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Celtic-band Gaelic Storm will perform at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at Tornstrom Auditori

They got together to play music in 1995 at O’Brien’s Tavern in Santa Monica, Calif., but destiny had other plans for Gaelic Storm.

The internationally acclaimed Celtic quintet will be in Brainerd at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday as part of the Central Lakes College Cultural Arts Series in Tornstrom Auditorium at the Washington Education Building. The venue accommodates about three times as many guests as the series’ home of John Chalberg Theatre on the CLC campus.

While Gaelic Storm plays Celtic music that goes back to the traditional music of Ireland, they are hardly traditionalists, adding modern sounds and drawing influences from American rock and pop as well as music styles from around the world. This is a band with its feet firmly planted in the present, appearing on two EA Sports games. Their song “Kiss Me I’m Irish” was used in a Hallmark greeting card in 2008. The band has also made countless television and radio appearances.

At the center of the band are Patrick Murphy of Cork, Ireland, and Steve Twigger of Coventry, England. As the main singer, accordion player and resident Irishman, Murphy is generally the recognizable face of the band and his knack for storytelling is the inspiration for many of the band’s songs.

Guitarist and vocalist Twigger is the primary songwriter and produced “Cabbage,” with co-production by percussionist Ryan Lacey of Pasadena, Calif., who has been a member of the band since 2003.

Pipes and whistle player Peter Purvis of Ottawa, Canada, joined Gaelic Storm in 2004 and violinist Jessie Burns of Suffolk, England, came onboard in 2007.

The band’s lineup has remained unchanged for the past two album releases and the chemistry is apparent in their studio recordings and their high-energy live performances.

While known for a repertoire of drinking songs and good times for both the band and its fans at concerts, Gaelic Storm has at its foundation a spirit of comradeship.

“We made a promise to each other that the day we stop having fun, we stop,” Murphy said. “If it becomes work or a hassle, just stop. And at the end of every year we look back and go, ‘Wow. That was a great year.’ We just keep looking forward to the next year because each year it gets better and better.” 

Admission is $16 for adults, $12 for seniors age 60 and older, $8 for high school and junior high students and $5 for CLC students. Tickets are on sale at the CLC box office by calling 855-8199 or online at