THE LUTHERAN CEILI ORCHESTRA was formed at St. Marcus Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mark Jeske has been the iconic pastor there for over 20 years. A purveyor of Irish music (he plays the bozouki and acoustic guitar), he founded the group in the early 1990s. "The Lutheran Ceili Orchestra" traditionally assembled annually for an all-Irish service there every March, around St. Patrick's Sunday. This special service was meant from the beginning to encourage awareness of the history of the Christian faith in ancient Ireland, as well as introduce the rich Celtic tradition of fantastic hymns and riveting music. I joined the group while attending Wisconsin Lutheran College in 2000 and was totally inspired by the concept. Over the next few years, I met many other Celtic-style musicians in other Lutheran Churches in the area, notably Gloria Schroeder, a fantastic fiddler from Faith Lutheran Church in Fond du Lac. I called her up one December to play a tune or two at Faith during their Christmas Candlelight Service. It was meant to be a one-time thing, but instead we were surprised by a strong, positive response. I started thinking that maybe this would be something that other churches would appreciate as well. So a few of THE LUTHERAN CEILI ORCHESTRA's core members started touring around to other churches during the year to spread our unique blend of Lutheran Hymns with traditional Celtic Tunes.
Then in 2006 I was invited to arrange and play a Celtic version of a hymn chosen by the graduating class at The Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, Wisconsin. This is a training school for pastors in the Lutheran Church. Its graduation services are attending by hundreds of pastors each year. Afterwards - to God's glory - requests to play at various churches started pouring in.
A few years later, we've been all over the country playing our music and sharing the story of Celtic Christianity on Sunday mornings. In the summer of 2009, after months of research, I finished THE CELTIC SERVICE, a liturgical worship service based on the traditions, writings, and music of the earliest Christians in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. I continue to be amazed each week by what a special thing God has turned this ministry into. Conversations with exhilarated Christians after these services have encouraged me to write a second and third Celtic Service as well as a Celtic Advent Service, again based on more of the wealth of historical information available about Christianity in the ancient Celtic Lands. TLCO is working on recording all the music from these services onto a series of CDs entitled "Music From The Celtic Service."
If you'd be interested in having THE LUTHERAN CEILI ORCHESTRA play at your church or event, send us an email through the CONTACT PAGE. Thanks!
THE LUTHERAN CEILI ORCHESTRA's traveling group includes:
Joey Schumann: Uilleann Bagpipes, Tinwhistle, Keyboards, Duduk
Amanda Rose: Vocals - (CLICK HERE FOR AMANDA ET AL'S "HOLY HEN HOUSE")
Kirsten Probst: Vocals
Gloria Schroeder: Fiddle - (CLICK HERE FOR INFO ON GLORIA'S OTHER BAND)
Alicia Mose: Fiddle - (CLICK HERE FOR ALICIA'S WEBSITE)
Emily Warnke: Harp
Andrew Ruh: Acoustic Guitar
Mel Schumann: Bodhran
With appearances by...
Mikaela Sullivan: Irish Dancer
Martha Kitzrow: Vocals
Mark McCormick: Narration
Megan Buschkopf: Fiddle
Rebecca Brunoehler: Fiddle
Jake Brunoehler: Djembe, Acoustic Guitar
Katie Lutz: Cello
Jeff Krumbein: Piano
Pastor Mark Jeske: Bouzouki, Acoustic Guitar
We'd love to play at your church! Drop us an email by clicking HERE!