Coppers & Brass is a quartet of some of the most accomplished traditional Irish musicians in Iowa. Taking their name from an Irish dance tune, they play a wide selection of modern arrangements of traditional tunes and songs as well as original music on fiddle, flute, whistle, guitar and bodhrán, the Irish frame drum. Though a relatively new ensemble, the individual band members have performed together for 17 to 22 years on concert and festival stages, at dances, clubs and events. Notably, Coppers & Brass performed at The Coralville Center For the Performing Arts for I Lift My Lamp, a show celebrating Irish immigration to America and The Englert for the Iowa Dance Festival.
Tara McGovern (fiddle and vocals) was introduced to Irish fiddle by her mother, a native of a native of Swanlinbar, Co. Cavan, Ireland. She is an in-demand studio musician who has performed and recorded with jazz, rock, folk, Irish and country musicians. Of note is her stint touring with Foreigner and her collaborations with Riverside Theatre, Champagne Academy of Irish Dance, Coralville Center For the Performing Arts, and the late John Rapson, appearing in both Hot Tamale Louie and Esteban & the Children of the Sun.
Frank Claudy (flute and whistle) is an internationally respected Irish musician and composer who learned his craft in the culturally and musically rich Baltimore/Washington D.C./New York vicinity. He is well known as a performer and teacher at Irish music festivals in the U.S, Canada and Ireland, including The Catskills Irish Arts Week, Irish Week by the Sea in Nova Scotia, and the Susquehanna Irish Festival. Frank has competed multiple times at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, the Olympics of Irish music, both as a solo performer and in the ceili band competition with the Baltimore Ceili Band.
Keith Reins (guitar and vocals) has arguably performed in more Iowa Irish bands than anyone else, including Spootiskerry, Stones in the Field, The Beggarmen, The Quad Cities Ceili Band, Coppers & Brass, and O’Keith & McFiddle. In 2017, Keith and Tara produced the album, Folk Songs You Never Sang in Grade School, which began as a Kirkwood Endowed Faculty Chair research grant; it was named by Iowa Public Radio station KUNI as one of the best folk recordings of the year. Keith has competed twice at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann on guitar and is a regular performer and teacher at the St. Louis Tionól, one of America’s premier Irish music festivals.
Joe Dutcher (bodhrán) is the heartbeat of Copper & Brass. Prior to joining the band, Joe played for 11 years at dozens of venues throughout the region with The Beggarmen. He also performed on the band’s three studio albums. The third, A Soft Day, was funded by a Major Artist Grant from the Iowa Arts Council.