Dulcimer Q&A

Bio-Duane Porterfield

His Story
Duane Porterfield is an award winning multi-instrumentalist or as he is often referred to, “That dulcimer player that always wears those overalls.” As a boy in the fifth grade, his parents bought him a K-Mart guitar promising that, “If you stick with it, we’ll get you a better one”.  He stuck with it, (developing some quite nice calluses) and a few months later, was presented with his first “real” guitar.  Playing along with cassette tapes of The Eagles, John Denver and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, among others, he soon discovered a love for the sound of acoustic stringed instruments.  Eventually he would form a string band, Hardtack, with his older brother Dennis and Les Crider, the man who first taught him to play Wildwood Flower on the guitar.  For several years they played fairs and festivals in the area.

In 1997 he entered the Mountain Music Shop in Shawnee, Kansas and was introduced to the mountain dulcimer.  He recalled as a young child watching his great grandfather strumming on a similar stringed box with a stick and feather.  Duane left the music shop that day with his first mountain dulcimer failing to realize the impact this instrument would have on his life.  “The mountain dulcimer has been the medicine that relieves my headache, has taken me back to a simpler time, and has introduced me to some of my closest friends.”

His Other Story

Duane was born in Kansas City, Missouri to parents who left their Arkansas Ozarks roots to find work and a living.  He was raised in Kansas City, Kansas where upon graduating from high school, he was accepted in the KCK Police Cadet program. On his twenty first birthday he was sworn in as a police officer beginning his thirty two year career in law enforcement.  He and his wife, Cindi, were married on April Fool’s day, 1995 and with their combined families resided with their five children on a farm in western Wyandotte/Kansas City, Ks.

With kids grown and moved away and retirement in sight, Cindi and Duane began looking for a place to retire.  Eventually their search led them to a place they often visited and in 2005 they purchased a cottage in the wooded hills just outside of the small Ozark town of Mountain View, Arkansas.  They would travel to and from Mountain View becoming involved with the proclaimed “Folk Music Capital”, its festivals and its people.

Retiring in 2013, Cindi and Duane moved to their Arkansas home where they volunteer at the many various festivals in the region and at The Ozark Folk Center   State Park.  Duane now spends much of his time as a regular performer and emcee at the Folk Center’s live shows.  He also assists with sales, promotions and the creation of McSpadden Dulcimers in Mountain View.

His Workshops

Because he plays by ear, Duane was rather reluctant to conduct workshops.  It was the spring of 2015 that his longtime friend, mentor and fellow musician, Judy Klinkhammer, upon revealing that she had terminal cancer, asked him to continue on with her workshops.  “Just share your music”, she said.  He agreed and although nervous and a bit intimidated at his lack of music terminology, he discovered that he and his students were equally blessed with a great experience.  “I want those attending my workshops to be able to take only what they need from my classes and combine it with what they can use from other instructors and/or resources to develop their own style and uniqueness with the mountain dulcimer.  Then share your music.  There’s room for us all.”  Duane Porterfield


2000 Kansas State Mountain Dulcimer Champion

2003 Southern Regional Mountain Dulcimer Champion

2005 National Mountain Dulcimer Competition 2nd Place

2006 National Mountain Dulcimer Competition Finalist

2009 National Mountain Dulcimer Competition Finalist

2014 National Mountain Dulcimer Competition Champion


P.O. Box  1547

Mtn. View, AR 72560

Ph. 913 669-0272     913 909-6877