Coming up...


Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays

The Butterfly Palace and Rainforest Adventure

Branson, Missouri

9:00 - 4:30 in the Aviary!



June 6-8


Benton, Arkansas

See the Arkladulcifest page

on Facebook


July 18 - 20

ODPC Funfest

Evart, Michigan


October 18 - 19

New Mexico Dulcimer Festival

Albuquerque, New Mexico





















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Ilace's musical journey began approximately the same time the earth's crust was cooling. Her first violin was a 1/4 size and it still makes an annual appearance on the Christmas wreath. As a freshman in high school, she realized the benefits of practice when she collected her first paycheck for playing violin in the pit orchestra for the Louisiana Tech production of Brigadoon. Steady orchestra jobs supplied college tuition funds, her first two (used) cars, and a wealth of experience.


Around 1980, Ilace and husband Ray visited Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri. Ilace was intrigued by the sound of an instrument she heard there - a hammered dulcimer. Almost 30 years later, she had a mid-life crisis, decided she didn't have to act responsibly ALL the time, and bought one - a Rick Thum Traveller (it was a pretty mild crisis, actually). The 2006 Memphis Dulcimer Gathering introduced her to a whole new musical world: different repertoire, different techniques, and wonderful new friends from coast to coast. It wasn't long until she recognized the need for an instrument with more notes and "graduated" to a Masterworks Ultralight Chromatic. Looking for more clarity and a brighter tone, she now loves playing a Rick Thum Professional with hand-picked walnut sides, maple bridges, and dampers. If you are very, very nice to her, she will let you touch it. Maybe. She also plays a Wilkanowski violin and is trying to learn to fiddle.      Ilace's professional life has included teaching first grade and preschool as well as twenty years as an early childhood education administrator. She has also taught violin, piano, and dulcimer lessons; guest-conducted the Monroe (LA) Youth Symphony; rung handbells; directed children's choirs and a youth handbell choir; and sung in church choirs and a community chorus.

In April, 2012, Ilace was awarded first prize in the Southeast Regional Hammered Dulcimer Championship contest at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas. The same weekend, she and Scott Kirchner (St. Louis, MO) also won the Ensemble contest during the 35th Annual Dulcimer Jamboree at the Folk Center.  She made her workshop instruction debut at the 2011 Memphis Dulcimer Gathering and has been a very favorably reviewed instructor at The OPDC Funfest in Evart, MI; the Gateway Dulcimer Festival in Belleville, IL; and the Ozark Folk Center.  She looks forward to many more opportunities to share her musical knowledge and love of the instrument! 

In September, 2012, Ilace was delighted to be named a finalist in the National Hammered Dulcimer Championship competition at the very prestigious Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas. 

She was disappointed to learn that there were no robes or powdered wigs involved when she was invited to help judge the 2nd Annual Deep South Dulcimer Competition in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in February, 2013.  It was still fun.

 April, 2014:  Another Southern Regional Championship trophy from Mountain View! 

July, 2014: Featured performer at the Original Dulcimer Players Club Funfest in Evart, Michigan (only the largest gathering of hammered dulcimer players anywhere!).  Instructor in 3 workshop sessions.

July, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018: back to Evart to perform and teach.

 September, 2015: Second place at Nationals in Winfield!   

September, 2016: National Champion!