Neal Hellman, a nationally acclaimed performer and teacher of the mountain dulcimer has been active in performing, writing, teaching, and recording acoustic music for the past 40 years. An original composition, written by Neal and performed by Jay Unger and Molly Mason, is featured on the Ken Burns production Not for Ourselves Alone. Neal has placed several other tracks on the films of Ken Burns including Horatio's Drive, National Parks: America's Best Idea, and The Dust Bowl (2012). As founder, director, and one of the primary artists of the Gourd Music record label, Neal has produced over fifty recordings including Simple Gifts, The Fairie Round, Tender Shepherd, The World Turned Upside Down, and Jefferson's Fiddle, creating a uniquely distinctive sound, featuring a variety of acoustic instrumental ensembles, rich in texture and tonal color. Neal was music director for a production of The Grapes of Wrath, which played at The Crocker Theater at Cabrillo College in 2009, and in 2013 he produced: A Musical Celebration of the Life and Times of John Steinbeck which was performed at The Kuumbwa Jazz Center and The National Steinbeck Center. He served as a musical designer for the Conner McPherson play, The Weir which ran at The Jewel Theater in Santa Cruz in February 2022.