CELTIC THUNDER TO PERFORM AT 1ST BANK CENTER OCTOBER 26 (from October 2010 Celtic Connection) He may be the “Dark Destroyer”, the heart breaker. The bad boy of Celtic Thunder. But Ryan Kelly is also a serious student of Irish music, a songwriter himself who is getting ready to release an album, and a lover of musical theater. When he auditioned for Celtic Thunder, he was working a 9-5 job as an accountant. Which is probably a good career background for a member of the wildly popular Celtic Thunder. Accountant turned “Dark Destroyer, Ryan Kelly spoke to me from the road, where Celtic Thunder is starting a new fall tour of the United States. Ryan grew up in The Moy, County Tyrone, so I asked him if Paul Brady had been a big influence. “Absolutely”, said Ryan. “Paul Brady would have been a big one. I also listened to people like Christy Moore, for example. I do a version of “Black Is The Colour” which I originally heard from Christy.” CR There is sort of this odd thing whereby you are Irish guys (well, and Scottish, George!) and when the show first came out, it celebrated all things Celtic, more or less. Since then, it has broadened out into all sorts of popular music from Sting to The Eagles. It seems to be sort of be the reverse of what you used to find in Ireland. One would go to Ireland to a pub and you would hear John Denver songs before you would hear Jimmy Mac Carthy songs. Now we have an Irish group that is singing US popular music. There is nothing wrong with that, per se, as Phil Coulter (music director of Celtic Thunder) is a genius who knows more about what people want to hear than anyone in the music business before or since. RK “I think that”s a fair comment that you make”, replied Ryan, “that an Irish show would be mainly Irish music and you”d be there singing the likes of “The Fields Of Athenry” and “Danny Boy” three times a night you know, but the thing about Celtic Thunder from the start, is that it has always been about the music. We”ve always believed that good music is good music regardless of what genre it is. At the end of the day, we are Irish artists. In the new show, we are going back to the roots of Celtic music, but alongside that we are covering songs that are not necessarily Irish, but are songs we grew up listening to. But we are putting our own spin on them, our own Irish stamp on them, you know? Anybody coming to our show is still going to get Irish entertainment, Celtic entertainment”. “Something we take a lot of pride in, is when you come to one of our shows, you see a vast age range in the audience. Kids from four to five years old to their great-granny of 105 and everything in-between! I think that”s very much a testament to the music we do play. There will be kids hearing these songs for the first time, thinking we were the first ones to record them (laughing) but their mums and dads know that these songs were made famous by other groups before we started singing them! I think what our show is trying to do is bring back that era of an entertainment show”a variety show, I suppose, where the whole family can sit there and enjoy the whole show as a family”. “If you look at the set list on paper of a Celtic Thunder show, it probably shouldn”t work (laughing), but when it is on stage, it does”. CR I agree that you do have a complete entertainment factor to your show. For people that haven”t seen the show live, or seen it on PBS, there are a lot of visual things happening on stage. It isn”t just a bunch of good lookin” guys strolling about singing songs. Each song is almost a vignette, with action surrounding it. RK We do have a big visual component to the show. And the stage set in the first part of this new show is very much a Celtic set from Ireland around the 16th century or so. Then in the second half, “It”s Entertainment”, it is back to a bandstand that they may be more familiar with from the show on PBS. And while its great to watch on T.V., there”s nothing like seeing a live show. We”ve got that great big band backing us, a lot of visuals and the lighting is fantastic. CR Well, let”s talk a little bit about your role in the show. You are known as “The Dark Destroyer”. A bit of a lad, who gets the girls, then breaks their hearts. RK ” From sort of day one, Sharon Browne our producer, and Phil Coulter, our musical director decided there would be separate roles within the show on a loose level. “The Dark Destroyer” is the name I”ve sort of been tagged with. It”s a lot of fun, because I get to sing some songs that have been written particularly for myself”for the role. In the last few shows, I”ve been playing the bad guy against Paul (Byrom) who is the good guy. In this new tour, we”re not playing off each other as much as we were before, but I still have a few songs I can put an evil face on now and