Galax Dulcimer

Galax Dulcimer/Melton Family Tradition – “Galax Style” is the term given to cover a type of dulcimer and a style of playing from the southwestern area of the state of Virginia, in particular the playing of one family in and around the area of Galax – the Meltons.  This dulcimer style dates back to the mid-1800s and is one of the oldest in the history of mountain dulcimers predating the dulcimer revival which started around the 1960s.
On October 30, 2018, Bridgewater resident Phyllis Gaskins shared her story of how she fell in love with the Galax Style dulcimer, and how it became her passion  to preserve and share this style of music for generations to come.  Phyllis brought her collection of Galax dulcimers,  and presented a slide show of history, and making of the instrument.
Phyllis  is the ultimate authority on Galax duclimers and their history, though that is nothing that she set out to do! So our club experienced a unique opportunity to learn first hand from the acknowledged expert! 

Nov. 9 Bing Futch Concert & Nov. 10 Workshop

This Concert is sponsored by the North Branch School.
The deadline has been extended for registering for the workshops.  Mail deadline, November 9; or register at the workshop.  (Bringing a completed registration form and having your check already made out will be greatly appreciated).

Bing Futch Concert: Friday, November 9, 2018

        7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
        North Branch School
        221 Mickens Road, Afton, Virginia 22920
(540) 456-8450  (School phone)


Bing Futch Workshops:  Saturday, November 10, 2018

Rockfish Presbyterian Church, Fellowship Hall
5016 Rockfish Valley Highway (VA Rt. 151), Nellysford, VA.
Workshops will begin at 10:00 a.m. and end at 3:45 p.m.
There will be a lunch break and short breaks in between sessions

Prices per person: $25 for one workshop; $40 for two; $55 for three; and $70 for all four.

Download the Registration Form for the

Bing Futch Workshops

Bing Futch Dulcimer Workshop Schedule

Saturday, November 10, 2018

In the Fellowship Hall of Rockfish Presbyterian Church

5016 Rockfish Valley Highway (VA Route 151), Nellysford, VA 22958

10:00-11:00 – 1st Session: Primal Mountain Dulcimer

Or, as Bill Schilling calls it, “mountain dulcimer Zen.”  This workshop is about getting spirit, mind and body ready to work together for a simple approach to playing mountain dulcimer.  Relaxation and breathing techniques, visualizations and affirmations will be introduced to help conquer fear of public playing as well as develop good playing and practicing habits.  You’ll learn rhythm basics and how to create your own grooves using phonetics.  We’ll also make improvisation (making melodies up on-the-fly) easy to understand and less scary.  Getting out of the way of the music is the key here, and there’s always plenty of smiles and laughter during this wildly refreshing session! (Beginners – Advanced)

12:15-1:15 – 2nd Session: Mountain Dulcimer – Seven Modes for Seven Dulcimers!   (Capo required)

The mountain dulcimer was created as a modal instrument and, in this workshop, we’ll take a grand circle tour through each of them. Yes, there will be re-tuning!  Discover the history of the modes, why we tune to DAD and DAA, hear and play some familiar tunes that were written using the modes and also learn to use a capo (required) for playing in seven different keys without re-tuning.  You’ll be more confident in the jams and know a lot more about your instrument after this one! (Beginners – Advanced)

1:30 – 2:30 – 3rd Session: Mountain Dulcimer – The Bridge to Better

So, you’ve been playing for a little while but feel stuck in a rut? Can’t seem to get past the plateau and you just want to pick up a few new skills?  Then, this is the class for you!  I’ll share with you some secrets of the mountain dulcimer, like boxes and selective strumming, chording and flatpicking will also be covered.  Upgrade your ability, take this class(Beginner – Intermediate)

2:45 – 3:45 – 4th Session: Mountain Dulcimer – “Ashokan Farewell: A Study in Song”

Jay Ungar’s classic and emotional piece has been captivating folks since 1982 when it was composed and it gained a new generation of appreciative fans when it was featured as the theme song to the 1990 PBS series “The Civil War.”  This lovely tune is quite simple to play and we’ll approach it with a simple arrangement using partial strums in pure chord-melody style.  We’ll also work on smoothing techniques to make this piece sound as sweet as it can! (Beginner – Intermediate)

For more information or to request registration materials :

