Two people performing. One person playing cello and another playing flute
Free Family Music Series

Willow Brae

Date: Sat May 08 2021

Time: 10:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Location: MacPhail Live Online

Irish and Scottish music on harp and wind instruments.

Andrea Stern – Celtic harp
Laura MacKenzie – wooden flutes, whistles, concertina, Scottish smallpipes, Border greatpipes, voice

Laura MacKenzie and Andrea Stern first worked together in the Spring of 2002, on a commercial recording project produced by MacKenzie. They discovered a deep, shared respect and passion for Irish and Scottish music.  The somewhat unusual combination of Laura’s wooden flutes, whistles, pipes, concertina and voice with Andrea’s Celtic harp created a wondrous spectrum of sound, and it was soon realized that their musical sensibilities made for a strong collaboration. Thus was born the duo Willow Brae, dedicated to the performance of both traditional and modern Irish and Scottish music.  

Andrea Stern has performed as a soloist and with orchestras in both North and South America and has given concerts around the world as a featured artist on cruise ships. Andrea trained on concert harp at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the New England Conservatory in Boston and performs frequently with various ensembles across the Midwest. She is harp instructor at MacPhail Center for Music.

Laura MacKenzie has been well recognized for her work in traditional music with numerous honors and awards, from performing arts fellowships to her own “Laura MacKenzie Day” proclaimed in 2014 by the City of St. Paul for her cultural contributions to the regional Scottish and Irish American communities. She enjoys a diverse career in performance, from stage shows and festivals to theater productions and studio work. Laura teaches traditional music from her home studio.

Willow Brae has appeared in concert at the St. Croix Festival Theater, Paul Bunyan Theater, Greater Lakes Area Performing Arts Series, Bagley Fine Arts Center, Ginkgo Concert Series, The Music Loft (Red Wing), Crossings at Carnegie, Owatonna Festival of the Arts, Living Green Expo, Minnesota Scottish Fair, Minnesota State Fair, Minnesota Irish Fair, MacPhail Center for Music, St. Olaf College (Northfield), Cedar Cultural Center, Hastings Arts Center, Minnesota History Center, the Landmark Center of St. Paul, the Celtic Junction Arts Center and more. They also performed two seasons with the World Voices choral ensemble at a number of Twin Cities locations, and have presented many programs at schools, libraries and celebrations around the state of Minnesota.

With Irish step dancers, Willow Brae has performed events for the Elk River Arts Association, Paramount Theater of St. Cloud, Paradise Theater of Faribault, Children’s Minnesota Hospital and also at numerous senior residences and schools.

In the recording studio, Laura and Andrea have collaborated on a number of projects, including “From Uig to Duluth” (Scots Gaelic music in Minnesota), a Celtic holiday album, and their duo compilation “Willow Brae – Collected”.

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