Dulcimer Fête 2018

Plans are in progress for our next dulcimer fête in March 2018. It’s going to be a great birthday party celebration. Our organization will be 20 years old and over the years we’ve played alot of music and made many of friends. It’s time to look back and remissness about our club as we celebrate the dulcimer.

Our festival began in the Port Allen Community when Charlie LeBlanc suggested using the community center and adjacent museum. There was a campground nearby. We took Charlie up on his suggestion and the fête has been there since. The festival is an important part of our organization. The festival gives our club a focus to achieve and brings in the best musicians and participants from all over the country.  We look forward to it every year.

Each year our festival has grown as we’ve added more activities and acoustic instruments. Here’s what we have planned for 2018.

Featured performers are:

We have lined up a stellar cast of featured workshop leaders and performers. These include two National Mountain Dulcimer Champions and a large range in playing styles, from traditional to contemporary, chromatic dulcimer and electric dulcimer.

  • Steve Bing plays and teaches many fiddling styles including Old Time, Cajun, Bluegrass and Texas-Style. He plays in several bands, leads workshops and calls square dances. Steve is a knowledgeable and talented musician playing fiddle, mandolin, Cajun accordion and bass. He will lead our fiddle classes and call a square dance.
  • Linda Brockinton, National Mountain Dulcimer Championship in 2001, has a beautiful finger-picking style, and friendly teaching and dulcimer tab. She was a flute major in college; played professionally and began playing the dulcimer in the late 1980’s. Her favorite music is Celtic, hymns and folk/old style.
  • Karen Daniels is the 1997 Winfield International Autoharp Champion. Her knowledge and interpretation of how to play the autoharp brings this instrument to a new level. This will entice you to join her autoharp workshops.
  • Sam Eldelston is a brilliant and creative musician who pushes the limits of the mountain dulcimer. He styles range from rock (Led Zeppelin) to folk music to his own compositions. “Whole Lotta Love” has received over 250,000 hits on You-Tube.
  • Steve Heiser is a multi-talented musician and retired school teacher. His easy teaching style makes him a festival favorite. He will teach extended beginning hammered dulcimer workshops, guitar and mandolin.
  • Rick Thum is our featured hammered dulcimer performer and also builds hammered dulcimers. He is a favorite on the national festival circuit and is often named the most popular festival instructor/performer.
  • Erin Mae Lewis is the 2004 National Mountain Dulcimer Champion, the youngest winner at the time. Over the past 20 years, Erin has developed a high level of technical proficiency and musical expression with a unique and progressive style. This includes playing a chromatic dulcimer. She is a cancer survivor and played the dulcimer extensively during lymphoma treatments.
  • Steve Seifert is a student of dulcimer virtuoso, David Schnaufer. Steve has gone on to make his own knick and impact on the dulcimer world. With an infective personality and keen interpretation of music, Steve is a favorite wherever he goes.
  • Tish Westman is a multi-talented musician with a beautiful voice. She plays dulcimer, bowed psaltery, ukulele, and banjo. We look forward to her workshops on playing the dulcimer and singing.
  • Margaret Wright, an elementary school teacher for many years, brings a friendly playing style and easy-to-learn interpretation to folk and fiddle music. She has an extensive knowledge of old-time music, and her love of playing is evident when she performs and teaches. Margaret will teach mountain dulcimer classes and Sacred Harp singing.

Thursday activities get our festival started on a fast track.

 We start our festival on Thursday at 1:00 pm and don’t stop going until Sunday morning. There are many activities on Thursday that you won’t want to miss.

Thursday Extended Pre-Fete workshops begin at 1:00 pm. We began these workshops several years ago to give instructors more time to teach a topic. Over time the workshops have evolved. We are pleased to offer four choices this year. (Please note that there is a separate class fee for these workshops and you must pre-register for the class, if you wish to take one.)

  • Let’s Start Playing Advanced Beginner/Novice dulcimer players learn basic skills in a relaxed setting with Margaret Wright. Everyone should come to this workshop at some point in their career.
  • Multi-instrument orchestra is for intermediate and up dulcimer players and other instruments. You should have knowledge of chords for this workshop. Taught by Stephen Seifert, the class will develop songs into beautiful orchestrated arrangements.
  • Keyboard Back-Up is for any musician. Led by Annette Lindsey, class fee includes the instructional book. In this fun class, Annette will teach the principles of back-up in a band; the second hour will put this knowledge to work with playing with an ensemble which includes hammered dulcimer.

  • Cook Like a Cajun introduces participants to the foods of our area. All cooking supplies and foods are included as participants prepare several Cajun dishes to sample. Anyone can sign up for this workshop. Come prepared to chop and stir!

Louisiana State Mountain Dulcimer Championship Contest

We are going to have our 4th Annual Louisiana State Dulcimer Championship at 3:15 pm. on Thursday. Let’s show off the talent as we see who has bragging rights for best dulcimer player in our state. The contest is for amateurs (not sanctioned by Winfield), no past winners or professionals allowed. Rules and deadlines are on a page of fête materials.

  • Cash prizes will be awarded to first, second and third place winners. ($200 for first place, $100 for second place and $50 for third place.) Our contest sponsor this year is long-time Lagniappe member, Arlene Kessler.
  • The winner will perform at Thursday night’s concert.

