Katie received training as a child on piano, violin and guitar, but it wasn’t until she discovered the lap dulcimer in 1971 that she found her true musical voice. Swept up by the dulcimer’s uniqueness, Katie began integrating its sound with other instruments at churches & coffee houses from Southern California to the Pacific Northwest.
In 1979, she relocated to North Carolina, immersing herself in the musical culture of Madison County. Katie spent the next fourteen years raising three children, learning and loving reels and jigs, and discovering her calling to teach. She founded The Western North Carolina Dulcimer Collective in 1981 and began her series of Mountain Dulcimer Companion books.
After learning to play the hammered dulcimer in 1984, Katie performed for 8 years with BRAIDSTREAM, an Asheville-based eclectic trio, producing two CDs that combine flute and guitar with dulcimer.
In 1992 Katie headed north to the Midwest, focusing on performance, writing, teaching, and directing for dulcimer festivals. She headlined for several dulcimer festivals, including The Swannanoa Gathering, The Stringalong, Samfest, Roscoe Village, Buckeye, and The Gateway Dulcimer Fest.
In 1993, Katie’s first solo album came out called COLD FROSTY MORNING, a celebration of Christmas on Lap and Hammered Dulcimer. “Whether she plays the Hammered or Mountain Dulcimer, Katie has a special touch that makes every note sparkle and dance.” (Dulcimer Players News) In 1995 Katie began a thirteen-year alliance with the Wisconsin-based duo HEARTWOOD, producing four recordings that combine Celtic Harp dulcimer, guitar, and fiddle. “Their melodies move, flow, and intertwine with brightness & elegance.” (Dirty Linen Magazine)
Katie’s Hammered Dulcimer Companion came out in 2003, a collection of solo & duet arrangements using an innovative notation system in large font, with left and right hammer designations, percussive techniques and playing fields, items that have proven quite helpful to her students.
From 2009-2013, Katie taught several six-week dulcimer classes through the University of Wisconsin Continuing Education.
Because of how quickly her lap dulcimer students improved, she continues to provide large easy-to-read tablature that includes left-hand fingerings, strum directions & techniques. Her arrangements also contain fingerpicking and flatpicking styles for lap dulcimer solo, duet, and vocal accompaniment.
Still enamored with the Dulcimer after all these years, Katie returns to North Carolina, striving to connect with students on various levels and help them find their own musical voice. “This dynamic teacher/performer brings new life to traditional songs through fresh harmony and bright creative rhythm.” (Dulcimer Society Of Northern IL)