Cheek to Cheek
Originally a trio, this cult phenomenon has become an amorphous performance ensemble that expands to quartet status whenever possible. The core group of Kirsten Baird, Kathleen Bielawski, Jenny Murray, and Peggy Monaghan performs in a wide variety of styles, colors, and fabrics. This award-winning group is essentially an acapella ensemble, but you just never know what these women will do on stage. Their shows often feature a variety of instruments from kazoos and pennywhistle to guitar and piano. They have become a much-anticipated highlight of many West Coast productions and a back-up vocal ensemble favored by many musicians. They can be heard on their newly-released CD, "Cheek to Cheek" on Arctic Siren Records. Kirsten Baird A founding member of The Derry Aires, Kirsten brings an extensive background in theater, music, and production. Along with her crystalline voice she plays guitar, pennywhistle, and flute and is a nationally-touring performer and songwriter. A featured performer on other collaborations, she is currently recording her first solo release "O'er the Border." Kathleen Bielawski Kathleen Bielawski has a Master's degree in Music Composition from The New England Conservatory of Music. She has been a featured performer in stage groups touring the U.S., Canada, and Alaska and was a founding member of The Composers' Collective in Boston, Massachusetts. Kathleen in the owner of Frozen Music Productions, through which she publishes her music and other writing. While The Derry Aires provide her with a venue for her extensive vocabulary of expletives, Kathleen teaches piano and composition privately in Anchorage. She is currently recording her first release, The Arctic Question, which will be released in 2000. Karin Gustafson Karin is one of the newest members of The Derry Aires. Adept in Scots Gaelic, she has even been known to sing in English on occasion. And you never know at which point she will begin to fling herself around with carefully choreographed abandon. Peggy Monaghan The other founding member of The Derry Aires, Peggy's experience and knowledge of performance and production have made her a much sought after participant in shows from San Francisco to Anchorage. Raised in Alaska, she spent a few decades in the Bay Area, but has returned to her native soil and currently teaches voice in Anchorage. She is coordinator and producer of the Alaska Song of the Year Contest, a founding member of the Irish Music Festival and Turnagain Community Arts Alliance, and an advisory member of the Board of Directors for Alaska Theater of Youth. Her 1990 release Lullabye on Pacific Artists Records and 1994 release Seasons of the Witch on the Arctic Siren Records label have met with local and national acclaim. Jenny Murray Award-winning songwriter, Jenny Murray, hails from the backwoods of Alaska and brings a fresh and piquant perspective to The Derry Aires. Her humor and vocal expertise make her the perfect Left of Center Derry Aire. She has toured nationally and internationally, to sold out venues from Washington, D.C to Prague. Her work with The Derry Aires allows her a new venue to stretch both her comedic and vocal prowess.