Keeping it Celtic Meet the Band
EVAN MERKLIN- 19 years old, Evan plays the fiddle (plus vocals) for the band. Evan is currently attending Chemeketa Community College in pursuit of a degree in music education. He has been playing fiddle for a long time and brings his signature high energy and dry humor to the band that always keeps the audience on their toes. Evan is also the band's sound engineer, leading the way through the recording of Keeping it Celtic's new CD.
NOAH VANDERBURGH- Noah is the group's lead male singer and plays the bodhran drum as well as the penny whistle. 18 years old, Noah has been singing in school choirs for 5 years now, and plans to continue into college at Oregon State University, where he will be pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. He has been in several high school theatre productions and combines his experience as a performer with his great work ethic to make sure the band is always at its best. Noah hopes to someday work for NASA or Boeing to design aircraft.
SUSAN VASLEV- Susan plays hammered dulcimer (plus vocals) and is the oldest member of the group...much older. Susan is part of the family that has created the Enchanted Forest theme park. She composes and records all the music for the park and has composed several songs for Possibly Irish. Susan used to be a touring harpsichordist and has a music degree from the University of Oregon and post graduate studies in Paris, France. She also directs and writes the musical theatre shows and all of the music heard at Enchanted Forest (other than the traditional Irish music.)
SAMANTHA OWlINGS- Samantha (Sami for short) sings lead female vocals and plays the Celtic harp, which her father made for her. The wood was all cut from within 10 miles of her home in Aurora, so it is truly an Oregon harp. At 18, Sami is the youngest member of the band. Her classically trained voice helps balance out the other guys when things get little too pirate-y. Sami is a senior at Canby High school but spends most of her free time practicing one of the many instruments she plays or planning an outing to the next Renaissance fair in the area.
TIMOTHY WARD- Tim plays guitar and sings backup male lead vocals. He is 18 years old and entering his third year of college at Western Oregon University. Tim, Noah and Evan love performing in the Western Town at the Enchanted Forest every morning together. Tim started out in the theatre at Enchanted Forest, but when auditions opened for Keeping it Celtic he didn't hesitate. He loves performing Irish music because of the elaborate stories told by the songs. A storyteller at heart, Tim can bring out whatever emotion he needs to make the music perfect.
HOW THE BAND MEMBERS DESCRIBE EACH OTHER EVAN I don't think I've ever seen him get upset by anything. He's very cool and collected even when things go wrong in the middle of a show; he's the ideal performing partner. Very hard-working, humble, and overall a great friend. He's a great guy, always ready to either crack a hilarious joke or to buckle down and get work done. I'm pretty sure he plays every single instrument ever, I mean, he's learning the electric mandolin right now if that says anything. He might not talk much during the show but when he does it's hilarious! I honestly wouldn't be surprised if he ends up running the largest recording studio ever sometime in the future, he's got an incredible amount of technical knowledge which, combined with his highly attuned ear for music, makes him a recording powerhouse. Working with him in the studio is like a dream come true. NOAH An overachiever if we've ever seen one, when he isn't performing in the band at Enchanted Forest he's working in the office or running errands or designing advertisements for the park, he's nonstop. His voice might not make it to the end of a day of shows, but even then it's killer! He is always trying new things while we are rehearsing that we end up adding to the songs because they sound so good Sometimes he gets a little carried away with one of his ideas, but it always ends up becoming something productive regardless of how off track he gets. He's always cracking jokes and making puns about everything, sometimes it's annoying, but it's usually pretty funny. Respectful and responsible are what comes to mind, he loves to goof off and have fun but always knows when it's time to be serious and focus. SUSAN Best boss ever. Susan is probably the most patient person I know, when we get up to mischief she just lets us do our thing and always knows how to keep things in control and on schedule. She is passionate about everything she does, dedicated to making everything better, and is very leaderly, is that a word? An idea person, and she is always overly excited about any idea she has, both bad and fantastic. She has the power to make things happen. You like to draw caricatures? Great! Let's do it on the streets of Enchanted Forest tomorrow and sell the paintings. You want to play washboard and guitar? Great! Go up to the western town today, plug in a mic and amp and perform. Things happen immediately around her. She has so much more life experience than the rest of us. Things will come out of her mouth like they are no big deal, like, "when I was performing in Paris", and you just do a double take. It's so cool. She is the only one of us old enough to be able to mingle in a bar (we can just perform,) so that automatically puts her in change of some things, so yeah, she's the boss of us. But, it's still a democracy. SAMANTHA A fountain of optimism; she is very honest and fun-loving but takes her craft very seriously so you know when she cares about something she'll stop at nothing to perfect it. She's a hybrid between a hippie and prep school girl if that's possible; Very dedicated to being very open and relaxed. We honestly don't know what color her eyes are, she wears a new color of contacts every day She is very much in tune with nature, she often walks around barefoot and often wears earthen tones, she's a nature girl. She's so much fun to be around! Always telling stories or showing us new techniques or styles she's applying to her playing. She makes sure everybody is included in everything she does, whether you like it or not! TIMOTHY He's just genuinely a great guy, what you see is what you get with him, and THAT VOICE! Tim is such a teddy bear, he's nice to everyone regardless of how long he's known them. We keep telling him to add some color to his outfit but he just replies: "My personality IS the color" He's already a junior in college but he's 18, so obviously he loves working and striving to be better. Tim is always respectful of the other bandmates' opinions (which is important when you're in a room full of performers), he can tell you you're doing something wrong in a way that you'll be the one thanking him and you won't even know he did it. I honestly have never met a person more invested in their art than Tim; he started learning how to play the guitar a month before auditions were held for the band, and he hasn't stopped improving since. FUN FACTS -are they a family? Nope! We just share a love for Irish music. -Keeping it Celtic is the second Irish band at the Enchanted Forest, the other being our sister band, Possibly Irish -Almost every day we are playing a new song we just heard or learning something for fun -Although he wears all black, Timothy is probably the nicest member of the band. -Sami wears a different outfit every day, see if you can collect em all! -We love audience participation! If you have something to say to us during a show, say it! HOW KEEPING IT CELTIC STARTED Keeping it Celtic formed in May 2016 after Susan realized having just one Irish Band at Enchanted Forest wouldn't be enough to satisfy the crowds that continually filled the performance hall at the park. After a week of auditions Sue had decided on Evan, Noah, and Tim, but knew the band still needed more. Just then Sue received an email from a high school harpist from Canby, Oregon; Samantha. She made the long drive down to Turner to audition and Sue instantly knew she had found the missing piece of the puzzle. Since then the band has been performing twice a week and recording for their new CD for 3 hours after work each day, and they can't wait to do it all again next season!