 Thursday Afternoon Mini-Concert

Thursday afternoon we will have a mini-concert after our Dulcimer Championship winner is announced. This will be around 4:15 pm. At this concert:

  • Dulcimer/All-Instrument Orchestra performs.
  • Featured mountain dulcimer instructors will perform as a group and individually to introduce to their playing styles.

Thursday Evening Concert

Our popular Thursday night extravaganza concert at 7:00 pm is always a treat with Lagniappe Society members performing a medley of songs to get the program started. Always some surprises:

  • Lagniappe Dulcimer Society members will play several numbers arranged by Lisa Oivanki,
  • Dulcimer Contest Winner plays several tunes,
  • Grand entrance is made by our current king and queen and who crown new royalty.
  • New this year we will feature several of our headliner performers in concert including Margaret Wright, Steve Heiser and Karen Daniels.

 Friday and Saturday

Workshops, Vendors and activities continue all day on Friday and Saturday. We will have a raffle which includes of a dulcimer made by Terry McCafferty and a quilt of past year’s T-shirts made by Jackie Anthony: Here are several;l features:

We will have concerts at 7:00 pm on Friday and Saturday nights. Individual tickets are available for purchase at the door.

For Hammered Dulcimer Players

  • If you have always wanted to learn the hammered dulcimer, Steve Heiser will teach workshops Friday and Saturday mornings with several loaner dulcimers available (first come, first serve).
  • For intermediate hammered dulcimer players, we have secured award winning instructor Rick Thum to teach workshops.

Other Unique Workshops and Activities Include:

  • Slow Cookin’ and Fast Frettin’ Jams. This year we will offer both slow jams for novice players in some time slots and fast multi-instrument jams all day.
  • Sacred harp singing with Margaret Wright,
  • TablEdit music notation software classes with Jak Stalling,
  • How to build a dulcimer with our dulcimer doctor Terry McCafferty.
  • Care of the autoharp, with Chuck Daniels,
  • “Picnic Lunch and Jam on the Mississippi Levee” this year is scheduled for Saturday at noon. In this activity, participants car pool to the down town Port Allen levee and watch the Mississippi River barges and ships while jamming. It is over the lunch hour on Saturday; bring your lunch (we will provide a picnic bag and drink).

Cajun Culture

We celebrate our Cajun heritage and the their extensive music with 2 features:

  • A workshop on “Cajun Music and Lyrics” (lecture) by the West Baton Rouge Museum staff who are fluent in Cajun French.
  • A Cajun Jam led by Lagniappe members, Peggy Broussard and Joe Besse.

Traditional Appalachian Old Time Square Dance on Friday Afternoon

Steve Bing is a proficient square dance caller. This year on Friday afternoon he will call a square dance with the Lindsey’s providing the band. So bring your dancing shoes. No experience or partner is required, get ready to have some fun some fun.

Dulcimer Memories

To celebrate our 20th year anniversary, we are asking you to look back to years gone by and recount some of your favorite dulcimer memories, especially pertaining to the early Lagniappe Dulcimer Fête years. Please share some of these special moments, including when/how you learned to play the dulcimer, joy taught teaching someone else as well as early fête years. A form can be downloaded from our WEB site for you to handwrite the stories and include photos. Return with your Registration Form or FAX to 225-926-8581. For questions,
E-mail: memories@dulcimerjambalaya.com. These stories will be displayed in the lobby of the Community Center and some in our printed program. We may read some of the stories, with your permission, during our concerts. Please sign the forms.

Vendors, Dulcimer Doctor & Fiddle Doctor, Autoharp Vendors

 We have a full line-up of vendors including both a dulcimer doctor and fiddle doctor (who will re-hair bows). We will have an autoharp vendor who can make repairs and/or sell you a new autoharp. Several hammered dulcimer and mountain dulcimer vendors will attend as well as vendors selling ukuleles and bowed psalteries.

Catered meals and Complimentary Breakfast

And enjoy meals catered by our new caterer, Danny’s Cajun Cater and Court Street Café, and Saturday lunch by Logan Farms. All meals require advance purchase by March 1. We’ll have birthday cake and ice cream on Thursday night and homemade desserts from Lagniappe members the rest of the weekend.

We will again be serving complimentary breakfast at the Community Center for early risers on Friday through Sunday.

Lodging and Camping

  • Fête Camping: There are camping spots next to the Community Center. You must reserve a month in advance- Call (225) 336-2423 & ask for Raina.  There is also camping at nearby Denham Springs KOA.  Farr Family Park has camping, too, including pass through R.V. slots and increased amps, but no reservations are taken.
  • Fête Motel: A special rate for rooms at near-by Hampton Inn & Suites has been secured. This is $99.00 per night for both standard king and two-queen bed rooms and $109.00 per night for Deluxe King Suite Rooms. Call Hampton for reservations. 1-800 Hampton or directly at (225) 389-6655 and provide the code (DUL) or ask for the “Lagniappe Dulcimers Block.” Special rate is available ONLY for March 8-11, 2018, OR Register on-line on a dedicated page by following a link on our club WEB site.


This year we  have a new T-shirt design celebrating our anniversary designed by member, Virginia Gough. It’s a fleur di-lis on a purple shirt. Order one on the Registration Form by February 17, 2017.

Sunday Morning Gospel Sing.

A Sunday morning gospel sing at 9:00 am ends our festival.  Time to sing some beautiful songs with devotionals led by Peggy Broussard. Say goodbye to old and new friends. Have a safe trip home. 

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