Entertainment
 

Interested in performing at our Festival in 2020?

Contact Paul Wikarski, Entertainment Director 

Click envelope icon below to email with inquiries.

Check out our 2019 Entertainment below!

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House of Hamill

Rose Baldino and Brian Buchanan met 10 years ago, late one night backstage at a theatre in rural Pennsylvania.

Brian's band Enter the Haggis and Rose's group Burning Bridget Cleary were sharing a stage that evening, and the two bonded over a love of Irish fiddle tunes, Radiohead, and 4 AM whiskey. Their paths crossed a dozen times over the next decade on the road, but it wasn't until the Folk Alliance 2014 conference in Kansas City that they finally became musical collaborators. 

Burning Bridget Cleary's guitarist and drummer had their flights canceled at the last minute, and in desperation, Rose asked Brian to grab a guitar and join her onstage. The two performed with virtually no rehearsal for over an hour, and their connection was powerful and immediate. A few months later Brian moved from Canada to Philadelphia, and as a tribute to the first tune Rose ever taught Brian, House of Hamill was born.

Both Baldino and Buchanan are accomplished traditional fiddle players and classical violinists, with over 25 years of writing and performance experience between them. Together, they write unusual new fiddle tunes and exciting, unpredictable original songs while breathing new life into traditional and contemporary songs. Both are confident and unique lead vocalists, and the blend of their two voices in harmony is hypnotic and irresistible.

Whether House of Hamill is playing songs from their debut album "Wide Awake" (2016) or stomping through a set of original jigs and reels from their follow-up "March Through Storms" (2018), their chemistry onstage is always engaging and often hilarious. In the summer of 2018, their quirky all-violin cover of "Sweet Child Of Mine" went viral, amassing over 15 million views and more than 400,000 shares on Facebook in just a few weeks, and was picked up by publications all over the world.

House of Hamill is on the bleeding edge of a new generation of traditional musicians.

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Thunderwüde

Thunderwüde is a Chelsea based bluegrass trio fronted by singer/songwriter Jason Dennie. His masterfully crafted songs have become staples of the Thunderwüde experience as he draws from his 20 plus years as a professional musician.


The energetic Wesley Fritzemeier is the perfect counterpart to Dennie as he dazzles with his incredible prowess on both the mandolin and fiddle. The two musicians intertwine beautifully as seemingly effortless harmonies are brought to life both vocally and instrumentally. The glue between all of the beauty is Tommy
Reifel on the upright bass. These three everyday working musicians have made this project a labor of love and patience and have been rewarded with a 4 year residency at their hometown brewery, and look forward to spreading the good wüde for as long as time allows them.

The Kreellers

The Motor City's own, The Kreellers bring a blood pumping, high energy brand of Celtic Rock that fuses traditional sensibility with modern rock, funk, and punk stylings.  After 6 long years, The Kreellers are reuniting for two shows only , And are very excited to have included the Saline Celtic Festival as part of their East West reunion tour! 

Crossbow Band

Crossbow

From a casual jam session at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) to becoming a popular favorite at Celtic festivals across the Midwest, CrossBow has been humbled and excited by every turn on their musical journey. 

Co-founding fiddlers, Steve Lesko and Carly Meloche, met in their high school Celtic band, the Chelsea House Orchestra. This extracurricular group also produced fiddlers Kiana Weber (formerly of Gaelic Storm) and Diana Ladio (of The Moxie Strings and The Elders), among many other talented musicians.

CrossBow has spent the last six years carving out their place and following in the Michigan Celtic scene and have begun to venture to the rest of the Midwestern states and broader music festivals. Some of their highlight festivals appearances include the Michigan Irish Music Festival (2013-Present), La Crosse Irish Fest (WI), Ford Arts, Beats and Eats, (MI, 2016-Present), and the Detroit Highland Games, the oldest continuous games in North America (2017-Present).

While CrossBow can be heard at music festivals and Irish pubs across the Midwest, much of the thrill in experiencing a CrossBow performance actually transcends the music itself. This excitement stems from the contagious joy and camaraderie shared between the players, and communicated directly with their audience. Apparent from the moment they hit the stage – these high-energy musicians naturally feed off of one another, creating a dynamic, wholly unique performance that shouldn’t be missed. By incorporating pop and classic folk tunes into their set list, today CrossBow delivers a distinct, eclectic vibe that still remains true to their Celtic roots, appealing to audiences of all ages.

With the combination of their distinctive sound and attention-grabbing stage presence, they're able to draw a crowd almost anywhere they play. Whether it's opening or closing the entertainment at a festival, rocking weddings and private house concerts, or taking over a pub, they're right at home wherever they perform. 

