For the past nine years, Whispering Roses has delighted audiences at festivals and concerts throughout the northwest with their unique blend of Celtic, sacred and folk music. The four sisters who form Whispering Roses - Sarah (piano, vocals), Janna (Celtic harp, vocals), Krista (recorders, vocals) and Kathrina (violin, vocals) - each began music lessons at the age of three, and grew up playing and singing together. In 1999, the girls started sharing their music in the community at local venues and events.
Whispering Roses debuted in the Portland music scene in 2004 when they were first invited to perform at The Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights, the largest Christmas choral festival in the world. Their distinctive instrumentation was a refreshing change of pace for the festival and Whispering Roses has been invited to return every year since. With their family, the girls released their debut CD in 2007, Journey Through The Highlands. The title track earned Krista an award at the national level of the NFMC composition festival.
Since then, Whispering Roses has steadily gained a following in Portland, playing standing-room-only concerts in coffee houses throughout the area and putting on their own popular Celtic Christmas concerts each year. Feeling the need for masculine energy, the girls incorporated their brother Noah into the band, welcoming his strong, rhythmic performances on guitar.
As the band of siblings has grown musically, released two more CDs, and crafted their sound into a pleasing mix of melting ballads and toe-tapping instrumentals, they have been invited farther afield. They have garnered notice at the Highland Games in Enumclaw, Washington and Northwest Folklife Festival in Seattle and were invited to the Bitterroot Scottish Irish Festival in Montana for three consecutive years. At home in Portland, Whispering Roses is involved in the All-Ireland Cultural Society of Oregon and S & A Irish Entertainment, participating in the active Celtic music and dance scene in the Northwest. These dynamic musicians continue to capture the heart of every audience for which they perform.
Sarah’s great love for music shines through her touch on the piano. Her piano adds depth and richness to the quartet. Sarah began piano lessons at the age of four. She studied at Harmony Road Music School through high school, and participated in the National Federation of Music Clubs Junior Piano Festival, scoring the highest rating each year. After graduating, Sarah continued exploring classical piano with Irena Burkett and Yoko Miyama, and improvisation with Dennis Plies, PhD. In addition to playing with Whispering Roses, she accompanies violin recitals, choir concerts, musicals and is a certified teacher at Harmony Road Music School of Oregon.
What is your favorite musical memory? Being surrounded in a unique musical culture for an entire week at Booher Music Camp.
How do you de-stress after a concert? Chocolate and a good movie always do the trick!
What is your favorite weekend activity? Hiking and folk dancing – if I could think of a funny way to say that, I would.
Janna began studying harp at a young age, and has performed in orchestral, ensemble, and solo settings. Starting at age three, Janna studied classical piano, but during her teenage years her love of harp became the focus of her life. Janna shares her harp expertise at her home teaching studio, where she helps students explore the full potential of their harp with classical, Celtic, sacred, ethnic and contemporary music. She also enjoys competing and is the two-time Northwest Scottish Harp Champion. Janna frequently performs apart from Whispering Roses, and enjoys playing solo as well as collaborating with other musicians both in live performance, and in the recording studio.
harp, bodhran, vocals
What is your favorite musical memory? Receiving our first standing ovation when we played at the Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights – it was a magical moment.
How do you get hyped up before a concert? Caramel lattes – that is why coffee shops are my favorite places to play!
What other talents do you possess? An innate ability to say a wise thing that finally ends the circular conversation.
Krista has been playing the wooden recorders for fourteen years. Her effortless musicianship and talent as a multi-instrumentalist is an essential part of the band. Also a nationally recognized composer, Krista’s instrumental composition, “On Seaward Wings”, won second in the nation in the senior division of the NFMC competition in 2010.
What is your favorite musical memory? Wow, that’s tough! There are so many! I’d have to say that the process of composing a complete piece, from the first inspiration to people’s response at the final product has been perhaps my most challenging and enriching musical experience.
How do you de-stress after a concert? By talking about everything that happened with the family. We have a great time sharing stories – it just might be the best part!
What other talents do you possess? I love to paint and draw and explore the great outdoors with sketchbook in hand.
Kathrina’s talent for music was obvious from a young age. At the age of eight, Kathrina began classical violin lessons, but when the sisters formed Whispering Roses, she began to explore the realm of Celtic fiddling. Kathrina has enjoyed many opportunities to learn from world-class Irish and American fiddlers. She loves experiencing the variety in her musical life - leading classical violin students in a recital one day, and fiddling at a jam session the next. Kathrina’s talent on her instrument is shown in her ability to play lead, or create beautiful harmonies. With a great eye for graphic design, Kathrina works behind the scenes creating posters and promo materials Whispering Roses.
violin, mandolin, vocals
What is your favorite musical memory? Singing jazz song Nuages with awesome back up at a music camp in 2012.
How do you de-stress after a concert? I don’t – I just start gearing up for the next one.
What other talents do you possess? I give really good shoulder massages – want to come over?
While not officially a “rose”, Noah has become a vital part of the band. He is known for his ability to play lively leads or rock solid rhythm on the guitar. As the youngest sibling, Noah grew up surrounded by music. Around the age of twelve Noah’s personal interest in music exploded as he discovered his ability to learn video game and movie soundtracks by ear on the piano and guitar. A fantastic musician, Noah brings a needed masculine balance to the group.
What is it like being the only boy with four sisters? Like having 20 guys want to be your best friend.
What do you do to destress after a concert? Board games, coffee, and good company.
What other talents do you posess? The ability to live with four older sisters.