Loading Events
  • This event has passed.

Dulcimers at Halsway

Monday 22 May 4pm — Friday 26 May 10am, 2017

To make a booking enquiry please complete the form below. We will contact you to confirm availability and complete your booking.

Course Enquiry

  • Halsway Manor will not share your details with any third parties.


Full board per person (all meals, accommodation, activities):

  • £330– single ensuite room
  • £300– sharing an ensuite room
  • £300– single non-ensuite room
  • £270 – sharing non-ensuite room

Camping per person (all meals, and activities):

  • £200

Non Resident (all meals except breakfast, and activities:)

  • £185

Following last year’s event, we’re delighted to welcome back Nonsuch Dulcimer Club to host another ‘Dulcimers at Halsway’!

A practical workshop week combining 4 strands: mountain dulcimer with both an Introductory Course for beginners/improvers with loan instruments available, and a more in-depth Exploring Course course suitable for intermediate and/or advanced level players and advanced players of other fretted instruments. Introductory (beginners/improvers) and Exploring (intermediate/advanced) hammered dulcimer courses will run alongside this. Featuring superb tutors from the USA and UK, there will also be times to socialise and play informally, plus informal evening concerts from the tutors – and from participants!

Mountain Dulcimer (MD): Tutors Dave Haas (USA) and Pete Coe (UK)
The Appalachian, or Mountain Dulcimer consists of three or more strings stretched over a long-fretted sound box, held on the lap and played by plucking or strumming.  It derives from the family of fretted zithers found in Northern Europe and Scandinavia.  Developed in the poor hill farming communities of the Southern Appalachians, the dulcimer was adopted by the early folk revival in the 1960s and rose to fame through its use by Richard Farina and Joni Mitchell, and groups such as Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention – even the Rolling Stones!  Today a younger generation of acoustic musicians are discovering its distinctive tones and using it in fresh ways with traditional and contemporary material.

Hammered Dulcimer (HD): Stephen Humphries (USA) and Sue Harris (UK)
The Hammered Dulcimer(HD) has a sounding board or box, typically trapezoid in shape, over which strings of increasing length are stretched.  The strings are plucked or, more often, struck by hand-held beaters, commonly known as hammers.  Its origins are lost in history but it probably came from the Far East a thousand years ago, before spreading across most parts of the world.  It was a reasonably popular instrument in the UK before the advent of affordable pianos and until the mid-20th century still had a foothold in the pubs of East Anglia, Birmingham, Northern Ireland and Glasgow.  It was re-discovered for a wider audience in the folk revival era, with players such as Sue Harris and Chris Coe featured in folk-rock supergroups the Albion Band and the New Victory Band.

Who’s it For?

Nonsuch Playing Level Guidelines 2016 – click to see a pdf of playing level guidelines.

All skills levels will be catered for from beginners to advanced, in both Mountain Dulcimer and Hammered Dulcimer.  We have Mountain Dulcimers available for beginners to borrow; if you need to borrow a Hammered Dulcimer we may be able to arrange this if given sufficient notice.
Please make clear when booking whether you wish to follow the ‘introductory course’ for beginners/improvers or the ‘exploring course’ for intermediate level and above. More course details in the DRAFT programme below:

The Team

Dave Haas (Mountain Dulcimer) from Charleston, West Virginia, is a popular teacher who has worked at most of the major dulcimer festivals across the US.  He loves to perform and teach others how to play the mountain dulcimer in settings as diverse as festivals, schools, churches – even prisons! Dave has released four dulcimer CDs, seven dulcimer instruction/CD workbooks, and a popular dulcimer chord chart.  His other life involves teaching science as a Chemistry Professor at the University of Charleston.  One of his favourite activities is to sing chemistry songs (some on dulcimer) with his students!

Pete Coe (Mountain Dulcimer / Group Music) – described by the BBC as a “one man folk industry” – has been a professional musician since 1971, playing at festivals, concerts, clubs, dances and schools throughout Britain, Europe, Asia, New Zealand and USA.  During the ‘70s he toured and recorded with Chris Coe, was a member of the legendary New Victory Band and formed super-group Bandoggs with Nic Jones, Tony Rose and Chris Coe.  In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s he toured and recorded with Red Shift, but since 1985 has mainly worked as a soloist, earning an enviable reputation.  His strong, distinctive voice is enhanced by his instrumental versatility, the ringing strings of his bouzouki, the sweet chords of his mountain dulcimer, the plaintive frailing banjo and the pulsing reeds of his melodeon. He is also a country dance caller, creator and band musician. He sings, plays and step dances, sometimes all at once!

Stephen Humphries (Hammered Dulcilmer), from Chatanooga, Tennessee, is a US national hammered dulcimer champion, freelance percussionist, and music educator. While regularly performing and teaching at dulcimer and folk festivals around the country, Stephen also presents educational programs for hammered dulcimer and percussion in elementary, middle, and high schools. Additionally, Stephen composes music for the hammered dulcimer and other percussion instruments and shares this music through his performances and workshops. To date, Stephen has released five hammered dulcimer recordings and his articles and transcriptions have featured in Dulcimer Players News, on Mel Bay’s DulcimerSessions.com, and on the lesson website DulcimerSchool.com. Additionally, Stephen has written two method books entitled Two Hands, One Mind: A Method for Hand Interdependence on Hammered Dulcimer and A Rudimental Approach to the Hammered Dulcimer, Vol. 1, which have been sold throughout the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.  Stephen works as an instrumental music teacher in Chatanooga and as an adjunct professor of music at a college in Georgia.

Sue Harris (Hammered Dulcimer) has played Hammered dulcimer since her early twenties. She was captivated by the sound of the old traditional players and soon started using it in the ceilidh band – Umps and Dumps – and to accompany singing with John Kirkpatrick. Since then she has gone from strength to strength and become one of the foremost players in the country, concentrating mainly on English traditional music and her own original material. She has worked extensively in the theatre including the Royal Shakespeare Company and written music for several radio plays. Her last album –Pastorela- received wide acclaim and was featured on a number of radio 3 programmes.

She has worked on several Early Years music projects in Herefordshire and in Powys, one of which was specifically for outdoor music in her role as a Forest School Leader. Always having had an interest in the theatre also led to her working with teenagers on Performing Arts courses in Hereford and in Newtown, as well as Artist in Residence projects in Shropshire schools.   She writes and arranges music for her community band, Bandamania, and three community choirs around the Welsh Borders.  Her most recent ceilidh band – Polkaworks – is a vibrant outfit of instrumentalists playing rollicking English dance tunes and a good sprinkling of Sue’s compositions.

Since the last World Dulcimer Congress, Sue has been working with hammered dulcimer player Lisa Warburton.  They decided to explore further the sound potential of two dulcimers with arrangements made by Sue. The two enjoyed playing together so much that a repertoire of mainly English tunes, including a number of jaunty 18th century melodies, soon came together. Thus the English Dulcimer Duo was formed.  The duo has been well received and, with the different qualities of their dulcimers, the combined sound is powerful and spelling binding.