Welcome to Nina's Web Site
Nina is the 2008 National Mountain Dulcimer Champion. She comes to the mountain dulcimer from a diverse musical background, including choral music, violin, viola, piano, and shape note singing. She plays regularly at churches, historic sites, and community events and has taught and performed at dulcimer festivals throughout the country, including Western Carolina University, Arkansas Dulcimer Jamboree, Dulcimerville, Colorado Dulcimer Festival, and Kentucky Music Week. Nina is especially fond of the “softer side of dulcimer” and has produced three books of gentle, finger-style solo arrangements for mountain dulcimer, as well as four books of duet arrangements with Beth Lassi. She is featured on Masters of the Mountain Dulcimer Play Music for Christmas (CD) and has also recorded a CD of solos and duets with Bill Collins. In June, 2011, she released her first solo CD, Beside Still Waters. Her newest tablature book,The Humble Heart, co-authored with Bill Collins, features arrangements of 33 lovely Shaker tunes, from hymns to dance tunes.
In her own words, Nina tells how she discovered the dulcimer:
One day, during a rather “challenging” time in my life, I was looking for a diversion and happened to see a poster advertising a local dulcimer festival. I went to the festival, brought home a dulcimer, and quickly got “hooked” on the gentle sweetness of the instrument and the warmth of the dulcimer community. Since then, playing dulcimer has been a wonderful adventure, providing solace, joy, fellowship… and a lot of fun!
I am especially fond of “the softer side” of dulcimer. I love the slow Celtic airs and quiet, meditative hymns; they bring a sense of serenity and peace. My favorite way of playing dulcimer is to fingerpick with bare fingers: the feel of the strings seems to draw me “into” the instrument and the music and brings me to a place of quiet tranquility.
Before discovering dulcimer, my main musical interest was in the “classical” realm: everything from early music to Bach cantatas to Brahms symphonies. I sang in choirs, played piano in pit orchestras, and played violin and viola in string quartets. All these experiences have influenced the way I play and arrange for dulcimer. Some dulcimer players who have influenced my playing include: Susan Trump, with whom I had the pleasure of taking lessons; Bill Collins, who generously shared arrangements and musical tips during my first few years of playing; Beth Lassi, who always challenges me to create harmony parts; and Linda Brockinton, who taught me the “softer side” of fingerpicking. My music is also inspired by the beautiful playing of El McMeen, guitarist, and the glorious harmonies of choral groups such as Chanticleer.
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