Other Pamplin Media Group sites


No Foolin: Celtic band will have you dancing a jig

by: NIKI KRAUS PHOTO - Triur Amadan band members from left include, Royce Schlenker, Michael McGinnis, Kent Wright, Jon Granby, and Joe Baumann.With hearty vocals and a wealth of musical experience, the Triur Amadan Irish/Celtic band from Madras has been growing in popularity, as it performs for Celtic festivals and Irish brew pubs around Oregon.

Locals will get the chance to hear them Friday, Aug. 23, 5:30 p.m., at the Airshow of the Cascades in Madras, along with the fish and chips dinner and twilight plane performances.

Triur Amadan, which means “three fools” in Gaelic, was started by a bunch of dropouts. Madras residents Michael McGinnis, Jon Granby and Royce Schlenker had been playing with the multimember band Queen Lorene and the Skillet Lickers, then one by one dropped out for other pursuits.

“I was enjoying music more and more, and playing one night a week wasn’t enough. So, I asked Royce and Jon if they wanted to start a strumstick band,” McGinnis said, explaining that a strumstick is a three-stringed instrument that’s easy and fun.

After three sessions with the strumsticks, something clicked, and the men added other instruments, focused on Irish tunes and Triur Amadan, the Three Fools, was born. McGinnis, who also juggles and has the joking personality of a jester, or “fool,” came up with the name.

When Granby invited Madras guitarist Kent Wright to join them, McGinnis joked, “Despite being four, we kept the name, explaining that it meant that one of us was not a fool.”

The four played for two years, building their repertoire, number of appearances, and turning out a CD “Triur Amadan – The Three Fools,” produced by another local musician, George Klos.

Then last September, Joe Baumann, 25, who teaches music at Metolius Elementary through the Ethos program, saw a coworker giving violin lessons to McGinnis. “I thought that would be a great group to play recorder with, and asked to be introduced,” Baumann said.

With his recorder taking the place of an Irish whistle, Baumann was soon a member of the clan, even if he didn’t quite know what he was getting into. “I didn’t realize the band was playing gigs. I thought we would just hang out and play together,” Baumann laughed, adding, “It turned out that Jon is really good at contacting people and getting gigs.”

The mix has been good and they have a great time playing, Granby said. “We all get along really well, in spite of the vast age difference. I am the oldest at 67, and Joe is the youngest at 25.”

The band members have an impressive amount of musical training and experience.

Royce Schlenker

A teacher in Montana, Culver and the 509-J District for 33 years, Schlenker taught music for 11 years, computer classes for six years, and was a school counselor for 15 years. He currently teaches at Madras COCC.

He has a master’s degree in music education, and plays the trombone, guitar, mandolin, bass, and sings. He also plays with the Box Canyon Bluegrass Band, and plays in the worship team at the Madras United Methodist Church.

Michael McGinnis

A recently retired teacher, McGinnis taught P.E. in Warm Springs and Madras, and was beloved by students for his sense of humor, juggling lessons, and theatrical bent, such as dressing up like the “Grinch” and reciting the book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

He grew up singing, which gave him the ability to learn and remember lyrics easily, and plays the bodhran (an Irish drum), violin, banjo, and is the band’s lead singer.

With a name like McGinnis, he definitely has Irish ancestry, and has visited Ireland for a month.

Jon Granby

Raised in the town of Talent, Ore., it was inevitable that Granby would become a performer. He was a close-cropped Oregon State Police trooper for 24 years, never imagining that one day he’d be wearing a kilt and sporting a beard and longer hair.

Coming from a musical family, Granby said his dad played fiddle and banjo. His third-grade teacher gave his whole class harmonica lessons, which came in handy later, and he played the clarinet in junior high.

He now plays the banjo, dobro, dulcimer, concertina, penny whistle, kick bass drum, and has 10 harmonicas in different major and minor keys, in addition to singing.

“My favorite challenge is playing the five-string banjo, while simultaneously playing the harmonica with a neck mount,” he said.

“It’s also been a real challenge trying to memorize the lyrics of all these songs,” he added, noting they now have a repertoire of around 70 songs.

Other bands he has played with include the Outhouse Singers, Queen Lorene and the Skillet Lickers, and Box Canyon Bluegrass.

Kent Wright

Wright played in a heavy metal band, and acoustic hippy jam band in high school, and now sings and plays guitar and some bodhran in Triur Amadan.

A former Madras businessman, he helped organize a local Oktoberfest with German music in the fall, then cooked up “bangers and mash” for hungry crowds at the Celtic Fest when it was held in Madras.

