Tommy Kochel (with Hardanger mandolin)
Victoria Visceglia (with silver flute)
and former band member Steve Meehan (with guitar)
[Photo by Holly Armstrong]
The Knotwork Band
Celtic knotwork is an art form particular to the ancient peoples of Ireland and Scotland (highly influenced by the vikings) wherein cords or lines are woven into intricate patterns and highly stylized designs. Like Celtic knotwork, our music is an intricate whole formed by simple individual lines. In The Knotwork Band, the talents of the band members are interwoven to form each piece of music.
The Knotwork Band performs Celtic folk music from Ireland, Scotland, England, and Brittany, as well as American and World music with ties to Celtic folk music, either musically or historically. The wide spectrum of musical styles (ranging from beautiful airs and waltzes to exciting jigs and reels) and the variety of instrumentation (fiddle, whistles, flute, mandolins, Irish bouzouki, guitars, Northumbrian small pipes, hurdy gurdy, bodhráns, bones, and vocals) make The Knotwork Band at home performing at all venues imaginable.
The Knotwork Band at the McLain Celtic Festival [photos by Nancy Pearce]
Meet the Members of
The Knotwork Band
• silver flute
• wooden whistles
Victoria has participated in music since first grade, when she joined the children’s choir at her church. She started playing the flute in fifth grade and loved it immediately. Throughout her time at Stroudsburg High School, she played in church, marching band, pep band, pit orchestra, and the Pocono Youth Orchestra. She also participated in PMEA festivals, the NAfME All-Eastern Band, and the High School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall with H. Robert Reynolds. Victoria studied with Linda Ganus of Lehigh University.
Victoria studied music education at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. This required her to learn the basics of every typical school instrument. Victoria continued her flute studies avidly, learning from Damian Bursill-Hall, former co-principal flute of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. She played in Duquesne’s wind symphony, symphony orchestra, and flute choir. Victoria also premiered several student compositions with ad hoc chamber groups. In 2014, she played for Amy Porter in a masterclass. During the summers of 2014 and 2015, Victoria performed around Pittsburgh with the Triptych Piano Trio.
Outside of performance, Victoria served as the president and treasurer of Duquesne’s chapter of the National Association for Music Education and as the treasurer of Mu Phi Epsilon. She spent a summer working at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan. Victoria taught private flute lessons and worked with the South Allegheny High School Marching Band for two summers. She also interned with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Education and Community Engagement department during her junior year. Victoria received multiple honors for her academic performance and research throughout college.
After graduating summa cum laude, Victoria began her teaching career in York, PA, where she spent two years starting a music program at Helen Thackston Charter School. She plays her flute in the Spring Garden Band and York College Community Orchestra. Last summer, Victoria was a resident with the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America. She is working on the second semester of her Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology in the spring of 2018 at the University of Maryland, College Park.
• bass guitar
Wicky Barnes Jr. is a musician based out of York Pa. He played the drums for most of his early career turning to guitar and bass in his late 20s.
Wicky's musical endeavors are many. Along with joining The Knotwork Band he currently performs in a duo accompanying a singer on guitar, plays in the classic rock band, "Strange Symmetry," and performs with a 50s - 60s era band, The Hipbreakers.
Wicky has recorded multiple CDs over the past few years available on CD Baby, Spotify and iTunes. He loves playing different genres of music, but his real passion is performing live.
• wooden flute & piccolo and high & low whistles;
• cittern and Hardanger-, National resophonic-, & banjo-mandolins;
• bodhráns & bones;
• acoustic bass guitar;
• lead & harmony vocals;
• song- and tune-writing
(adding a smattering of hurdy gurdy and Northumbrian smallpipes in the near future)
Tommy has been musical throughout his life. He starred with his brother, Randy, in a Hempfield High School production of "Bye Bye Birdie" when in third grade and took part in many musicals thereafter. He took the stage for the lead in "Amahl and the Night Visitors" in seventh grade. He worked his way up through Regional chorus in high school while performing in the Lancaster Opera Workshop's "Die Fledermaus."
However, Tommy’s life with Celtic folk music began in 1987 in Ireland. Watching session players in pubs play the bodhrán was fascinating. When he returned to his senior year of college, he was exposed to the music of Silly Wizard and Andy M. Stewart, and managed to catch Silly Wizard on their final world tour.
From 1990 to 1992, he performed whistle, mandolin and vocals for two bands he founded: Celtic Chaos and Greengrass Harvest. He studied guitar under Ged Foley and performed with Ged and with his band, The House Band, on several occasions. Tommy then became the bodhránist for Ged’s ceilídh dance band, The Deadbeats. He has appeared on stage as a guest percussionist with Tempest and recorded with Central Pennsylvania’s Crofter’s Heir. During his six years living in Northern California, Tommy formed The Knotwork Band, which quickly became the area’s most sought after Celtic folk music act.
In addition to the wide variety of instruments he plays, Tommy is a trained linguist, and his love of the Irish and Scottish cultures tends to reveal itself when he sings or banters with the audience. He began playing the Northumbrian smallpipes not long ago - a sound he loved early on from the music of The House Band. He picked up an interest in playing the hurdy gurdy through listening to Scandinavian folk revival groups like Hedningarna and Hurdy Gurdy. His current study of the pipes and the gurdy will result in the addition of those distinctive sounds to the band’s audio catalog in the near future.
In addition to handling the business end of the band, Tommy arranges the settings of the music and writes original Celtic folk songs and tunes. He currently has nine songs and tunes copyrighted, several of which are currently in the band's canon. He has taught bodhrán, bones, and whistle throughout Central Pennsylvania. In the past, Tommy has performed with Central Pennsylvania’s Bill Stine (in Gladly Playe) and Jamie O’Brien and Bruce Young (in Semanon), as well as his brother's band, Crofter's Heir. Tommy is a Professor of English as a Second Language at Harrisburg Area Community College.