The other members of Celtic Thunder are positively "Glee"-ful for their former groupmate Damian McGinty.
The 19-year-old Irish singer, who was with the vocal troupe for five years, was one of the winners of the Oxygen network reality show "The Glee Project," snagging a seven-show guest role that, of course, he hopes might lead to a full-time cast spot in the future. And the rest of Celtic Thunder is rooting for that to happen.
"It's just a dream come true for him and fantastic for us to see him do so well," the group's Neil Byrne tells Billboard.com. "It was one of our tour managers who suggested (McGinty) do it, just for the experience of it. I think (McGinty) wants to go the sort of television route, anyway, so he went for it...and happened to win, which was quite incredible. We always knew he'd do very well. He has a strong personality and likability, a great voice and everything."
Byrne says McGinty "popped into a couple shows we were playing in Los Angeles," while his role on "Glee" has created a new habit in Celtic Thunder. "We tune in every week now to see him," Byrne notes. "It's surreal but fantastic. It's great to see him doing so well."
Celtic Thunder is doing just fine, too. The group is in the midst of its annual holiday run of North America while also promoting its latest album and DVD, "Storm," a conceptual, narrative project that came out in September and debuted at No. 1 on the Top World Albums chart and No. 25 on the Billboard 200. Byrne says there's been no word yet about staging a specific "Storm" show yet, though he and the others would be up for it. "I really enjoyed it," he says. "It was a challenge, more sort of acting than just getting up and singing. There was a lot of choreography, and the music was great. I would enjoy if it went on the road. We like to keep it fresh."
That said, Celtic Thunder has already finished its next outing, a more straightforward performance album and DVD called "Voyage" which was taped and filmed during two October concerts in Kansas City and is due out in March. "It's a full live show," Byrne reports, "new stuff and then of course some of our anthems. We've just seen some footage of it and it looks really, really good. Everyone has a lot of experience with filming and stuff like that; to have a live audience in front of the camera really gives us something to bounce the act off of."
Byrne says "Voyage" will include "some different arrangements of duets and stuff we've done before," including a new take on "Whiskey in the Jar" as well as "Kindred Spirits," a new song by Celtic Thunder composer musical director Phil Coulter. "There's a lot of fun injected into it this time, a lot more than we've done before -- what we call good banter," Byrne adds. "We like to keep some familiarity in there, then inject a lot of new stuff to keep it fresh. But it still has our stamp on it."