again (laughing)”. CR Fans are a big part of Celtic Thunder. They call themselves “Thunder Heads” and I think the Celtic Thunder fans have put the “fan” in fanatic. There is enthusiasm, and fandom, but no offense, reading some of the message boards dedicated to you guys are kind of scary. Some of these fans seem a bit over the top with their obsession. Does that bother you at all? Scare you? Because people can be goofy. RK “Yeah, you have to be careful and maybe one person may step out of line along the way, but it is very, very much in the minority. Our fans have been very loyal from the start and they are growing all the time with us as we continue to grow as a show and as a group. To be honest, when you go out onstage every night and the fans are there and they are so excited to be there and to see us, we feed off them, and they feed off us. Its great to know, backstage, before you go out onto that stage the familiar faces are going to be there”and new faces as well and they are there to enjoy the show and we couldn”t ask for more, to be perfectly honest”. “To me, personally, four years ago, I was sitting in an office, doing a 9 to 5 job as an accountant, you know? There”s millions of people around the world who would give their right arm to do what I”m doing, and we always keep that in our minds that we”ve been given a fantastic opportunity and you”ve got to be thankful for that”. CR I saw somewhere you were going to release a CD of your own songs. I know you write songs as well, and considering the deep well of songwriters in Ireland, like Jimmy MacCarthy, Damien Rice, Glen Hansard, Paul Brady and the like, you have a rich heritage to draw on. RK ” Its very interesting that the four people you have mentioned are probably my four heroes when it comes to songwriting! I”ve always been a massive admirer of Damien Rice”s songwriting and his style. I”ve been writing songs since I was 15 or 16 years old and being with Celtic Thunder has given me the opportunity to go further with that. I”ve actually been in the studio and recorded eleven tracks and am in the process of hopefully getting an album released in the next few weeks. I”m very much a part of Celtic Thunder and will be as long as they”ll have me, but its nice to have this as a side project because I love the songwriting and its nice to sing your own pieces from time to time and see people”s reaction to them”. Let”s talk about your theatre background. You”ve done theater before auditioning for Celtic Thunder. Do you have future plans for theater”perhaps as high as Broadway? RK “I”m always honored when people mention my name with Broadway. I”ve always loved musical theater. Whenever I get to New York, I always go down to Broadway to see musical theater or a play. Musical theater is a fantastic art, and I”d love to get back into it again. Who knows? Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice have always been heroes of mine and I”d love to get back into it somewhere down the line”. CR You”ll be coming to Denver next month. Have you ever had a problem with the altitude and dry air out here when you sing? Coming from sea level to a mile high often startles singers when they don”t find much oxygen in the air. RK “We”ve definitely all felt it. Not in any drastic way where we”re gasping for air or anything, but you don”t have as much air at times as you do in other venues. I felt it last time because I do a lot of running and I went out for a jog, and I think I lasted about 15 minutes, then I was ready to collapse, you know? (laughing) The one thing about our show is that we never sing more than two or three songs in a row before we get a break and another guy comes on to sing, so I think we avoid most of those issues with that. However, I think I might cancel the running this time around, you know?” (laughing) “It”s a beautiful city. We always have good memories of Denver, because the first time we went to Denver, we had a few days off before the show and we went skiing. So it was my first time skiing up in the mountains. Every time I think of Denver, I think of skiing and the views from up on top of the mountain. They were amazing!” Celtic Thunder will be in Denver October 26 at the 1st. Bank Center at 7:30 p.m. Check out their website at: www.celticthunder.com

