Ted Yoder has revolutionized the hammered dulcimer through his pop symphonic approach on the instrument as a solo performer. He’s the National Champion whose highly engaged fanbase has nicknamed his innovative approach to playing popular songs “Yoderizing.” Ted’s both a dazzling technician and soulful and lyrical visionary. And the story of his rise to prominence is as inspiring as his spiritually uplifting musicality.
The Goshen, Indiana-based instrumentalist-composer-singer first encountered the hammered dulcimer a decade before he actually was able to play on one. At the time, the instrument was costly and not readily available—this was the pre-Internet days—and Ted was a competent multi-instrumentalist who fell in love with a rare bird. It would take a tragic car accident and the love and support of his family to transform him into the musical innovator he has now become.
In less than a decade, Ted has gone from tinkering on the hammered dulcimer to releasing five studio albums, authoring a groundbreaking instructional book, teaching Skype lessons to students around the nation, and becoming an in-demand performer at community theaters, churches, and festivals. In 2010, just three years after dedicating all his time to the instrument, he won the title of National Hammer Dulcimer Champion at the Walnut Valley Festival. He’s been profiled in the Kearney Hub, Huffington Post, and on NPR’s esteemed All Things Considered show, among many other features, profiles, and reviews in regional and national tastemaking outlets. Ted is currently preparing his fifth album which will be the first to feature his breezy and emotive vocals, a popular staple of his live shows.
On Wednesday, August 24th, 2016, Ted became something of a household name when a Facebook Live video of him from his Live From The Orchard series playing Tears For Fears “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” went viral. In the performance, he brought forth the tune’s majestic pop symphonic motifs and arrangement like a tone poet, sensitively navigating the 1980s classic’s lush emotionality and rich musicality. The homespun video, shot in his rural backyard, racked up 7 million views in 36 hours, rocketing up to 53 million views in four days. Expect a new album in 2017 based on the successful program of songs on the Live From The Orchard series.