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The band at the beach

Mara McLeester, Athena Killinger, Greg Skopp, Ann Elena Rodier, Helena Woolums

 

Greg

Greg, the group's mandolin player, lead singer and song writer wrote six of the songs on this CD. Greg also plays the guitar, fiddle and penny whistle. Greg has spent as much of his life on stage as a dramatic actor as he has as a musician. He recently played Shylock in the Merchant of Venice as well as Scrooge in the Christmas Carol. One of the highlights of his young career is being called up on stage at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley to play with Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen. He is currently a student at Santa Rosa Junior College.

Helena

When Helena isn't strumming on her guitar, writing songs, or working out harmonies with her sister Juliana, she is most often found studying. She even brings her school work to band practice, as can be seen on the photo page. Two of the songs on the new CD, Empty Rooms and Saving Grace were written by Helena. Helena is attending UCSB with a double major in Geography and Earth Sciences and plans to be a high school science teacher. Family, friends, dancing and working in the school library pretty much takes up all the rest of her time.

Mara

Mara's clear operatic voice adds many dimensions to the bands a cappella numbers, her voice can be heard singing lead on The Angel Cried. Mara is currently attending Santa Rosa Junior College with a double major in nursing and music. While raising the top end with her voice Mara holds down the bottom playing the bass.

Athena

Athena keeps the beat down in Living H2O with her piano and guitar playing. Her unique tenor voice adds depth to the group's harmonies and a cappella numbers. She is currently taking courses at the Santa Rosa Junior College and hopes to transfer next fall and have a double major in nursing and Chinese. Her interests include listening to music, art, traveling, rooting for her brother at his baseball games, and last but not least, following the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Eagles.

Annie

Even though Ann is the youngest and last to join the group, she was probably the first to begin her musical career by asking for a violin at the age of three. After thirteen years of classical training the transition to a bluegrass style fiddling was not easy as very little of the music is written down. Even though Ann is still a high school student she takes most of her classes at Santa Rosa Junior College where she is a music major. Ann is also concertmaster of the Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra and is first violin in the Zaira Quartet.



Living H2O

The members of Living H2O grew up together in a small community in Santa Rosa CA where they acquired a love of music and drama. Performing on stage is just a natural part of the life they know.

Greg, Mara and Ann were homeschooled while Athena and Helena attended a home school co-op that grew up to become St. Michael's School. They started by singing A'Capella gospel songs with tight harmonies for fun and it is still their forte. As they grew they picked up instruments to play their second love, Celtic music. Combining the two resulted in a third style, Bluegrass.

At this time the band Living H2O was officially formed and their debut album was recorded in 2004.

As their musical style grew Ann joined the band with her fiddle adding to a distinct sound that was truly their own.

In the summer of 2005 the band members experienced a life changing event in the sudden death of a dear friend, Alyse Handelih, whom they all loved and admired. Their new CD is dedicated to Alyse and you can hear in almost every song the effect her passing had on the band members. The contemplation of eternal questions, the meaning of life, the human condition and the hope of redemption expressed in the songs they wrote or chose is far beyond their years. There is even the sense of a new appreciation for the love and joy of life.

I think Chris Hillman's comment sums it up best: “One of the best records I've heard in a long time. This collection of songs tugs deep at the heart and comforts the soul so sweetly.”



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