A year ago, not too long after he “joined up with these hooligans” in Triur Amadan, Wright moved to Wilsonville, but has managed to continue playing with the band, traveling to Madras for practices.

In 2011, Wright and his wife Any spent a month in Ireland, traveled over 2,800 miles and took 5,000 photos. Wright has self-published a book “Behind the Doors of Ireland,” available on the Amazon website.

“The last two years have been a wondrous musical journey for myself, and playing with Jon, Michael, Royce and Joe is one of those things in life I am really happy that I was caught up in. Michael even says playing live music helps stave off Alzheimer’s syndrome,” Wright said.

Joe Baumann

Hailing from Duluth, Minn., with a German last name, Bauman said he doesn’t have Celtic ancestry, but really likes the music.

In high school and college, he played trombone in concert bands, but aside from an impromptu band formed with other Ethos teachers, he had never played in a band to entertain people before Triur Amadan.

With a bachelor’s degree in music education-instrumental, Baumann was originally intending to be a band teacher, but now teaches singing and general music in Metolius. Besides the recorder, he also plays the guitar, trombone and can somewhat play all other band instruments.

Since Bauman wasn’t with the band when members cut their first CD, he is looking forward to their next release they’ll be working on this fall. “I have a whole bunch of friends and family from Minnesota who keep asking me for a CD, but I’m not on the current one,” he laughed.

The band play for an enthusiastic crowd at Mc Menamins.Now in their third year as a band, Triur Amadan plays at engagements around Oregon in addition to playing at local restaurants, churches, schools and events. “The band has played in many venues including the High and Dry Bluegrass Festival, High Desert Celtic Society Festival, McMenamins Edgefield winery in Troutdale, and Maher’s Irish Pub in Lake Oswego, to name a few,” Schlenker said.

The more they’ve performed, the more they’ve polished their music and costumes.

“Earlier on, when someone made a mistake, like forgetting lyrics, we might have just stopped or panicked. But now, we are gaining the ability to keep playing and recover from whatever it is that happened, so the audience may not even notice,” Granby said.

Of their outfits, Baumann said he borrowed a shirt and hat from Granby. “It’s almost like a pirate shirt. I don’t have much Celtic gear – it costs too much for an Ethos’ teacher’s stipend,” he said of the spendy wool kilts and leather vests.

Granby enjoys dressing the part of an Irishman. While he is not of Irish ancestry, his wife’s family is connected to the Stewarts. “So, she bought me a kilt made in Scotland of the Royal Stewart Clan. I also have another kilt of blue hues, which is the nationally accepted law enforcement weave,” he said.

“I wear a kilt when we play,” McGinnis said, adding. “Mine has the plaid of County Cork, which I picked because that was where my maternal grandmother’s family was from.

Their St. Patrick’s Day gig at McMenamins in Lake Oswego was a big success, and they’ve been asked back on Sept. 14, for a Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

One reason for Triur Amadan’s popularity is that almost all of their music has singing, whereas other Celtic bands in Oregon do mostly instrumental music.

Triur Amadan also varies it lineup with American folk songs, some modern songs, and even an Australian song, depending on the crowd.

Audience participation is a big part of their act, and the more they see people enjoying themselves, the better the band plays.

“Our greatest enjoyment at McMenamins was to see folks dancing to our music, especially the little kids and their parents who were out there kicking it up,” Granby said, noting McGinnis has a wonderful ability to relate to kids, and can get them up front dancing, clapping and singing along.

At the High Desert Celtic Festival, where they performed Aug. 10, Wright said, “We had a hullaballoo of a time. We even had Angus Richardson from the group `Brother’ join us on stage for a rousing number of the Aussie hit `Land Down Under.’ It was a blast.”

After the air show, the band will appear at the Little Woody – Beer and Whiskey Festival in Bend on Aug. 31, then McMenamins Edgefield in Troutdale, Sept. 14. People can follow their schedule on the band’s Facebook page, or purchase copies of their CD there or by contacting HYPERLINK "mailto: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. " This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Wherever Triur Amadan plays, the audience is sure to be entertained and come away smiling. “We take our music seriously, but not ourselves, and having fun is what we want for the audience,” McGinnis said, observing, “I’m a jester at heart.”



Local Weather

Fair

54°F

Madras

Fair

Humidity: 75%

Wind: 3 mph

  • 28 Aug 2014

    Mostly Sunny 88°F 52°F

  • 29 Aug 2014

    Mostly Sunny 84°F 48°F