On November 20, 1982, approximately 12 people attended an informational meeting at the invitation of Les Slaughter, owner of Whitewater Dulcimer Company. Les had sent 100 fliers to prospective members.
On December 4, 1982, an organizational meeting was held. Robert and Barbara Rowan gave us our club name. Mary Parker, Bob and Lois Liggett were to develop the Bylaws. The first slate of officers were elected; they were: President - Pam Batson, Vice President - David Vincent, Secretary - Lois Liggett, Treasurer - Janet Carol, and Historian - Phil LaFoe.
It was decided that meetings would be held the second Saturday of each month. From 1983 to 2015, the GPDA had four different meeting places and continued to grow. Two yearly events were added to the calendar: The Iron Horse Club Benefit, which became the Spring Fun(d) Raiser, and the Winfield Warm-Up Picnic. Both events attracted people from all parts of the state. The Warm-Up Picnic has attracted national and international guests as well. Another popular event, the January Winter Retreat, was added in later years.
Eventually the GPDA began to publish a monthly newsletter, called "Strings and Things" by Bob Liggett, to keep members up to date on Club happenings. Later on, the volunteer ensemble was named by Lois Liggett and Paula Murray, and the Kansas Prairie Strings was born. The GPDA is home to many state, regional and national contest winners, competitors and champions. These accomplishments of club members, past and present, have been a source of pride to the GPDA.
The founders of the Great Plains Dulcimer Alliance were dedicated to keeping alive the art of playing Hammered and Mountain Dulcimers, acoustic instruments of all types, and the playing of Folk and Traditional music. As of January 2016, founding members still on the membership rolls are Rogena Allison, Lois Liggett, Les Slaughter, and Leona Smith.