Performers / Instructors 2008


They have celebrated the musical traditions and folklife of Missouri and the Ozarks in festivals, clubs, concert halls, schools and studios across the U.S. and Europe. Their audiences are as diverse as their repertoire.

A versatile duo, Dave and Cathy play several stringed instruments including hammered and fretted dulcimers, banjo, guitar and Autoharp, as well as "found" instruments like bones, spoons, mouthbow and leaf. Their concerts present a range of music from the lively dance tunes they have collected in their home region to old ballads to new songs. They have conducted several instrumental workshops as well as those about songs from the Civil War, from American rivers, old gospel songs, children's songs and Christmas music.

Putting the song before the singer, Dave and Cathy are caretakers of a long musical heritage, and they are known for deep understanding and affection for traditional music. They also keep their minds and ears open as the roots and branches of folk music run deep and spread wide. Missouri is a social and geographic meeting place, and its rich cultural diversity continues to inspire Dave and Cathy's music and broaden their repertoire.

"This duo from Missouri make some of the best music you'll ever hear."
--Art Thieme


Larry Conger is a builder, player and teacher of the Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer. He makes his home in Paris, Tennessee, a small town halfway between Memphis and Nashville. There he operates a private music studio, teaching piano and guitar as well as mountain dulcimer. Larry is active as a participating artist for the TN Arts Commission ( Arts In Education program and the Kentucky Arts Council Teacher Incentive Program, presenting dulcimer programs in the public schools.

A graduate of University of Mississippi (Bachelor of Music 1978), Larry has been involved with music as a vocation for over 25 years. Besides being a popular performer and instructor at various dulcimer festivals around the country, Larry has also served as a Church Music Director for several Baptist churches.

A graduate of University of Mississippi (Bachelor of Music 1978), Larry In 1995, Larry won the Southern Regional Mountain Dulcimer Championship. In 1996, he teamed with Jim Curley of Kansas City to win the Southern Regional Dulcimer Ensemble Championship. In 1998, Larry won the prestigious National Mountain Dulcimer Championship at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas.


Phil Passen is one of few musicians to not only play the hammered dulcimer, but also sing while accompanying himself on the instrument. He frequently performs for the Chicago Department of Aviation's tourist programs at O'Hare Airport, where travelers often thank him for providing pleasure on a stressful day, and at the Green City Market. He also played in the World Symphony Orchestra's performance of "The Lord of the Rings Symphony at Chicago's Auditorium Theater. He plays primarily old-time American music and traditional Irish music. He was born in Toledo, OH, grew up in Michigan and Ohio. He has been a full-time activist in the antiwar and civl rights movement of the 1960's and 70;s. In 1994, he began playing hammered dulcimer and in 1996 and left his work in the graphics arts industry to devote his time to music. A member of of the American Federation of Musicians Chicago Local chapter, the North American Folk and Dance Alliance, the Old Town School of Folk Music, and the Recording Academy, he lives in Chicago.


Scott Nettleton hails from Kentucky. He currently lives with his wife in Red Wing, MN where he is attending one of the few stringed instrument programs in the country. He first became interested in lutherie as a senior in high school when he built a plywood mandolin for a class project. He has since built two mandolins, three cigar box fiddles, a lap dulcimer, and a courting dulcimer. He is currently working on two professional grade instruments: a mandolin and a guitar. His knowledge both in building instruments and in the obstacles and aspirations of the home builder are valuable to anyone interested in the craft.