September 22, 2018 Fall Picnic Pics

Here’s a couple pictures from our 2018 picnic.
While disappointed that some folks who had planned on coming on the original date were not able to make it, we were delighted to have a good turnout for the slow jam, and, of course enjoyed the great food!  Thanks to all!
The Blue Ridge Mountain Dulcimer Players FALL PICNIC and JAM has been re-scheduled for September 22,  due to the effects of Florence and the forecast for rain, flooding and high winds.  This will be our THIRD SATURDAY JAM, thus no jam is scheduled at Augusta Library, Sat. 15.  Slow jam will begin at 11:00. Regular jam begins after lunch. Bring your dulcimer, chair, and whatever you need for jamming!   Gather at Shelter #4 (go straight when entering the park).  Bring your dulcimer and a chair for playing!
PLEASE RSVP  by Saturday September 15 to Becky Chalam (or letting us know how many in your family will be coming.  If you have already replied, but now will not be able to attend on Sept. 22, please drop Becky a note.
The schedule for the day will be:
  • Plan to arrive between 11 and noon, and set up for our picnic.  A “slow jam” is planned between 11 and noon; we will “boil that cabbage” while food is getting set up!  Consider this an “introduction to jamming” for newbies and a chance to play some slow tunes, for any who might find fast jam tunes daunting! So, plan to bring your dulcimer and chair!  Dinah Ansley will lead this jam; bring your Dave Haas Jam book.  We have only two more jam books left at the special club price.
  • Lunch will be at noon – bring a dish to share, BBQ chicken will be provided by the club!  –Bring a friend and family, too!  Paper plates, plastic ware and water will be provided.
  • We will continue with a jam after our meal, playing some of our usual jam favorites and a few faster tunes.
  • (In the case of inclement weather, please check our Facebook Page or website for updates or cancellation information).

Note: there will be no Jam held at the Fishersville Library on Sept. 15, 2018; as we will be jamming together at Grand Caverns Park in Grottoes, VA on Sept. 22!

Last year, we enjoyed great fall weather, playing outside, visiting with old and new friends, and sampling great picnic fare!

Photos from our September 30, 2017 Annual Picnic at Grand Caverns Park in Grottoes


Join Us At Our Next Jam

Our next Third Saturday jam will be November 17, at the Augusta County Library in Fishersville, downstairs.  This will be preceded by our Annual Business Meeting at 1:30.  This is an important meeting as new officers will be announced for the next two years and the direction of the club will be discussed.  Bring ideas you have for what you would like to see the club doing!

For your calendar:  Our November Jam in Fishersville is our annual business meeting, just prior to our 2 pm jam. Our December Jam in Fishersville, December 15, will be our "annual" Holiday Concert, from 2 - 4 pm.  Plan to prepare some carols and seasonal songs. More info here.


Note: In the event of inclement weather, PLEASE CHECK THIS WEBSITE for a notification of cancellation.

Our next First Saturday jam will be December 1,  2018 from 2 – 4 pm in the Shenandoah Room at Maple Terrace in the Bridgewater Retirement Community.    We hope to see you there!

Bring your Holiday music, as we may play some seasonal tunes!

Bring your Dave Haas “jam book” and other favorites.

Summer First Saturday Jams MAY be relocated to the Oasis, just for fun, for sharing and for being in an outdoor venue.  This always depends on the availability of the Oasis Shelter in the Bridgewater Retirement Village, as well as weather!  If the location is changed from the Shenandoah Room, members will be notified via email.
Note:  We have purchased several club copies of our new “jam books” by Dave Haas.  If you are interested in purchasing one, please let one of the officers know.   There will be some available at the jam.  Bring any tab from our Dave Haas workshop if you wish to play some of those!
Note: In the event of inclement weather, PLEASE CHECK THIS WEBSITE for a notification of cancellation.

2018 Jam and Program Schedule

Special Events for your calendar:   
*Our December Jam in Fishersville, December 15, will be our "annual" Holiday Concert, from 2 - 4 pm.  Plan to prepare some carols and seasonal songs. If you would like to share some music, please write Dinah Ansley, letting her know what you will be playing (so we don't get too many duplications!).

November 3, 2018 – First Saturday Jam in Bridgewater Retirement Community’s Maple Terrace.

November 17, 2018 – Third Saturday Jam in the Augusta County Library in Fishersville and ANNUAL BUSINESS MEETING with club planning for 2019 – 2020.

December 1, 2018 – First Saturday Jam in Bridgewater Retirement Community’s Maple Terrace

December 11, 2018 – Holiday Musical Sharing at Bridgewater Retirement Community’s Maple Terrace, tentative time from 10 am to noon.

December 15, 2018 – Annual Holiday Concert and Sharing – Augusta County Library, Fishersville, from 2 – 4 pm.


Joe Collins Workshop Photos

Our Joe Collins Dulcimer Workshop

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Tinkling Spring Presbyterian Church

We had a great day Saturday, enjoying three workshops with Joe, sharing our bag lunches in the Fellowship Hall or out in the sunny weather by the Tinkling Spring. We enjoyed our evening meal supplied by club members and the visiting time it provided us.

This before-supper photo included only those who stayed for supper.  Somehow the day (and attendees!) slipped away before we snapped a photo will all our club members who were there!  We’ll have to do better next workshop!




The 6:00 pm Evening Concert by Joe Collins was a delight and enjoyed by a good sized group!  Thanks to all who came, participated and shared!

Joe Collins was winner of the National Mountain Dulcimer Championship in 2007 in Winfield, KS, in addition to numerous other awards! 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.   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.

Sunday Afternoons at Humpback Rock

We hope you can come join us in a jam at the Humpback Rock Visitor Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway! Club members will be playing from 2 – 4 pm on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of  June, July, August, and September.  If the weather is agreeable, October, too!  It’s always a fun way to spend time with the dulcimer community and to share our music with visitors to the Blue Ridge Parkway!

Bring your own chair – sometimes we play on the porch of the Joe Clark cabin right down the path, and sometimes we play on the platform under the big tree.

On the Porch Humpback 2015