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,  Roundtower, Killen Thyme and Jamison Celtic Rock. Currently he plays in the full band Shackleton, and he plays acoustic shows regularly with different artists from the Philadelphia music scene, many who are in this band.    Mills has been a teacher at Bensalem High School for the past twenty two 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 The Celtic Christmas shows.

Dan Schram
(Director, Bass Guitar & Vocals)

Dan has been working as a professional musician for 29 years. He specializes in playing string instruments and battery percussion. He graduated from Temple University in 2000 with a degree in secondary education and 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 22 years and is also a proud graduate of the Bensalem High School class of 1995.

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Kimberly Killen
 (Lead 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 many 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.  

Shaun Durnin
 (Vocals, acoustic guitar)

Shaun Durnin has been playing all over the area as a solo acoustic act and often as a duo.   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.

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Laura Elbahtimy
(Piano, Keyboards, Violin, Vocals)

Once an active student in Bensalem’s band, orchestra, and choral programs, Laura is now in her fourteenth year as the General Music Teacher at Rush and Struble Elementary Schools where 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. 

Seamus McGroary
(Mandolin, 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.    

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Mike Shackleton
 (Vocals, acoustic guitar)

Mike Shackleton has become a household name for anyone who is going out to hear music in Philly, the Burbs or the Jersey Shore.   Mike plays acoustically  and with his full band all over the tri state area.    When not on stage, Shackleton spends his time as a Philadelphia Fire Fighter. 

Bob Hurst
 (Vocals, Accordian, Tin Whistle)  

Bob Hurst (accordian, bass clarinet, vocals) is a dynamic and versatile multi-instrumentalist and
vocalist who has fronted three groups, and has toured around the North-Eastern US, Ireland and on cruise ships in the Caribbean. Trained as a classical pianist, he has performed for over 40 years in Classical Ensembles, Concert & Marching Bands, and Orchestra and Rock Band Formats on Piano, Piano accordion, Clarinet/Bass Clarinet, Tin Whistle, Guitar (Acoustic and Electric), and Irish Drum/Bodhran. He has performed alongside many musicians in the Philadelphia area, and currently performs with the Irish rock group, Bogside Rogues, as band leader and front man.

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George Leigh 

(Trumpet and Brass)

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.  This is his third year in the show, and what he brings to the stage is a huge addition!  Leigh taught music in Bensalem for 18 years at BHS, Snyder, Rush, Cornwells, and Valley. He then moved into a position at Bensalem High School and is currently teaching history.

Hailey Mills 

(Vocals)

Hailey has been a Celtic Flame dancer in the  shows for the past eight years and a member of The Celtic Christmas Band for the past three years.  Hailey started singing as a toddler with her first live performance at 3 years old as she sang Your Love on stage with Mike Lecompt.  She went on to record on  Meg Russel’s CD, Hat Parade and perform at World Café Live.  Since then Hailey has been participating in talent shows, singing the National Anthem at local sporting events, sitting in with her Dad’s bands, and she is an active member of our Bensalem choir and musicals.

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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 all of The Celtic Christmas shows. 

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