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Chelsea House Orchestra returns from PA performance trip

Courtesy photo. Chelsea House Orchestra performs on Sept. 7 at the ceilidh (party) during the Edinboro Highland Games and Scottish Festival.

By Crystal Hayduk

Chelsea House Orchestra (CHO), the Celtic music group made up of about two dozen music Chelsea High School (CHS) students, began the school year with a performance trip to Pennsylvania on Sept. 6-8.

Making its 20th appearance at the annual Edinboro Highland Games and Scottish Festival on the campus of Edinboro University, CHO performed four times to standing ovations. At the festival, a mother of three young children said, “We look forward to CHO playing here every year.”

CHO is made up of string, wind, and percussion musicians who play Celtic and other folk music, which provides both students and listeners with an eclectic musical experience. The group was founded in 1996 by Jed Fritzemeier, who retired in June following a 34-year teaching career. He is working with CHO to provide a seamless transition to new leadership. CHO will be co-directed by both Phillip Sylvester, the newly hired CHS Orchestra Director; and Steve Lesko, a CHO alumni and professional fiddler and manager of the band CrossBow, who is in his third year of working with CHO.

CHO kept busy during the last few months, with performances at the Alma Highland Festival, Chelsea’s Sounds and Sights, Williamston’s Music in the Park, Saline Celtic Festival, Nardin Park Music Series in Farmington Hills, and the Chelsea Fair Parade.

In addition to performing regionally, CHO has also completed two international performance tours—to Scotland in 2016 and to China in spring of 2019.  

Next on the group’s schedule is their performance during Michigan State University’s pre-game festivities on Sept. 28, which will be broadcast on WJR.

Local audiences can catch this high-energy, popular act at their annual Hometown Show at 7 p.m. on Oct. 19 at Chelsea High School.

Tickets are available now at

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