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Patty Fest Teachers Bios


JEFF FEDAN-Hammered Dulcimer-Spoons
Jeff lives in Masontown, WV, just outside of Morgantown, WV, and learned to play the hammered dulcimer from his teacher and mentor, Patty Looman, who gave him the gift of music.  He has been playing for nearly fifteen years, loving every minute of it.  He is especially interested in the old time repertoire of northern West Virginia, the music of Worley Gardner, Russell Fluharty, and Patty Looman, and in preserving these tunes and the old-time traditions of the area.  Jeff is founder of PattyFest, an old-time music festival that has been honoring Patty Looman for thirteen years, and also assists with the Gardner Winter Music Festival, which has gone on forever.  He has conducted dulcimer and spoons workshops at Dulci-More, the Gardner Winter Music Festival and PattyFest, and has several hammered dulcimer students.”

RICK SNIDER-pennywhistle
Earlier in life Rick played guitar and vocals for 8 years in local rock and country bands touring throughout WV.  He now plays in local jam sessions and in church.  He's a multi-instrumentalist with a primary focus on fiddle, penny whistle, Irish flute, button accordion, guitar, harmonica and hammered dulcimer.  He concentrates on Gospel, Celtic and Old-time Appalachian music.

JAMES ROBBINS- Banjo-Novice/Beginner
Jimmy has been playing banjo for 12 years and the clawhammer style for the last three years. He learned clawhammer style banjo using Wayne Erbsen's instruction book "Clawhammer Banjo for the Complete Ignoramus.”  He likes going to jams and music festivals and thinks you learn a lot when playing music with others. In addition, he plays around North Central West Virginia with "Almost A Song"

DON HAMILTON-how to count various rhythms
Don is a Professor Emeritus from WV Wesleyan College, Fairmont State University and Alderson Broaddus University. He has taken studies of rhythmic reading that originated
at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.  A native of Fairmont, WV, he began his professional music career at the age of fifteen, leading his own band that played in night clubs throughout the area.  He has also worked as clinician, guest conductor, and jazz soloist throughout the US, Portugal, Spain, Canada, England and Mexico. Don was also a guest soloist at Sea World and Disney World in Florida and has performed with such artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Johnny Mathis, Jack Jones, The Four Tops and the Temptations. He was awarded into the WV Music Educators Hall of Fame in 2016. At the age of 86, he continues to perform and has designed and built a unique double dulcimer that has one fret board in diatonic form and the other in chromatic.  He will be performing on this dulcimer at the PattyFest.

LUANNA MOORE-Lap Dulcimer-Intermediate
 Luanna began playing the Mountain Dulcimer in the late 1960’s when her father built her first instrument.  Her early influence came from Jeanne Ritchie whom she saw in concerts and workshops at Berea College.  She played folk music of the time, as she carried the dulcimer with her to 4-H and Youth Opportunity Camps around the state.  In the mid 1980’s, she took a class at Augusta and began playing in local jams.  With a borrowed hammered dulcimer, she took a 5 week class from Patty Looman which got her hooked on it.  Since that time, she has taken classes at Augusta, Kentucky Music Week, Ohio Valley Gathering and Heartland Music Festivals.  She is a regular at Pickin’ in the Park in Elkins and the local Fiddle Support Group. She entertains at nursing homes, at senior center events, and for many local groups.  She teaches classes at the Randolph County Senior Center and at the Community Arts Center on both instruments.  She does school presentations, where she has gotten students from Pre K thru 12th grade playing the dulcimer.  She also teaches at Pattyfest and teaches new tunes for the Mountaineer Dulcimer Club.

GENE THORN - Bodhran Instructor
Gene is the Bodhran player and singer for the Irish band "Emerald Hills" from Buckhannon, WV. His first instruction on Bodhran came from Barbara Tresider Ryan who plays Bodhran for "Iona", a DC based Celtic Band, and Davey Morrison, from Airdrie Scotland, who played Bodhran for the Scottish Band "Albannach". Gene has studied extensively through advanced Bodhran under Màirtìn De Cogain, a master at Bodhran playing and ballad singing, and 2 time Irish National Stoytelling Champion, from Carrigaline Ireland. Gene has also studied under Eoin McQuinn a master Bodhran instructor and performer from Ireland, who has a Masters in Musicology and Ethnomusicology from the University of Limerick. Gene has studied Irish song and songwriting under Robbie O'Connell, nephew of the Clancy Brothers and performer with the same. Gene also studied Irish singing under Shay Black of Ireland's Black Family, brother of Mary Black, and a great performer in his own right. Gene toured Ireland for 8 days with Maìrtìn in 2013, playing Bodhran each evening with some on Ireland's finest musicians, including Mairead Hickey, 6 time Irish National Fiddle champion. Gene has a longtime teaching background and enjoys sharing his knowledge with students.