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Brother Crowe

Derek Wikarski – Lead vocals, harmonica, bodhran, mandolin
Paul Wikarski – Guitar, banjo, fiddle, bodhran, vocals

​Hailing from Detroit—and damn proud of it—Brother Crowe has hammered through over 100 shows in a year, sometimes playing three gigs in a day. But now is their time to shine. The band consists of two brothers, Derek (vocals/harmonica/bodhran) and Paul (guitars/banjo/vocals). Brother Crowe’s purpose, is honing in on a New Indie Folk/Bluegrass sound that still possesses a somewhat traditional Celtic style. Paul, who along with his brother was influenced by his father’s love of Folk and Celtic music, is dubbed Brother Crowes’ main songwriter. The duo works on music together, jamming out the skeletons of tunes until they’re finished. “Derek will then fine tune some of the melodies and the lyrics a little bit, “Paul says. “He’s the one singing them. There are a few things that he’ll truncate or maybe he’ll change a phrase up, add a half verse or a full verse from what I originally wrote. The songs definitely go through an element where we pound them into shape.” The focus for Brother Crowe has been on original music, while trying to branch a tad outside of the box. This is the time for Brother Crowe, with the influx of indie folk acts on the radio. “People like Mumford and Sons and the Avett Brothers come out and they have these different instruments in bands that people don’t know about and they’re making it mainstream,” Derek says. “It’s nothing to turn on the radio and hear a banjo, a harmonica, a mandolin, or even a fiddle.” Their music is going down favorably at local venues as well as well-attended festivals. That’s where Brother Crowe is at their finest. “There’s an element of spontaneity at festivals,” Derek says. “We really engage the crowd. It’s really fun that we don’t ever play the same stuff twice when we do the gigs. People love it and we love it.”

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The Codgers

The Codgers are an Americana band who formed in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit in 2006. They once sparked a crowd surfing incident at Mario's restaurant.

Nessa

Nessa brings the best kind of surprise to any music event. Combining whimsy with serious musicianship, Nessa can put audiences into a trance or up on their feet dancing. The music is Celtic inspired, but presented in a new and unique way. Spicing things up with African, Caribbean, and Eastern flavors, Kelly McDermott and her band bring charm and delight to listeners of all ages.

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Paddy's Cure

It was January 2010... With pint in hand, St. Patrick’s Day looming, and a local pub owner’s ear, Paddy’s Cure was conceived. Originally a loose collaboration of five West Michigan musicians with a handful of Irish tunes, Paddy’s Cure assembled as a band without a name and without expectations. The crowd’s reaction that St. Patrick’s Day was hypnotic. Now a seasoned five-piece with a complete repertoire of Irish classics, modern-day favorites, and originals, Paddy’s Cure has endeared themselves to folks at some of the coolest pubs, festivals, and private events around Michigan.

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The Barley Saints

From the humble pub song, to the majestic Irish reel, the Barley Saints specialize in up-tempo, foot-stomping versions of all your favorite Scottish and Irish tunes.  

 

Founded in Muskegon MI, the Saints are a hard-driving, five-piece, Celtic rock band consisting of Scott Sheldon, folk and Irish singer/songwriter with years of experience performing locally, Ray Veen, a session musician, playing the mandolin, banjo, and Irish bouzouki, and superstar fiddle prodigy Hannah Kroll.  On guitar, Justin Brady, the rock and roll madman who’s played all the instruments, in all the bands, for all the years.  And last but not least, on percussion, Will “Shyne” Vauters, half-man/half-machine/and a third-half monster.  (Good luck not dancing while he’s playing.)

 

The Barley Saints have each taken a solemn vow to play everything as loud and as fast as possible, so they are definitely NOT your grandmother's Celtic band.  If you brought her to a show though, chances are, she'd really enjoy herself.  Plus the band would love to meet her.

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Black Murray

Bubba Wilson: Hey! I’m Bubba. I grew up down in Dundee Michigan, and I’ve been playing instruments of various shapes and sizes since about 2005. I was a professional guitarist in a few blues and rock bands until I met Grace and Allan, who promptly shoved a mandolin in my hand and put me to work in their merry band of acoustic musicians. The ride has been amazing so far, and I can’t wait to see where this road takes us all.

Veronica Cieri: Hi, I'm V! I've been playing violin since I was 7 and started fiddling 10 years ago when I began busking on the streets of Kalamazoo. Since then I've been lucky enough to play in a few bands and continue learning new tunes. When I'm not fiddling you can find me enjoying a whiskey and/or the company of my cat, Teddy.

Grace Chung: I’m the band mom and have actually been accused of being the biological mom more than once. Go figure! I have played piano since age 5 and began percussion training on the tabla. Besides my husband and family, one of my great loves has been musical theater. Now I am acting and singing Irish - great fun!

Allan McMillan: Allan McMillan here. I play guitars in various tunings for Black Murray. In my non-band life, I teach high school English and theatre in Wyandotte, where I have lived for... a really long time.  Not so long ago, I met Grace Chung, who seduced me and bamboozled me. We’re married now…

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Saline Fiddlers

America’s premier youth fiddling show band from Saline, Michigan, astounds audiences every time the group takes the stage. The musicians, all from Saline High School, present an energetic and polished show that features a diverse range of music from American folk, fiddle, bluegrass, jazz, western swing, and Celtic traditions. Spirited vocals and Appalachian step dancing combine with the instrumentals to create an unforgettable live performance.

