Student and alumni form Irish band in time for St. Patrick’s Day

By Maddie Van Haute
Staff Writer

Lorica, a five-man Irish band composed of Franciscan students and alumni, has officially made its debut on the music scene in Steubenville.

The band was officially started this past January by Franciscan alum Matt Hennig (class of 2022). It all began at the Christmas Extravaganza hosted by Exc!te last semester. The night included an open mic, prompting Hennig and seniors Nate Lamansky and Jared Johnson to perform. The three of them—joined by some friends who hopped on stage with them at the last minute—played a few Irish songs. Hennig said that they had a great time and the crowd seemed to enjoy it.

After that night, Hennig decided he wanted to start a band.

Hennig said “My dad was born on Saint Patrick’s day, and for years he has been telling me how great it would be for me to play at a pub for his birthday, and I started the band with him in mind.”

The band consists of Hennig as guitarist, senior Clay Boyle as lead singer, Johnson as backup singer, Lamansky on the fiddle and Tim Rankin as drummer. The five band members have known each other since their freshman year at Franciscan.

Hennig jokingly said, “I got the others to join through force, coercion and blackmail”.

“They were all pretty willing to join once we figured out time commitments and what we wanted as a group,” added Hennig. “I asked the guys I knew that either played instruments or sang and saw who was free to put in the time this required and also play for Saint Patrick’s day.”

Once the band members were committed, it was time to find a name for the group. After filing through multiple ideas, it was decided that the band would be named Lorica. The name was suggested by Johnson because the word refers to the Breastplate of St. Patrick Prayer.

The band made its debut on Jan. 21 at Leonardo’s Coffeehouse on Fourth Street in Steubenville during an open mic night. The group played a total of five songs including Irish classics such as “Whiskey in the Jar” and “The Wild Rover.”

Lorica’s set list also includes “I’ll Tell Me Ma” along with a few classic rock covers and sea shanties. Hennig said that the group drew inspiration from bands such as The Pogues and The Young Dubliners. Hennig’s personal favorite song to play is “Star of The County Down,” the first song that he, Lamansky and Johnson played together in December at the Christmas Extravaganza open mic night.

When Lorica was started, the only goal its members had in mind was performing at a pub on St. Patrick’s Day. Currently, the band finds itself booked to play at an Irish pub in Columbus for St. Patrick’s Day. In addition, the band is currently in contact with Exc!te about opening for Scythian on March 9 at the university’s St. Patrick’s Day Fest.

Lorica can be followed or reached on Instagram (@band.lorica) and Facebook (@band.lorica). The group also has a YouTube page (@lorica6903) with recordings of some of its performances.

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