LES CARAHER –swing guitar-intermediate
Les has played guitar for around forty years mostly in old time bands such as Falling Branch String Band and most recently Senior Moments Mountain Swing Band.  His swing guitar style is based on a western swing barre chord technique he learned from the legendary Shawn Blackburn.  Old time guitar style is something he just picked up over the years of playing ear music but is influenced by listening to Gerry Milnes and suggestions from Margo Blevin. 

Mary has been singing harmony “forever, it seems.” She began at an early age singing in school and church choirs, right through college. As an adult Mary has been a church choir director as well as a long-time member of Falling Branch String Band. She has taught numerous vocal harmony workshops by ear.

BARBARA BUTLER-bowed psaltery-all levels
Barbara has been involved with music all of her life, beginning with the piano and adding lap dulcimer and harp. For the last five years she has focused on bowed psaltery and harmonica. She plays with the Motown Psalteries and with the Psaltery Symphony at Tamarack, West Virginia. She has also played at churches and civic clubs and other private gigs with harmonica and psaltery, sometimes accompanied by her storytelling skills. She has taught at both Worley Gardner Fest and Patty Fest and loves to introduce people to this unusual instrument and to all the possibilities it possesses.

SUSIE JONES-Autoharp-beginning/intermediate
Susie was invited 11 years ago by Dr. Mike Schroering to join him and his wife Joni for a group sing that met on Thursday evenings. Things were put on hold due to an illness Susie had.  Several months later when Susie was able to return to the group, Joni loaned Susie her autoharp and said she thought Susie would enjoy singing AND playing the autoharp.  Susie took lessons from Jan Woodward and attend Augusta Heritage Festival 5 or 6 times to learn the autoharp. Things has changed over the years and Susie now belongs with a group called the Kennedy Barn Band which meets at the Folklife building at Fairmont State College on Thursday nights. She has played at various events throughout the area including square dances, receptions, reunion, and church events.  She has played and sang at nursing homes with a friend from her church.

KEN SHELLAR-Hammered Dulcimer-Novice/Beginner
Ken first heard the hammered dulcimer in late 1980 in Oklahoma. He moved to Elkins WV around 2000 where he was heavily exposed to the HD at Augusta and somehow became friends with Patty. He came to like stopping by her spot at Glenville and play some tunes with her and her acolytes. Guy George was his first hammered dulcimer teacher. Ken has played for Weddings, banquets, private parties, the American Mountain Theater, for Davis & Elkins College Functions and for Mountain Hospice.

MARK LYNCH- Mandolin-Beginner/Intermediate
Mark started playing guitar as a teenager in the 60’s playing in Washington, DC folk scene and advanced to fiddling Old Time tunes in the early 70’s while living in Maryland.  In the early 70’s he merged his knowledge of Old Time tunes and his right hand technique from his guitar days to begin playing mandolin.  He formed the bluegrass band, Mountain River Band in the late 80’s playing mandolin and guitar after moving to WV in 1977.  He has been playing mandolin with Norfolk and Southern Bluegrass band since 2000.  In 2001 he began to sponsor LC Blue, the Lewis County High School Bluegrass program where he has been teaching guitar, fiddle, bass and mandolin to high school students.  He has had several individual students taking lessons on beginning fiddle and all levels of mandolin.  He has been performing and teaching with the Old Time Jammer from Pompano, Fl. during his “snow bird” excursions to Florida since he retired from public school science teaching.  In addition, he plays mandolin with the Irish band Emerald Hills out of Buckhannon since 2010.  He is currently in the house band at the Bluegrass Preserves program at the Lascaux Micro Theater every Thursday evening.  Having been a professional teacher of since and music since 70’s, he has a wide range of experience with bluegrass, Irish and Old Time mandolin. His approach to teaching emphasizes technique and theory that is applicable to improvisation in bluegrass and the importance of maintaining authenticity to the Old Time and Irish tunes.   Feel free to contact him with questions. 304-472-0702H or 347-907-9537C.

LUTHER MICHAEL- Harmonica-beginners
Luther is a self-taught harmonica player from a very young age.  He loves Appalachian music and the first song he learned was Shenandoah.   He has taught harmonica workshops at the PattyFest and Gardner Winter Music Fest for many, many years.  He plays in a group called the Back Porch Pickers and has performed at the Apple Butter Festival, Prickett’s Fort, Gardner Winter Fest, PattyFest and at the Expo in Fairmont.

