Caleigh, an all-woman ensemble, has four extremely versatile and talented members -- Dee Furfano, Lenore Siems, Deb Steinbar, and April Lawson. Celtic music in Bemidji, MN, (and beyond, thanks to the Internet) has benefited from their conjoined performances since 1998.
Dee Furfano performed in musical productions throughout middle and high school, as a choir soloist and madrigal singer as well as playing percussion in the Roseau, MN, school band, plus small instrumental group ensembles. At Bemidji State University she participated in concert choir, chamber singers, children's opera, and the Eurospring educational exchange program, as well as performing in Israel with an Europa Cantat festival. In 1981, she received a bachelor's degree in music and elementary education. She followed that with teaching kindergarten with Ojibwe students on the Red Lake Indian Reservation, and was a 1999-2000 participant and coordinator of a Perpich Center for Arts Education "Theater in the Classroom" grant at the Red Lake school.
In Caleigh, Furfano plays the Irish goat-skin drum, the bodhran, as well as congas/bongos, spoons, and assorted percussion instruments, plus the cross-over bass.
Lenore Siems' parents gave her a violin at age 11, and she's been playing ever since, though she switched over to the viola in tenth grade, going on to perform in the All-State Orchestra. She received a BA in Sociology and Criminal Justice, which led to work in law enforcement as a US Customs Inspector, a National Park Ranger, and a Sheriffs Water Patrol Deputy in Minnesota. She subsequently returned to Bemidji State University to complete a BS degree in Music Education with a concentration in K-12 orchestra and classroom music.
In addition to playing fiddle, viola, and mandolin with Caleigh, Siems has performed professionally with the Heartland Symphony and the Black Hills Symphony of Rapid City, SD; the Itasca Symphony in Grand Rapids, MN; the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra; and the Amato String Quartet. From 1993-1995 she served as Director of the Itasca Orchestral Society in Grand Rapids, MN. Since 1993, when she was introduced to bluegrass music, she has played in numerous fiddle festivals and competitions. She has been a U.S. adjudicator for the Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canadian fiddle competition, as well as director of the Headwaters School of Music and the Arts Fiddle Camp in 1998. Siems is a member of the MN Music Education Assoc. and teaches music in the kindergarten and Early Intervention programs of the Bemidji School District. She also teaches adult violin classes.
Deb Steinbar began singing at family gatherings, and by second grade, added piano lessons. Through high school she was an active accompanist and church organist. Obtaining degrees in nursing and psychology from the University of North Dakota in 1975, she followed this with two years as a Peace Corps volunteer nurse in Bahrain. On return to the U.S., she spent 12 years as a health care professional. Returning to music in 1989, she completed a BA in music at Bemidji State University in 1992 and was a co-recipient of the Carl O. Thompson award recognizing the top graduate in instrumental music. She then went on to study with Dr. Jane Solose at the University of North Dakota and earned a master's degree in music in 1994 with a major in piano and minors in voice and harpsichord. Steinbar has also been an active performer with the Bemidji Headwaters Trio and a duo-pianist with Sara Bloom, premiering works by women composers. She holds a MN Music Teachers Association Professional certification in piano and harpsichord and is a National Certified Teacher of Music. She has served as a piano adjudicator for the MMTA and the Lakes Area Federation of Music Clubs. She maintains a private piano studio called La Ricordanza in Cass Lake, MN. From extensive background she brings keyboards, harp, tin whistle, and both harmony and lead vocals to Caleigh.
Although April Lawson grew up with music in her life, she did not begin taking music lessons until college. However, she has the ability of readily picking up any instrument she tries, and has become proficient on guitar, harp, keyboard, and percussion, as well as vocals, ably integrating these talents into Caleigh. Obtaining a degree in Spanish from Bemidji State in 1975, she has since taught it on both high school and college levels, as well as traveling widely in Mexico and Spain. She and her family have also served as hosts to many foreign exchange students. She is retired from the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, as well. Extremely active family lives and schedules make coordinating public performances a challenge for Caleigh members, so they tend to concentrate on weekly practice sessions leading to studio recordings.