Mark has been active in the music industry for close to 40 years, playing his first professional gigs at age 16. Over time he has performed the music of many genres, been the architect of many well known Celtic ensembles and contributed his musical skills to nearly 40 cd's.
Mark is known for his multi-instrumental skills and in any given performance can glide form Scottish Smallpipes to Mandola, Accordion, or Irish Whistle. This ability adds great variety in SCR shows and engages the audience to watch for all the change ups in instrumentation. Mark is a skilled Highland Piper and is constantly sought out for private and public functions. He performs with Stratford Police Pipes and Drums and the Dundas Pipe Band.
Festival mainstages and concert halls across Ontario, Quebec and B.C. have been frequent stops for Mark. As well, many appearences stateside, including Michigan, Ohio and Illinois.
Some select appearences of note: live to air broadcast nationwide on TSN in 2005: piper selected for Drayton Festivals 2009 run of the play "Brigadoon": "Scots Wa Hae", broadcast from CBC's Glenn Gould studio in Toronto with the group Shaggy Haggis:Chicago Irish Festival, Island Folk Festival in B.C., Saline Celtic Festival, Blue Skies Folk Festival, Mill Race Folk Festival, Montreal Highland Games, Fergus Scottish Festival, Glengarry Highland Games, as well Symphony appearences with International Symphony, Georgian Bay Symphony and Stratford Symphony Orchestras with the group Rant Maggie Rant.
Mark's solo cd "The Unbroken Line" was nominated in the" Celtic Instrumental of the Year category", by Just Plain Folks Music Awards in Nashville in 2008.
Ryan McKenna is a singer, writer and arranger. His distinctive baritone sets the band apart and helps define SCR's unmistakable sonic character. He is absolutely at home on the stage where he invites you in to join the band in some wonderful time together. Ryan's love of being playful and ridiculous is always present yet he regularly engages topics that carry a lot of emotional weight and personal significance. His first love was theatre arts but he got bit by the music bug as a young man and has never recovered. He kind of wanted the band to be called the Thistle Mittens. For the moment that phrase remains only a term of affection and endearment.
He has performed with his brother and fellow Rover, Joel McKenna, perpetually since 1996. Though that entire time has largely been spent performing with Joel as the Celtic duo McKenna across Southern Ontario, the foundation of Ryan's musical growth was in in the world of sacred music. As a child there were church services, choral recitals, travelling ensembles and gatherings of family and friends who would sing and celebrate long into the night. Though Ontarian, these home gatherings had a kind of traditional ceilidh atmosphere, much the same as the kitchen parties his ancestors enjoyed on the East-coast of Canada. As a teenager, Ryan attended Niagara Christian College (Collegiate) in Fort Erie, Ontario. His time on dormatory afforded him the opportunity to be involved in all manner of musical undertakings. From there, it was on to Redeemer College (University) in Ancaster, Ontario. He again participated in many musical situations from the sublime to the ridiculous. He left after 3 years to pretend to save money to complete his degree, while actually attempting to become fabulously famous with his brother Joel in their band Father's Property. You are not likely to have heard of that band, but they certainly had a riot.
Of additional note, Ryan and Joel worked with Smile Theatre to adapt the McKenna show for Seniors' Residences, Events and Long-Term Care Facilites. It was entitled Into The Parlour. He wrote the music for Ray Louter's 2006 Musical Stage Play, Home In Alfalfa. McKenna also performs yearly as the Pirates McKenna at the Pirate Festival in Milton, Ontario and even took that show to New Orleans, Louisiana in 2009.
Ryan resides in Hamilton, Ontario, the lucky fellow.
Joel McKenna has had a passion, a calling even, that has been with him since a very young age. That is the acoustic guitar. Its rhythms, intricacies and tonal possibilites. As a teenager, Joel was an atypical black sheep artist. His time was utterly consumed by music and philisophical debate. He would be up at all hours of the night either playing until his fingers bled, writing or engaging in intense conversational sparring. He was well known around his small town of Caledonia for wearing a jean jacket graffitied with messages of his own personal convictions.
He began his first band Father's Property, initially, with his childhood best friends. Shortly thereafter he invited Ryan McKenna to join the effort. This began an artistic relationship that has sustained to this day. Joel has become masterful at backing up a lead vocalist and capturing the soul of a song in his playing. He translated that to savvy in the recording studio at the console. He self-produced several albums for himself and Ryan as McKenna. He has also recorded many other artists during the same period and is currently hard at work producing fresh SCR material.
Another way that he applied that skill was to be the only instrument of note at most shows he has ever performed with Ryan. Performing as a duo in demanding situations, it was up to Joel, with one guitar, to create an atmosphere and sustain the attention of the audiences that were accustomed to taking in full bands. All the while, he was running the sound, which in a busy pub is certainly a moving target.
Joel proudly lives in Hamilton, Ontario.
Dave has a degree in Music from the University of Waterloo and has been performing professionally across the country for the last 8 years, playing many styles and instruments: Celtic, Folk, Rock, Americana Roots, Jug Band and Blues fiddle music. In fact he has made several pilgrimages to the Southern States in order to immerse himself in early American String Band musical styles.
Last winter, Dave toured Western Canada with Celtic rock group The Mudmen, during which time he performed at many venues, most notably the Canadian Curling Championships, Fort MacMurray Celtic Festival and the Mosaic Multicultural Festival in Regina.
In addition to performing with the Steel City Rovers he plays with the Everlovin' Jug Band, and the blues fiddle group Step On It! Although the fiddle is Dave's main instrument he also plays guitar, bass, Irish tenor banjo, mandolin, tuba, and harmonica.