ROCK GARTON-beginning fiddle
Rock has always had an interest in music, and in his third year of college at Morgantown (1972) he met Dwight Diller when he was a graduate student.  He was just starting an
old time string band with anyone that wanted to join. No prior music knowledge required. Dwight taught music by ear, and he still can’t play with sheet music. He can learn slowly from sheet music, but can’t play it. Since then he has played fiddle mostly for square dances in Buckhannon, Stonewall Jackson Jubilee square dance, the Irish Spring Festival Square Dance in Lewis County, and the Lewis County Senior Square Dance ever since they started using live music.
There have been three young students that have gotten their fiddling start in his office basement. From them he has learned that all you have to do is want to do it and work at it. Rock believes God didn’t give him much talent, but He did give him determination. And that’s the most important thing in learning to do anything well.
This past November he was honored to perform at the Old Time Fiddlers Reunion in Elkins with help from Bob Snyder, and Mark Crabtree.  The greatest honor would be to have you join our fiddle workshop at Pattyfest.

Bilhas been singing and playing various folk instruments (at least 20 with variations of several) for over 45 years. He has performed for audiences of all ages in many settings from coast to coast. His high-energy performances may include songs, slide programs, and/or stories selected specifically for your group. His performances often involve members of your group with audience participation songs or activities. Bill often performs with others including Linda Sigismondi with whom he has recorded “Songs from Canal Days”. Since Bill believes that his music should be inclusive, he is involved in many groups which share music. A few of them are: Dulci-More: Folk & Traditional Musicians (Bill is the founder and leader of this group); the annual Dulci-More Festival (Bill is the director); the Canton Folk Song Society (Bill is one of the original members); the Dulcimer Society of Trumbull County (Bill has reorganized and leads this group); Folknet (Bill is a charter Executive Committee Member, past President, and current Treasurer); and Folk Music at Weatherbury Farm (Bill is one of the originators of this program and a workshop leader). His “Dulci-More Public Domain Songbooks” (in several variations) are used by clubs and individuals around the country. 
DEWEY SANDERSON-hammered dulcimer-intermediate
Dewey has been playing the hammered dulcimer for over twenty years. His early years of playing were with the Almost Heaven Dulcimer led by Sally Hawley.  He was one of the founding members of the Appalachian Celtic Consort and remained in the group for 22 years.  He is currently a member of the Rail City Dulcimer Society out of Raceland, Kentucky. On his own, he regularly plays at senior centers, assisted living and nursing homes.  His repertoire includes Celtic, old time, gospel and popular hit tunes. He is a resident of South Point, Ohio and a retired professor of geology at Marshall University.  
PATRICK BROOK- Creating With Confidence From A Sound Foundation
Pat is a professional instructor for beginners to advanced players and has 37 years teaching experience on the banjo and guitar.  He also gives private lessons/group clinics.  If you would like to take lessons from him you can reach him by email

John calls himself a harper for harmony. After a lifetime of different roles and careers (among them professor of anthropology, small businessman, bureaucrat, agricultural educator, father, and grandfather), in retirement he is devoted to the promotion of harmony and community, locally and globally, through harp music. His musical specialty is the harp tradition of Latin America. He is also a K-12 substitute public school teacher in Monongalia County. More information:

JOE PAULL- Guitar-beginners
Joe has been playing acoustic guitar for forty years.  His musical focus has been on bluegrass and old-time music.  He began studying on his own but over time has studied with three teachers.

Connie has been a clogging instructor for over 20 years. She started clogging at age 40 when a friend suggested they take classes over Connie’s desire to learn (no joke) roller blading instead.  She was immediately hooked and has attended many clogging workshops in various states. Her first instructor class began in 1999 in Morgantown WV and has developed into a group of her own called the WV Cloggineers.  Along with teaching classes at an intermediate level for adults, she has taught many years at the WV State Dance Convention in Buckhannon, WV. The WV Cloggineers have performed at fairs, festivals, nursing facilities, and rehab centers.    Her joy, in addition to her 6 grandchildren, is sharing her love of clogging to her students and to audiences they perform for. To contact Connie email her at

JAMIE GREENE-Mandolin-Beginning
Jamie has been playing the mandolin for several years and his influence has come from Tom Carter, Willie P. Bennett and Mike Marshall. He has played in an alt-country band for a few years but nowadays, most of his playing is focused on fiddle tunes. Whenever he has a Thursday night free, he plays with the Kennedy Barn String Band.



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