Loretta has been involved with music almost all of her life. Acknowledged in Who's Who In Music, Loretta retains a teaching certificate in piano and organ, and has received several awards for her performance on the clarinet. She was named the 2000 ABA Traditional Instrumentalist of the Year for hammered dulcimer. Her attraction to the hammered dulcimer is generated not only by the unique sound and appearance of the instrument, but also the diverse musical styles that it has the ability to enhance. Loretta began playing the hammered dulcimer in 1990 and has been giving private lessons since 1996.
Jim started playing guitar in 1978 and fiddle in 1987. He also dabbles a bit with the mandolin and bass. Jim has played with The Shakin’ Hammers String Band, with whom he made two cassette recordings, Hit & Miss and Dancing Bear. Jim and Loretta met in 1990 and in 1992 formed The Golden Griffon Stringtet.
Jim has been presenting workshops at the Original Dulcimer Players Club Funfest in Evart, Michigan since 1997, teaching tunes, ornamentation, harmony and music theory. He is currently a violin and guitar instructor at Eastern Michigan University's Community Music Academy. Jim also offers private lessons on fiddle and guitar to students of all ages.
In August 2008, Jim placed third in the Manchester Riverfolk Music & Arts Festival Fiddle contest. In March 2008, Jim participated in the Advanced Fiddling competition of the National Federation of Music Clubs. He received a "superior", their highest possible rating. Jim took first place in the 2005 Hetzler's Fakebook Fiddle Contest with his performance of Soldier's Joy. Jim has received two seconds, three thirds, one fourth and two sixths in the Michigan State Championship Old-Time Fiddlers Contest from 1995 to 2005. He has been serving as Director of the contest since 2006. In April 2011, Jim placed third in the 18th Annual Green Parrot Old-Time Fiddlers Contest in Key West, Florida. He was named the 2000 ABA Traditional Instrumentalist of the Year for fiddle.
In 2004, Jim's original composition, The Well Digger's Daughter won second place in the Second Annual Nebraska Chapter of the American String Teachers Association Fiddle Tune Composition Contest. In 2005, Jim's original composition, Emptyhead won first place honors. In 2006, Jim again won first place with his original composition Perporkin. In 2007, Jim took third place with his original composition The Lucky Streak. In 2011, he earned another third place prize in the NEASTA contest with his original composition The Callipygian Lassie. Also in 2011, Jim's original composition, The Crying Woman was selected as one of four winners in the Strings Without Boundaries Composition Contest.
In 2001, Jim and Judy Raber published Come Dance With Me, a biography of old-time Michigan fiddler Les Raber, containing articles, photos and Jim's transcriptions of 119 tunes from Les's repertoire, including Les's original compositions, rare old tunes learned from Les's father and grandfather which had never before been written down and many old favorite fiddle tunes played in Les's unique style. The book is now in its fourth printing (2008) and contains Jim's transcriptions of 176 of Les's tunes.
In 2007, Jim and Judy Raber produced Come Dance With Me...Again! a CD of 43 tunes from Les's unique repertoire.