2019 New Talent Stage

This year's festival will include an open showcase stage for musicians of dulcimer, ukulele, harp, autoharp, and other traditional instruments. Pre-registration is strongly suggested - simply click the button below to request a stage time. Once confirmed, your name and biographical info will be displayed here.

NOTE - Pre-register here by May 15 to also have your information printed in the festival program!


Schedule as of June 7, 2019

Sat 10:00    Chuck Hensel

Chuck learned to love traditional balladry as a boy, When a teenager he learned to play the ukulele, guitar and later the banjo. In 1966, lacking ready cash, he decided to make a dulcimer, making 66 instruments at the height of the Folk Revival. He will be singing traditional ballads and folk songs and playing his "best" effort, dulcimer # 33, made of rosewood, spruce and mahogany .

Sat 10:30    OPEN

Sat 11:00    Michael Krempler

Michael started playing the MD just over two years ago and has just recently started playing at open mic opportunities. Michael reports β€œthe MD has been with me through my cancer treatments and has helped me get through the rough times.”

Sat 11:30    Howard Solomon

Howard has been playing autoharp since 2015 but not continuously - just enough to make his wife Barb wish he'd do something else. He has played in the Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering contest in Newport, PA, at the House Cafe open mic on Monday nights in DeKalb, and on the Gebhard Woods New Talent Stage in 2018. He was asked to come back so must be doing at least a few things pretty well. He'll perform a mix of instrumentals and songs. Last year's performance of Free Bird was one of the first times it has been performed for solo autoharp. He'll perform it again if enough people show up with flashlights to wave in the air as if this was an acoustic Lynyrd Skynyrd concert.

Sat 12:00    Jillian File

Jillian is 14 years old. She is from Sugar Grove, IL and is a student at Parkview Christian Academy. Raised in a musical family, her passion for folk music led her to start playing the mountain dulcimer almost 2 years ago. The dulcimer has helped her overcome some of her fears in life. Learning to play and actually playing has improved her confidence and faith in herself. While Jillian has spent many hours serenading her family and neighbors, this is her first stage performance on mountain dulcimer.

Sat 12:30    Vienna Iacovella

Vienna is 9 years old from Montgomery, IL. She will begin 4th grade this fall. She began playing the hammered dulcimer two and a half year ago. This is her second time performing at the New Talent Stage at this festival. Besides playing music, Vienna has a curiosity for just about everything (art, literature, math, dance, etc...). She writes really funny jokes!

Sat 1:00    Rayna Vogen

Rayna is a 16 year old from Sandwich, Illinois. Raised in a musical family, Rayna began learning the clarinet at age 11 and has been attending this festival nearly annually since she was a baby. Though she's been exposed to dulcimer music her entire life, she received an instrument and started taking lessons from her aunt (Katie Moritz) when she was 15. Currently she plays hammered dulcimer, steel pan, and even some ukulele.

Sat 1:30    OPEN

Sat 2:00    Carol Thomas

Carol signed up for a Jean Ritchie dulcimer workshop at OTSFM Old Town School of Folk Music, and realized she needed to buy a dulcimer! So she bought a copy of DPN, found an ad for Walt Martin's Sunhearth instruments, and flew to Pennsylvania, bringing back her dulcimer. She last changed her strings in the year 2000. Then, she entered the OTSFM World's Largest uke concert contest for Guinness Book of World Records (and they didn't win) and ran to the Folklore Center Store and bought a shiny yellow uke in a matching yellow plastic bag. She's attended about 40-some Kindred Gathering Dulcimer Fests, and has appeared on New Talent stage, Woodstock Folk Fest open mic, and Tribal Collab open mic's around here. She's never changed her strings on the uke, but has written quite a few funny songs along the way, for her album, "My Chi Kicked In"

Sat 2:30    OPEN

Sat 3:00    OPEN

Sat 3:30    OPEN

Sat 4:00    OPEN

Sat 4:30    OPEN

Sat 5:00    CLOSED

Sat 5:30    CLOSED

Sun 10:00    OPEN

Sun 10:30    OPEN

Sun 11:00    OPEN

Sun 11:30    OPEN

Sun 12:00   CLOSED

Sun 12:30    CLOSED

Sun 1:00    Donna Sisk

A piano player since the age of 7, Donna saw a mountain dulcimer for the first time at the 2017 Gebhard Woods Festival when she decided to learn a stringed instrument in order to join her brothers and other relatives in family bluegrass jams. She became a member of the South Suburban Dulcimer and Folk Music Society, and has played for anyone who would sit still for three minutes to listen to her latest tune. She performed at the Woodlands Community Church 2018 Christmas Concert in Homewood, IL, and poolside during "social night" at annual vacations at Beach Club One in Ft. Myers Beach, FL. Visitors to her home often end up with a dulcimer in their lap and a lesson in group playing. She also plays in the newly formed "Why Not Trio". Donna and her husband, Wayne, live in Chicago Heights, IL.

Sun 1:30    Thomas Rothbauer

I have been playing with the Hammered Dulcimer for nearly 30 years but this will be my first time on stage. I designed and built the instrument that I play.

Sun 2:00    OPEN

Sun 2:30    Why Not Trio

Gary Knight, Dan Meadows and Donna Sisk met as members of the South Suburban Dulcimer and Folk Music Society. One of them asked the other two if they'd like to get together to try some tunes as a trio, and the response was . . ."Why not?" The trio of mountain dulcimer, guitar and autoharp made their recent debut at a gig of SSDFMS in March 2019, and then played at the April open mic night of Down Home Guitars in Frankfort, IL. Gary plays guitar, and is also a bassist with long-time experience in country rock bands. Dan is active in supporting folk and traditional music in the south suburbs, and claims he is the "glitter" of the group on the autoharp. Donna is a pianist turned mountain dulcimer player who enjoys playing an instrument that she can carry around with her.

Sun 3:00    CLOSED

Sun 3:30    OPEN

Sun 4:00    OPEN

Sun 4:30    OPEN

Sun 5:00    CLOSED

Sun 5:30    CLOSED