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Erin Mae is a mountain dulcimer virtuosa who has taken an obscure American folk instrument, and with it has developed a high level of technical proficiency and musical expression. Erin has been playing for over twenty years and in that time has developed a unique and progressive style. She is a member of the nationally-touring groups Scenic Roots and S.E.A.
Erin Mae received her first mountain dulcimer at the age of seven. Ten years later, in 2004, she won the prestigious National Mountain Dulcimer Championship; making her youngest winner of the award at the time. Erin went on to study classical piano at Sterling College in Sterling, KS before pursuing a degree in Commercial Music, with an emphasis in bluegrass and acoustic jazz, through South Plains College in Levelland, TX. She graduated in 2010, becoming the first mountain dulcimer player to complete the program; and began touring full-time as part of the duo Scenic Roots.
Erin Mae is a member of Arts Partners, providing arts-integrated educational programs to schools in the Wichita area. She is also the vice-president of Great Plains Dulcimer Alliance and on the board of directors for the Kansas Bluegrass Association. Erin has developed mountain dulcimer-centric curriculum for after-school programs, homeschool cooperatives, church youth programs, kids camps, and folk festivals.
As a solo teaching artist, Erin Mae presents timeless traditional American songs on an American folk instrument to help students grasp history, social studies, language arts, and music concepts. Students are challenged to think creatively as they engage in conversation and movement centered around singing with the mountain dulcimer.
Erin Mae is also a ten-year Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor. She played her mountain dulcimer through every chemotherapy treatment, and continues to reach out with music to those who are currently battling cancer. She strives to let her music and story act as a beacon of light for those going through difficult times. You can hear that passion as Erin Mae culls from her instrument music which lifts the spirit and heals the soul.
Erin Mae provides family entertainment for all ages. From preschools to nursing homes, her program “Tunes and Tales of the Mountain Dulcimer” educates and entertains.
Erin Mae thrives in intimate settings with lots of audience interaction. Erin Mae can also provide peaceful, calming instrumental music, perfect for creating ambiance at an event.
Erin Mae has experience performing at nursing homes and hospitals for elderly or ill patients. She is also comfortable with special-needs children and adults. The mountain dulcimer is a calming and interesting instrument, which she loves to share within communities.
“Tunes and Tales of the Mountain Dulcimer” is a program developed by Erin Mae to teach young audiences about the mountain dulcimer. In it, she takes students on a journey through early American history using song, story, and the mountain dulcimer. She teaches about the Appalachian origins of the mountain dulcimer, the history of American folk music and mountain culture, and engages students in interactive sing-a-longs.
“Make a Joyful Noise” is a 3-5 day educational residency with Erin Mae. It includes singing, folk dance, and instrument-making (shaker eggs, finger pianos, hand drums, etc.). Students also have the opportunity to play dulcimers during this program. “Make a Joyful Noise” teaches emotional sensitivity, as each day’s program focuses on an emotion and how to express it in healthy ways.
Erin Mae can also work with event organizers to develop programming specially suited to their needs. Components may include specific periods of American/world history, folk dancing and movement, rhythm and percussion, instrument-making, instrument petting zoos, and mountain dulcimer instruction.