CELEBRATE THE GIFT OF LIFE OCTOBER 10th To “give a stranger the shirt off his back” is often used to describe someone who is extremely generous, helpful, or compassionate. To give one of your internal organs so another can live can be described as the height of courage. This selfless act of bravery was exemplified recently when Denver Police Detective (DPD) Danny Veith donated one of his kidneys to Ed David, also a Detective with DPD. A 16 year veteran (prior years at Glendale PD, CO) Detective Veith is now in charge of the DPD Employee Assistance & Wellness Unit that serves 1,400 officers. Among his duties is to assist officers who have health issues that effect their jobs and to liaison with people who have the expertise to relieve and remedy. In March 2010 he was approached by Detective David who had a very serious issue. “We hardly new each other,” recalled Veith who spoke with the Celtic Connection prior to the donation procedure, adding, “I just wanted to help a fellow officer in need.” Det. David was scheduled to receive a kidney but there were functional issues with the donor”s kidney and he was unable to donate. Veith began to read and research on the topic and in the process decided to promote a kidney donor drive at DPD in hopes of finding a match. As well as encouraging others to get involved, Veith also signed up to participate, “I felt that I needed to lead by example and put my money where my mouth was.” In June he found out the results of the donor candidates test. Out of the officers tested there was one who”s blood type matched Det. David”s and who was deemed the best donor candidate. It was Veith. Veith told David that a donor match was found but kept the donor”s name anonymous. As more tests and time progressed towards the September surgery date Veith called David, “I told him that the anonymous donor wanted to meet us down at the Celtic Tavern,” and added with a chuckle, “You should have seen the look on his face when the meeting took place and I told him that the donor was me.” Though different work shifts and areas of specialization within DPD kept Veith and David as virtual strangers, the extraordinary circumstances that have taken place since March have created good friends. A week or so prior to the September 27 surgery David presented Veith with a watch. It came with the inscription, “9-27-2010 BRAIPHREACHAS” described Veith, “Which is Gaelic for “Brotherhood” along with our surgery date. Ed bought an identical watch with the same inscription so that we will have more in common than just matching kidneys.” Having a mother from Castlebar, Co Mayo, Ireland, Veith has a respect and appreciation for his roots. He is co-founder of the Colorado Emerald Society (Detective George Kennedy served as the first President, and Veith the first Vice-President). The Colorado Emerald Society is a social organization for police, fire, and emergency responders whom help perpetuate the traditions of the Irish in public safety. Retired DPD officer and current President of the Colorado Emerald Society Dave O’Shea-Dawkins worked with Veith and spoke of his character and police service. “Danny and I worked at Denver Police District 6 together. I was a street supervisor and at one point he was on bicycle patrol. He worked the downtown area and was very community oriented. He worked closely with the homeless and every morning he would check on them – he knew where they were sleeping- and make sure they were ok. When a homeless organizations reached out to the DPD, it was Danny they sought. My desk at work had the American and Irish flags on it, as well as a Sinn Fein poster, and when Danny saw those items we became good friends.” He points out how Veith”s concern for others continues at his role with the Assistance & Wellness Unit. “He calls it the POWER UNIT, “Police Officer Wellness Employee Assistance” He was always concerned about his fellow officers health and how the job affected their health. You know, long hours of boredom interrupted by instant adrenalin rushes. Many officers compensated by eating poorly and drinking too much. Danny’s unit makes them aware of these dangers, offers alternatives to a healthier police life. He is also there to assist officers and families when an officer is sick or injured, or a family member. So, Danny is the guy you want as a friend and a backup because he is competent and caring.” On Sunday October 10, The Celtic Tavern, 1801 Blake St will hold a fundraiser from 3-8pm. “The fundraiser was originally conceived as a small get together to help me compensate for the lost wages from all the extra-duty jobs I do.” Said Veith, “It started to grow in popularity, so we decided the excess funds attained would roll over into Ed David’s existing medical fund. Now that it is getting bigger, we are focusing on using it as an opportunity to bring about awareness in the Denver area for the need for blood, organ, and tissue donations. So we are hoping your story will point that out — that we want anyone and everyone to attend as we are striving for blood, organ, and tissue donor awareness in Colorado.” (Contributions payable to the “Danny Veith Fund” can also be sent to Rocky Mountain Law Enforcement Federal Credit Union, 700 W. 39th Ave., Denver, CO., 80216.)

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