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Springfield, Illinois, United States | INDIE

Springfield, Illinois, United States | INDIE
Band World Celtic




"Skibbereen Mixes the Green"

In Springfield, our recent Celtic legacy has a vibrant history, including bands The Emerald Underground, Exorna and Fake McCoys, groups like St. Andrew’s Society and Ogilvy Studio, plus events such as the St. Patrick’s Day parade, Highland Games and Robert Burns dinner. When Hank Helton, founder and organizer of Skibbereen, one of the latest music groups to arise from the scene, got his first taste of Irish music, he came slowly to the fold, yet now embraces the music wholeheartedly.

Other members of the band include Steve Emmons, Helton’s longtime cohort and keyboardist in their jazz combo Real Time, playing keys and supplementing with the accordion, an important instrument in Irish folk music. Mark Sanders and Steve Meyers, both former members of Mr. Opporknockity and other popular bands through the years, play drums and bass, respectively. Dishing out the all-important fiddle in the band is Megan Turner, a classically trained violinist with a distinct talent for fiddling the Celtic music, who also plays in Thistle and Thyme, a traditional folk group of acoustic players.

“We’re working on playing out more, extending our geographic reach, making it into Irish festivals in the Midwest,” says Helton. “We’re already planning on the next CD to be an all-acoustic, traditional set to showcase that side of the band, attempting to do something from each of the seven Celtic nations.”
(see full article at URL below)
- Illinois Times

"Skibbereen making multicultural Celtic music"

A whistle and fiddle over a lilting, rapid-fire “one-two-three, one-two-three” rhythm may be how many people identify Celtic music.

But Hank Helton of the Springfield band Skibbereen says the music has borrowed from all over the world — from the sounds the Celts picked up as they made their way west across Europe, to the music indigenous in the Caribbean and the Americas as the Irish immigrated across the Atlantic Ocean, and later the more urban sounds of jazz, R&B and rock ‘n’ roll.

So if Skibbereen sounds a little like a rock band on one song and a reggae band on another, it’s likely because the group is keeping alive the tradition of borrowing and adapting and finding new ways to arrange traditional tunes.

Skibbereen performs at an album release party for its debut “Tus” on Saturday at the Hoogland Center for the Arts, 420 S. Sixth St. Doors open at 7 p.m. (See full article on URL below) - State Journal-Register


Hank Helton, a former longtime member of The Emerald Underground, returns to the Celtic rock arena with a new group called Skibbereen debuting at J.P. Kelly’s Friday from 7 to 11 p.m. Hank covers vocals and guitar along with inspiration and direction, and recruited his longtime cohort Steve Emmons on keyboards, accordion and guitar (he also plays with Helton in the blues/jazz ensemble Real Time) with Mark Sanders on drums (formerly of Mr. Opporknockity fame and presently with PJ Summers Band), Eric Tinsley on bass (played and plays in several outstanding local acts) and Megan Turner on vocals and violin (also catch her in the traditional acoustic folk and Celtic act Thistle n’ Thyme with Joel Woehrmann and William Furry). The Elk’s Club Pipe and Drum Corps are scheduled to drop in for a walk through of bagpipes and drums to authenticate the experience in true Seven Nations fashion. Fáilte (welcome) to Skibbereen as the latest member of the growing Celtic scene in Springfield. - Illinois Times


Our new CD IS available for download on iTunes and Amazon and is also available from the Skibbereen store (please check our website as well as from CD Baby. We're beginning work on our second CD, tentative release in late summer 2012.



Megan Turner, violin, vocals
Megan began playing violin at the age of 12 while living in Virginia, her home state. She took private lessons there until moving to Florida at age 14 where she played in a school orchestra organized by her violin teacher at the time. When she was 16, she and her family moved to Decatur, IL where she continued studying violin with private lessons (she had three teachers, all from Millikin University) and also playing with the local youth symphony. After graduating from high school, Megan attended Millikin University, renowned for their fine music school and was given a full scholarship, studying both violin and vocal performance. She furthered her studies taking private lessons and also playing in the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra. After college, Megan studied with Tom LeVeck, from the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. She also traveled extensively to such places as Scotland, England and Nova Scotia. Most recently, she traveled to Italy in the summer of 2009 for a vocal music program called Music in the Marche.
Present day: Megan currently teaches violin in Springfield, IL and has ten students at present (and is always looking for more!). She also plays as a hired gun at weddings, funerals and whatever other happy occasion her services as violinist might bring her way. She also is a “ringer” for the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and also plays in an “on and off” basis for the Sangamon Valley Symphony Orchestra. As far as the Celtic music genre is concerned, Megan admits to being a newcomer, but is also totally enthralled with this style. She hears she will eventually rue the day that Hank stalked her while she was playing fiddle with her acoustic trio, Thistle and Thyme and forced her at gunpoint to join Skibbereen.

Steve Myers, bass guitar, vocals
“Mojave” – that pretty much sums Steve up in one word. With a sense of humor as dry as a desert, it is hard to take him seriously. And that’s what we call him, versus his status as being the second Steve in the group…and that would be O.S. for “other Steve!” He grew up in Beardstown, about 50 minutes west of Springfield, and was forever changed when he saw the cover to the KISS Alive II in one of his older brother’s record collection. However, it wasn’t until Van Halen 1984 was released that he was bitten by the musical bug. An avid sports fanatic, he ditched the ball glove for a guitar and pretty much stayed in his bedroom trying to learn every Ace Frehley and Eddie Van Halen lick. He’s sure his parents had many headaches. At the age of 15 he joined his first band and began playing junior high dances and the Beardstown bars with some classmates. After high school, he attended college at Illinois College in Jacksonville, and met up with some fellow musicians and started a band called 50 Naked Midgets, which played current rock hits focusing on Matchbox 20, Creed, and just about any other band that was hot around 1998. In August 2000, he moved to Springfield and auditioned for and became the bass player for Mr. Opporknockity, which had a hit with “Lisa’s Shirt”. This is when he figured out that as a bass player he could get a lot more gigs, but he confesses he had a lot of work to do to become a good bass player. Mr. Opporknockity played the Illinois scene relentlessly for several years, and in the midst of all this he married his beautiful wife Kristin.
At the moment, Mr. O gets together once or twice a year just to keep the rust and cobwebs from building up. For a couple years in the mid-2000s he was part of the party band, Captain Geech & the Shrimp-Shack Shooters, first as lead guitarist and then as its bass player. He left the group in 2006, 2 days before his daughter Marley came into the world. For several years he kept a low profile musically, focusing on raising his and Kristin’s daughter. He knew Skibbereen’s drummer, Mark Sanders from playing alongside him in Mr. Opporknockity so he called him and got his take on it. He said it would be a lot of fun. That’s all he needed to hear, and the chance to play with Mark again was too good to pass up. So, after a couple of rehearsals he joined Skibbereen as the new bass player and backing vocalist. In a live setting, he plays either a 5-string Ibanez through a Fender TV Duo Ten amp, and prefers Jameson on the rocks. Like Hank & Mark, he has nice hair. He hopes to see you at the next Celeidh!!

Mark Sanders, drums, percussion, vocals
Solid, Professional, Reliable…..those are the traits that have kept this drummer/percussionist in demand for over 30 years in the music business. From recording sessions to touring bands, Mark has proven that he has what fellow musicians want in their rhythm section and back line. An accomplished player in all styles of music, Mark has recorded, performed live, on the radio and on television, and toured with acts such as St. Croix, Prime Time, White Shoulder, Big Bad Blues Machine, Footprints, Frank Trompeter, Dick G