Madeline MacNeil began performing in an old inn for tips and dinner; she sang and played acoustic guitar like many in her generation. She wanted to be like Judy Collins and Joan Baez! Almost three decades later she's still singing (Songbird of the Shenandoah, she's been called), but her stage is now cultural centers, community gathering places, and festivals throughout the United States-and hammered and mountain dulcimers are her instruments.
Maddie's performances in the United States include The Barns at Wolf Trap, the Smithsonian Institution, the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival, and the National Cathedral. She has also played for such events as the O'Carolan Festival in Keadue, County Roscommon, Ireland, the Glasgow Festival of the Arts in Scotland, and for the Nonsuch Dulcimer Gathering in East Norton, Leicestershire, England. Her music has been part of several public television programs, including To Our Credit, a national production from Oregon Public Television. Through Arts Unlimited (Bowling Green State University), she worked with teachers and more than 2,600 children in Northwestern Ohio.
Mel Bay Publications has released several of her books. Among them are instruction books and videos for both mountain and hammered dulcimers, arrangements of hymns for hammered dulcimer, and, with historian Ralph Lee Smith, stories and songs of the Wilderness Road in the Cumberland Gap area of Eastern Kentucky. From Christmas to classical, traditional folk to jazz, her recordings include the just-released Songs Of Earth And Sea, As Time Goes By, A Place Apart, The Crowning Of The Year, and Heart's Ease, winner of an Indie Award in string music from NAIRD.
The Virginia Commission for the Arts has presented her with several touring artist grants and other organizations have awarded her for accomplishments within the dulcimer community.
Maddie is the editor and publisher of a quarterly journal, Dulcimer Players News, which goes to 4,000 subscribers world-wide.