a modern, blues-influenced sensibility. 


Steve EulbergSteve Eulberg/Artistic Director "Smile-inducing, toe-tapping, thought-provoking folkgrass" is how reviewers describe award-winning instrumentalist and songwriter Steve Eulberg's music. He weaves together age-old songs and tunes with new melodies and contemporary lyrics accompanied by dulcimers and more.


"I live for the aha! experiences that people have and am dedicated to helping people enjoy their musical explorations on their instruments and share them with others," Eulberg says. Students respond enthusiastically to his engaging style and warm sense of humor, making him in demand at festivals across the USA.


Award-winner in the national mountain dulcimer contest at Winfield, he is also a multiple finalist in the national hammered dulcimer contest. His music has been included in the Masters of the Mountain Dulcimer Compilations, Great Players of the Mountain Dulcimer, and has been featured on PBS' RoadTrip Nation, United Airlines Inflight Audio and NPR.


Active in the San Francisco Chapter of NARAS (Grammys), Local 1000 AFM (Traveling Musicians), Eulberg owns Owl Mountain Music, Inc., was the first guitar instructor on is co-owner and teacher at where he teaches people to play both mountain and hammered dulcimers.


DJ HamourisDeborah Hamouris/Executive Director  Deborah (DJ to her friends) is a performer, songwriter, teacher, recording artist, choral director, and community music organizer. She teaches mountain dulcimer classes at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley; directs the singing groups Women & Song and the Unconditional Love Choir; and teaches private voice, dulcimer, and songwriting students. With Steve Eulberg, Deborah co-founded the Berkeley Dulcimer Orchestra in 2014. Musically versatile, she performs as both a jazz vocalist as well as a traditionally-influenced songsmith with her dulcimer.


Deborah is currently working on a CD & theatrical music piece with guitarist Mimi Fox, 1 in 8 – original stories & songs reflecting recent cancer treatment. Previous recordings include Snapshots, also recorded with Mimi Fox, and The Green Man recorded by The DulciMates, a vocal & dulcimer duo with husband, Buffalo. Deborah is the founder and Executive Director of the Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering held annually at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse. In her spare time, and when the cat allows, she knits.


Visit the Berkeley Dulcimer Gathering website


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