The Celtic Christmas Band

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CJ Mills - (Producer, Fiddle) 

CJ started his musical career at the age of 6 playing the violin in the Bensalem music program, and performing in the district orchestras until he graduated from Bensalem High School in 1993. At the age of twenty, he began playing professionally and has played in rock, bluegrass, country and Irish bands including Love Seed Mama Jump, Fourwood, Common Ground, Killen Thyme and Jamison Celtic Rock. Recently he has been playing with Seamus McGroary in the acoustic duo Seamus and CJ, and also plays with a number of other musicians, depending on the show.    Mills has been a teacher at Bensalem High School for the past twenty years where he teaches Media Communications and is the Executive Producer of The Owls Television Network. C J is also the Executive Producer of the Philadelphia Fleadh and Celtic Christmas in Bensalem.

Laura Elbahtimy
(Piano, Keyboards, Violin, Vocals)

Once an active student in Bensalem’s band, orchestra, and choral programs, Laura is now in her tenth year as the General Music Teacher at Benjamin Rush Elementary School. She teaches students kindergarten through sixth grade, and conducts the 4th- 6th grade chorus. In 2011, Laura implemented a guitar curriculum servicing all 5th and 6th graders, which has now evolved into Rush’s after school rock group, “The Roadrunners.” Laura received her Bachelor of Music Education, piano concentration, from the University of Maryland, and her Masters of Education from Cabrini College. 

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Seamus McGroary
(Acoustic Guitar, Tenor Banjo, Vocals) 

Seamus McGroary was born in County Donegal, Ireland. He began playing at age 11 and gigging at age 13. At age 19 he became a resident DJ in the Limelight nightclub in Ireland. In 2004 he moved to Manchester, England and began sitting in on acoustic jams and open mic nights. He moved to Philadelphia in 2005 and formed the band Random Blonde which played bars, clubs and festivals around Philly and the Jersey shore for six years.  In 2010 Seamus began playing solo gigs playing many local rooms, traveling as far as Manhattan and Yonkers and even on occasion making the trip back to Ireland to play a gig or two.    Currently Seamus is still playing solo shows and is also playing in the Irish Rock Duo – Seamus and C J .

Dan Schram
(Bass Guitar & Vocals)

Dan has been working as a professional musician for 25 years. He specializes in playing string instruments and battery percussion. He graduated from Temple University in 2000 with a degree in secondary education. He has a minor in music performance and psychology. Dan has either backed up or shared the bill with many great professional musicians including the Spin Doctors, G love and Special Sauce, Tommy Conwell, and Ben Harper to name a few. Dan has been a teacher for the Bensalem School District for 21 years and is also a proud graduate of the Bensalem High School class of 1995.

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Kimberly Killen
 (Vocals and tin whistle)

Kim Killen has been a part of this show since its conception.   Her voice is one of the most powerful you will have the pleasure to hear, and she is no stranger to the stage, or to the Philly Music Scene.  Singing since she was a little girl, Kim has been in multiple bands, playing multiple genres of music over the years.  Starting with The Patriots, she was one of the first bands to play Irish Weekend in North Wildwood.  She went on to become the lead singer for the popular band Causeway, and then Killen Thyme.  Kim currently plays in the rock band Vuja De, and in the acoustic duo, Killen Clarke.  

Mike Shackleton
 (Vocals, acoustic and lead guitar)

Mike Shackleton has become a household name in anyone who is going out to hear music in Philly or the Jersey Shore.  Mike has been playing music in his acoustic duo, Mike and Callie, and they are selling out clubs that full bands normally play.   Recently the duo has expanded to a full band which also does extremely well.  His powerful vocals and skilled guitar playing are an excellent addition to the band this year.

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Shaun Durnin
 (Vocals, acoustic and lead guitar)

Shaun Durnin has been playing all over the tri-state area as a solo acoustic act.   Raised listening to Irish music from his father who was from Ireland, Durnin has Celtic music running through his veins.   A trained vocalist, Shaun has an amazing voice as well as great licks on the guitar.

Kyle Walter
 (Drums)

Kyle Walter is bringing a strong rock and roll back beat to the stage this year.  A Philadelphia native, regular in the local Irish scene, Kyle has been playing the drums for 21 years.  His signature sound has taken him across the country touring in multiple original acts.  He currently is involved in various original projects, studio work, and can be regularly seen playing all of the Philadelphia and the Jersey Shore scene year round with many artists, including Mike and Callie when they do the full band show.   The Man is a time keeping Machine. 

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George Leigh - Trumpet

Mr. George Leigh is a professional freelance trumpet player who performs in the area with various ensembles, artists, and bands. He was a music director with Carnival Cruise Lines and has recorded for the Wells Fargo Center (Then Wachovia Center) and other local recording artists. Mr. Leigh has taught music in Bensalem for the past 18 years at BHS, Snyder, Rush, Cornwells, and Valley. He recently moved into a position at the high school and is currently teaching history.

 

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B.A.M.N. Productions -

Sound and Lights

B.A.M.N. Productions is a Philadelphia based sound and lighting company that has been in business for over ten years.   A family business,  B.A.M.N stands for By Any Means Necessary, and Tym Johnson and his crew stand true to their name.  The equipment, expertise, and professionalism is second to none, and it is why they are the company chosen to run both stages at The Philadelphia Fleadh, as well as all lighting and sound for Celtic Christmas in Bensalem.   

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