SPOTLIGHT on MountainCity’s Charles Ciepiel

(Denver, CO – posted by Jeanie Rhoades)  Meet the fascinating and wildly talented Charles Ciepiel, who plays the keys for MountainCity. Besides live shows and the singles they’ve released so far, you’ll be able to hear more of him on the soon-to-be-released CD.

Tara Powers, lead singer for MountainCity, says, “We knew we wanted someone on piano who actually enjoyed playing and he does! He brings joy and energy to the band.” Charles, who is affectionately referred to as the “Sicilian Stallion” by bandmates, also adds a “beautiful third harmony” to the mix occasionally.


Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Charles is half Sicilian and half Polish, which explains the nickname. But ever since he told Dave Powers that the spelling of his last name was ‘Ciepielewski’ when his grandfather originally came over from Poland, Dave loves saying, with great flair, “Ohhhh, Ciepielewski!,” pronounced ohhhh, chep-yoo’-les-kee, to the tune of “Hey, Macarena.”

Charles can masterfully perform in all the genres, during live concerts and in the studio. Tara says he pretty much knows any song he is asked to play on the piano. “He is a human jukebox,” she said. Future audiences may get the chance to try to “stump Charles,” one of these days.


“I have the most amazing wife of all time,” Charles says beaming. “Jenny is such a solid rock of strength, and joy. I feel like the most blessed man on earth being married to her. I tell her, ‘Honey, I WON!’ because having her by my side in life is a big win.”

After trying to have kids for seven years, with lots of people praying for them, it finally happened. Charles and Jenny (#OHJENNY) have two “miracle kids,” Josiah, 15,  and Julia, almost 13. They have picked up some of Charles’s musical talent. Josiah sings and plays percussion and Julia sings and plays the piano.

The Ciepiels love their family time and much of it is spent laughing together. The whole family enjoys cooking together and sometimes, on a Saturday morning, they surprise their neighbors with their gourmet, homemade pancakes. Is it any wonder the Ciepiel-family pancakes are considered by some to be the best in the world?

When we asked Charles what his favorite MountainCity songs were so far, he mentioned a few. “This is Love,” the band’s first single, and “Being with you,” he told us. “It’s a special song that just soothes the soul. And it really represents what it is like to play with Dave and Tara, which is very natural. They create an environment where it’s easy to be yourself and be comfortable.”

And while he says whatever song they are recording at the moment becomes his newest “favorite,” there is one song that has become deeply meaningful to Charles. On February 4, 2016, the group was rehearsing “Growing Old with You,” a deeply reflective ballad about enduring love. “It’s such a beautiful song,” he told us. Sadly, during the rehearsal Charles received word that his father had passed away. Band members gathered around him, pouring out compassion and crying with him. He remembers, “Healing in my heart began that moment.”

Another memorable occasion with MountainCity was when the band played in Ainsworth, Nebraska, a small town “in the middle of nowhere,” he said. “The whole town came out to our show, and showered us with a lot of love that day and some of the best BBQ I’ve tasted.” 

Charles is generous in praising  other members of MountainCity. “These are some of the finest musicians I’ve ever played with,” he says of his bandmates. “We’ve worked with some amazing producers like Mike Binder and Dave Wilton. They’ve brought out some wonderful nuances and colors to the songs that I didn’t know were in there!”

Charles is excited for the opportunity to champion love with MountainCity. “When Tara talks about creating spaces where people can just relax and focus on their loved one, and even encourages audiences to resolve that, ‘Wow, this love we share is precious and worth fighting for,‘ well,” he said, “if people can walk away from our shows feeling that, that’s a pretty good day!” It is.

15 Fast FAQs about Charles Ciepiel, the Sicilian Stallion


  1. He owns Charlie Joe Coffee Company. He actually roasts his own coffee!
  2. His three biggest musical influences are The Beatles, Neil Diamond and Keith Green.
  3. If Charles could be on a TV show, it would be Timeless. He went to school with the brother of the main character (played by Matt Lanter) and would love to learn how to stop time so he could have endless creativity.
  4. Charles is the worship pastor at New Creation Church in Longmont, CO.
  5. He showcases his hat collection at live MountainCity concerts.
  6. He started playing piano when he was just 5, on an old upright in his family’s basement in Cleveland, Ohio (driving his Sicilian mama crazy).
  7. He plays piano and guitar.
  8. He took saxophone lessons for about 6 months until he realized he couldn’t sing and play sax at the same time.
  9. At age 13, Charles started playing in clubs all over his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, and at age 18, he moved to New York City to pursue a music career in songwriting.
  10. He’s written over a thousand songs and played music in more than 30 nations.
  11. He was in a musical duo in the 80s called Wise Guys. There may or may not have been a mullet involved.
  12. He once had two car accidents in one day. True story.
  13. At some point in just about every rehearsal, Dave Powers will do or say something that is so funny Charles will literally fall backwards off his keyboard stool in uncontrolled laughter. No worries, though. “There is a couch right behind me so it’s not a total free fall,” he assures us.
  14. He has a solo album on iTunes called, Mr. Savior Man.
  15. And finally, Charles was almost lost at sea off the coast of Jamaica on his and Jenny’s honeymoon. #OHJENNY, indeed!



Dave Powers would like to thank his sponsor, Stringjoy!

We encourage you to check out their strings, order a custom pick set, and follow their blog if you’re a musician!

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