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Celtic Thunder "Glee"-ful for former member's new gig

for Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2011

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It's been an eventful year in the carefully ordered world of Celtic Thunder.

First the group's Ryan Kelly announced his departure in April, then returned in August. And Damian McGinty also bowed out, to become a new cast member of "Glee." But singer and guitarist Neil Byrne says that the group, which was formed in 2007, has no problem with change.

"The way it is, with people coming and going, it always happens," notes Byrne, 34. "Someone goes off and does a solo career and somebody new comes in. At the time it seems like a huge, huge thing to happen, but after a small amount of time it becomes a well-oiled machine again and you're back into it.

"The lineup we have now is working really, really well. Everybody is jelling. There's a good vibe and new personalities. It keeps the show fresh as well, so that's great."

And, he adds, it's a kick to watch McGinty on TV each week.

"One of our tour managers suggested he audition (on 'The Glee Project') for the experience of it," Byrne says, "and I think amongst 50,000 applicants, he happened to win it, which was quite incredible. We always knew he'd do very well. It's just a dream come true for him and fantastic for us to see him do so well -- a little surreal, but fantastic."

Celtic Thunder's current show mixes its holiday repertoire with its other material, including selections from this year's theatrical piece, "Storm." The group has already recorded a new concert album and DVD, "Voyage," which will be released in March.

Celtic Thunder performs at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7, at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $65, $47.50 and $37.50. Call 313-471-6606 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.

Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

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