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September 17, 1999

Titanic's 'Steerage Band' Returning to UW-RF

Back for the second year by popular demand, the Irish quintet Gaelic Storm, which was featured as the "Steerage Band" in the movie Titanic, will perform at UW-River Falls on Monday, Oct. 4.

The band will perform a one-night concert at 8 p.m. in the North Hall Auditorium. The concert is $2 for UW-RF students and $5 for the general public. Tickets can be purchased one week in advance at the Information Desk of the Hagestad Student Center.

Gaelic Storm's appearance is part of this year's Helen and Walker Wyman and Performance Series, which is featuring special performances to celebrate UW-RF's 125th anniversary.

"Gaelic Storm is the most entertaining group I have ever seen!" noted Kaye Schendel, who coordinates the Wyman Series. "They keep the audience on the edge of their seats with laughter and foot-stomping music. They're just spectacular."

The members are Patrick Murphy, from Cork City, Ireland, on lead vocals, spoons, harmonica, and accordion; Steve Wehmeyer, born in Olean, New York, on bodhran, and vocals; Steve Twigger, hailing from Coventry, England, on the guitar, mandolin, and vocals; Samantha Hunt, originally from Zambia, Africa, on the fiddle; and Shep Lonsdale, from London, England, on djembe.

Great music united the band members one night in Santa Monica, Calif. "Nothing brings people together like Irish music. That's where we found ourselves laughing with each other and talking mostly about music," recollects Lonsdale. "The music made us feel welcome in a city of strangers, playing together the music that we loved."

The thundering tunes of the band attracted Randy Gerston, the music producer of James Cameron's Titanic. Gerston wanted something raw, loose, and danceable to capture the personality of the steerage passengers.

After submitting a demo tape, the band found themselves in a whole new world. After their lively contribution to the scene of the immigrants' celebration, Gaelic Storm's popularity soared.

"We booked the band to come and play here on the only day they had open this whole year," Schendel related.

Last year's performance had UW-RF audience members dancing in the aisles and offering two standing ovations. The performance this year will prove to be just as good, says Schendel, who remembers: "They rocked North Hall."

For more information, call 715/425-4911.

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