Meet the Mountain Laurels!

louise2Louise Keegan (Flute / Whistle) Louise Keegan, born and raised in Limerick, Ireland began playing music at a young age and throughout her school years participated in many musical groups and orchestras in both classical music and traditional music realms. She plays flute and whistle, holds a diploma in classical flute performance from Trinity College London, and has multiple “All- Ireland Fleadh Ceoil” medals from performances with groups and ceilí bands from the Castleconnell-Ahane-Herbertstown branch of Comhaltas Ceoltiorí Éireann. She was also a member of Ceoltoirí na Sionnine, a Munster based performance group. She has performed on numerous recordings with many of these groups in which she was a member. Louise also has experience teaching music and preparing students for both competition and exam settings. Louise moved to Louisiana in 2008 where she joined a celtic/cajun band “Farouche” and now living in Boone, NC she continues to pursue her interest in music as the newest member of the Mountain Laurels.

Connie Woolard (Hammered Dulcimer / Percussion)

connie4  Connie is a founding member of the Mountain Laurels. She brings the complex, emotive sounds of the hammered dulcimer to the band. Connie has performed on dulcimer for over 25 years at innumerable community concerts, events, weddings, workshops and worship programs. She played guitar for many years before finding her love for the dulcimer. She enjoys exploring her musical versatility on the violin, the psaltery and whistle as well as occasionally acting in local theatre productions. Connie’s talent for summoning up the delicate, fluid, percussive, resonance of the hammered dulcimer provides the Mountain Laurels with their signature sound.

 Rhonda Lorence (Violin / Viola)Mountain Laurels 259

Rhonda is a classical violist/violinist who’s finding fiddlin’ more fun. She is a founding member of the Mountain Laurels. Rhonda graduated Cum Laude with a B.F.A in Music Performance from the University of South Florida. Highlights of her 20 + year performance career include tours in Japan and Korea with the Mantovanni Orchestra, working as the principle violist for the Naples, FL Philharmonic, and performances with Russian Ballet Orchestra, Tampa Bay Opera, and a variety of show orchestras including Johnnie Mathis, Dionne Warwick, Tony Bennet, Henry Mancini, and Burt Bacharach

Rhonda composes and produces neo-classical music on viola. Winter Moon, 2005 and Movements in the Moment, 2010 have received international airplay since 2006.  Her compositions “Changing Tides” and “Winter Moon” received satellite radio and NPR radio airplay and several of her works have been featured in films and ballets. Rhonda teaches Suzuki violin and viola with Watauga Arts Council in Boone and Harper School for the Performing Arts in Lenoir, NC.

Elaine Gray (Guitar)

mountainlaurels 079Elaine began her guitar performances in 1980. She was the co-creator of the all female pop-rock band  The Mix (1980-1989) with singer/Songwriter Angela Sterling Forest in Central Florida. She assisted with the studio recording and production of the group’s original music. Elaine also managed the band, handled the live sound production, and created publicity for the group.

Elaine recorded and composed original pieces (Orbothea, Radiant Spiral, Rocketman) for theater, film, and performance art events from 1990 – 1995.  She performed on guitar with several splinter groups from the Mix (The Creamettes, Angie B & the Thrill Things) in the 1990’s before taking a break from music to return to academia and get her PhD in Integral Studies.