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Joe Collins

Joe Collins fell in love with the mountain dulcimer back in 1978.  At the time he was doing occasional coffeehouses as a college student in eastern North Carolina, and a good friend thought that he might be interested in tackling another instrument besides the guitar.  He took her little instrument home, and she did not get it back for three years!  Today, he plays a lot less guitar and lot more dulcimer than in those early days. 

 After competing in a number of competitions and winning several regional competitions over a ten-year period, he won the National Mountain Dulcimer Championship in 2007 in Winfield, KS.  Over the past twenty years, he has had the opportunity to teach and play in festivals from California to the east coast, from Florida to Vermont, and a lot of places in between.

 A folk musician and mountain dulcimer player since the late 70s, Joe combines mountain dulcimer wizardry with good, solid vocals. He is a songwriter and vocalist, inspired by artists like Simon & Garfunkle, Gordon Lightfoot, Bob Dylan, and Kris Kristofferson.  But as he grows older and pudgier, he realizes that perhaps the most profound influence on his musical bent was the old Burle Ives records he listened to over and over again as a kid.  His performances are sprinkled with a lot of humor and some excellent mountain dulcimer playing - sure to bring a smile to audiences of all ages.

 Joe graduated from East Carolina University with Bachelor and Masters degrees in English, from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity with Religious Education, and from NC State University with a Doctorate in Adult Education. He has worked in Religious Education for most of his professional career and is a professor of religion at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, NC.  And, of course, he continues to write songs and accept as many opportunities to teach and perform as he can!

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Wendy Songe

Award winning singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, poet, performer, teacher & Nationally touring musician.

Born in North Carolina, raised in Oklahoma, and with roots stretching from Louisiana to Canada, and Scotland to the Native Americans, Wendy Songe weaves an eclectic tapestry of diverse instruments, cultures and songs from across the globe.

Classically trained in piano from the age of five, Wendy's firm foundation in music has paved her way to a myriad of other instruments, including guitar, ukulele, mountain dulcimer, mandolin, djembe, bodhran, celtic whistle, native flute and more.  Her songwriting, poetry, vocal and instrumental proficiency have earned her multiple state, regional and national awards.
Wendy continues to promote music education, teaching private, group and online lessons to students of every age and experience level.  She also volunteers her time and talent, giving hundreds of hours of hands-on music enrichment to disabled adults, through her Pay-it-Forward initiativewith community non-profit outreach agencies.

A self-proclaimed musical gypsy, Wendy Songe tours the country extensively, sharing her music with audiences and students everywhere.  Her music has been featured on radio, television, in print, and at many of the finest music festivals in the United States.

Wendy has released two solo albums to date, both masterfully produced by Bing Futch; 2015, 'Test Drive' -a compilation of traditional and Celtic tunes arranged for Mountain Dulcimer plus an exploratory duet improvisation with Bing Futch; Followed by her new and ALL ORIGINAL 2016 release, 'Driven' -a colorful blend of multiple instruments & genres woven into a lyrical mindscape of sound & song, written by Wendy Songe, and featuring guitar, mountain dulcimer, piano, vocals, native flute, and duet harmonies with Bing Futch.

With more than 30 years of love, experience and devotion to music, Wendy Songe is a true Musical Menagerie - on a mission!

 

Mike Anderson

The combination of music, storytelling and humor has made Mike Anderson one of the most sought-after performers from the Atlantic coast to Canada to the Gulf and all points  in between.  His latest recordings writing entitled The Great Sled Race and Anna’s Old Boot both won Parents’ Choice awards. Anna’s Old Boot also won a Children’s Music Web award for best children’s song 2003.

Under the auspices of the Illinois State Board of Education, Mike has conducted many  teacher workshops for developing literacy through the art of storytelling.  His Early  Childhood shows are legendary.  As an author and an elementary school teacher, Mike  earned accolades from his current principal who said,

"Mr. Anderson works well in structure and he excels in unstructured situations where he can utilize his creativity and problem-solving skills. He is a superb communicator, master teacher and an exceptional leader in any setting."

While the Mountain Dulcimer, Guitar, Banjo, Jaw Harp, and Nose Flute are a part of his  musical storytelling trade, his power to guide teachers to help students is among his  greatest strengths.  His workshops on "Promoting Higher Level Thinking Through Classroom  Activities" and "Storytelling for Literacy for Early Childhood Teachers and Parents" have  been nationally recognized.