 

Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic is a music education and performance organization with IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable designation. The group is supported by countless hours of volunteer labor, student tuition, sales of recordings, fees for performing, and donations from its many dedicated fans. This support allows the members of Saline Fiddlers Philharmonic to share their joy of traditional forms of music, song, and dance with audiences of all ages, and to preserve this music for future generations.

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Chelsea House Orchestra

Musically, CHO (Chelsea House Orchestra) provides a varied and colorful performance repertoire with the majority of the music derived from traditional Celtic sources. However, other folk music sources are used to provide students with an eclectic musical experience.

The basic philosophy of the arrangements is to allow everyone in the group to enjoy Celtic music as much as possible. Consequently, the majority of the playing is melody based with very little inner harmony or separate part writing. This truly provides students a contrasting experience from their normal school orchestra.

All music is memorized and arrangements often evolve from rehearsals and suggestions from students. Individuals are showcased through the use of solos, duos, and special features.

Students are also encouraged to learn other instruments such as mandolin, guitar, bodhran, djembe, cajon, various folk percussion, bass, bouzouki and anything else they can think of that has a folk connection.

 

History

  • Jed Fritzemeier started CHO (Chelsea House Orchestra) in 1996 with 10 students.

  • Within 3 years, the group was performing on Celtic Festival stages and fairs throughout the region.

  • Venues include Alma Highland Games, St. Andrews Highland Games, Saline Celtic Festival, Scottish Society of Southwestern Michigan, Kalamazoo Irish Festival, and Edinboro, Pennsylvania Highland Games, as well as many varied festivals around the Midwest

  • Fall and spring performances on their own stage in Chelsea, Michigan

  • CHO has performed on stage with Barrage, Jerry Holland, Simon Mayor and Hilary James, Bowfire, and Pub Domain.

 
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Dance Troupes

The CommonWealth Dance Collective

The CommonWealth Dance Collective (CDC) is an ensemble of step dancers based in lower Michigan.  Founded by Sheila Graziano in 2004, the CDC presents a review of many styles of percussive dance, including Irish, Appalachian, English, Canadian, American tap, historic routines and original choreography.  

 

The members of  The CommonWealth Dance Collective delight in capturing the spirits of the past and the present with equal enthusiasm, and sharing the joy of many cultures through dance.   Performing and teaching hold equivalent value for the members of this group.

 

The core CDC dancers are Adam Wheeler, Alina Soltis, Emily Evans, and Sheila Graziano.  The CommonWealth’s musicians are Brad Battey (fiddle) and Myron Grant (guitar, harmonica).

Motor City Irish Dance

The Motor City Irish Dance Company is the Irish dance entertainment arm of our organization. We train to entertain and showcase the very best that Irish dance has to offer. Our group can be booked for all manner of shows, from weddings and cultural shows to charity fundraisers and cooperate events. And unlike other Irish dance troupes, we also include live singers and musicians into our sets to bring a level of authenticity and charm that uniquely defines our style.

Our company trains intensively to prepare both solo and group choreography for eye-catching on-stage performances. Many of these performances include specially-choreographed show pieces in addition to traditional Irish dance forms. And some of these performances even have their own unique costumes too. Maybe you’ve seen us at Irish Heritage Night at Comerica Park in the cute “Tigers-inspired” Irish dance dresses?

Ann Arbor Morris Dancers

Morris is a lively, noisy, colorful folk dance that comes from England, with origins dating back to sometime between Chaucer and Shakespeare. Dancers wear bells on their legs, and wave white handkerchiefs or clash sticks as they execute intricate figures, to the accompaniment of accordions and fiddles.

The Ann Arbor Morris team has performed in the streets, fairs, and parties of Ann Arbor since 1976.

Brad Battey, Fiddle

Myron Grant, Guitar

 

Pipes & Drums

Several bands will perform at this year’s Saline Celtic Festival. These bands represent the best in Michigan and generally place in the top positions in local competitions such as the games at Alma, MI and the St. Andrew’s games in Livonia, MI.

 

This year's bands include: Cabar Feidh Pipes and Drums (Royal Oak, MI); Glen Erin Pipe Band (Lansing, MI); Flint Scottish Pipe Band (Flint, MI); and Motor City Pipes and Drums (Troy, MI).

The massed bands, under the leadership of Senior Drum Major Kerry Monzo, will lead the Opening Ceremony at about 11:00 am with a processional through the Festival grounds. Each band will perform a 1/2 hour concert at the Glasgow stage at the top of each hour starting at 2:00 pm. A final Massed Bands will occur at 5:00 pm on the athletic fields.

NEW for 2019: The OSAS Smallpipers Fellowship!  12:00 pm Saturday on the Glasgow Stage

The OSAS Smallpipers Fellowship is made up from several Highland pipe students from the Ohio Scottish Arts School, along with a few friends who gather several times a year to play Scottish smallpipes together.   Our efforts are concentrated on furthering our knowledge and understanding of the history, repertoire and performance of the Scottish smallpipes.  It’s not uncommon for a set of Northumbrian smallpipes or border pipes to show up as well.

© 2019 Friends of the Saline Celtic Festival.

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