Group of Portland musicians create light up orchestra

Celtic Light Orchestra is a group of Portland musicians who bill themselves as the world's only light up orchestra!
Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 6:37 AM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - Celtic Light Orchestra is a group of Portland musicians who bill themselves as the world’s only light up orchestra.

Katie Jane Lubiens and Adam Easley are local music teachers with a love of Celtic music.

“We play Celtic festivals, Scottish Games, weddings, and parties,” said Easley.

But their latest musical venture is like nothing you’ve ever seen. The duo performs with what’s called “Glow Bowz.” It’s a one of kind - patent pending - violin accessory.

“The Glow Bowz were started by one of my students, Nick Macias. He was trying to add lights to the bow to help him bow straighter,” said Lubiens “It has the lights on the bow and it has a custom made chipboard here and an accelerometer inside of it, so it reacts to your movements.”

At first it was just a high-tech instructional tool, but that light set off another lightbulb.

“We said ‘we should start something. We should start the Celtic Light Orchestra,’” Lubiens said.

And that’s what they did. Several dozen Glow Bowz were built, and Lubiens and Easley assembled a variety of musicians - many of them their students - for a one-of-a-kind stage show that mixes musical sensation with illumination.

“There’s about 25-30 members - violins, guitar, drums,” said Easley said.

After fine-tuning their idea, their first performance was in late Jan. 2020. Less than two months later COVID-19 shut down stages and turned off their orchestra lights. Lubiens and Easley found themselves stuck at home with plenty of time to dream.

“A lot of creative energy was built up. So when that finally was lifted, we had all of these amazing ideas to do for our show,” said Easley.

Their first concert bask was a multi-media exploration of Irish legends. Now they’re getting ready for a brand new show this weekend, which is all about UFOs.

“We really wanted to kind of play off of different movies, so playing with like 2001 Space Odyssey or Spinal Tap,” said Lubiens.

Besides just putting on a great show, Lubiens hopes this will inspire more young people to explore the world of music - a journey that can add a lot of light to anyone’s life.

“Violin has been the number one thing that’s brought joy to my life, beside the people I care about, and I call it my friend maker,” she said. “So every time I get a new student I tell them ‘this is my friend maker and it can be that for you too. Let the music be your guide.’”

Celtic Light Orchestra has a show this Saturday at the Alberta Rose Theatre. For more information and to buy tickets, click here.