Irish Music for the Soul
Nippersink Rogues, Tom Steffens and Mike Knauf, have been performing for almost 20 years. Their Irish tradition began one St. Patrick's Day night at the Old Mill Inn, hard by the right bank of the Nippersink, near Wonder Lake, IL. Since then, the Rogues venues have expanded to clubs, retirement villages, libraries-anywhere that the music that is Irish is welcome, which, of course, is everywhere. The songs on "Irish Music for the Soul" all sing and play to a tradition that is informed by gaiety and sadness, triumphs, foibles and follies, wit and wisdom. Most of all, the music embodies the love of freedom that has sustained the Irish peoples through hard political times and their dignity and sense of self worth, empowering them to breach cultural, economic and social barriers. In addition to his love of Irish music, Tom has a passion for musical theatre. He has performed, acted as pianist or been the musical director of dozens of shows ranging from children and community to professional productions. In addition to Nippersink Rogues, Tom is currently musical director at the Congregational Unitarian Church in Woodstock, Illinois. He also appears as pianist with Jeweled Ice, an 8-voice female singing group and sings with McHenry County's own Frothy Boys. Mike has performed with numerous Chicago area and national artists including: Billy Eckstein, Tom Scott, Ashley Alexander, Milton Berle, Eddie Howard and Jimmy Dorsey Orchestras, Frank Mantooth and Pine Top Perkins. Mike continues to perform and teach woodwinds privately. In addition to playing with Nippersink Rogues, Mike is currently leader of his own jazz quartet and a member of the Park Avenue Orchestra. He also freelances with many different musical groups in the Chicago area. Mike has also recorded with Joan Hammel, The Bill O'Connell Big Band, Yves Francois, Feargal and Breda King and other artists.