By Melanie Mizenko - [email protected]

Celtic Thunder’s “Legacy” woos Wilkes-Barre crowd

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Celtic Thunder performed Aug. 30, to a nearly sold-out crowd at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts.
Amanda Hrycyna | For Times Leader
The newest member of Celtic Thunder, Michael O’Dwyer, performs a song during his Aug. 30 appearance at the F.M. Kirby Center with the group.
Amanda Hrycyna | For Times Leader
Ryan Kelly is one of the original members of Celtic Thunder. He and the rest of the Irish musical group performed recently at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts.
Amanda Hrycyna | For Times Leader
Celtic Thunder, comprised of crooners Ryan Kelly, Neil Byrne, Emmet Cahill, Michael O’Dwyer and Damian McGinty, performed Aug. 30, at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts.
Amanda Hrycyna | For Times Leader
Celtic Thunder member Damian McGinty was a guest star on the hit television series ‘Glee.’ He and the rest of the Celtic Thunder members performed Aug. 30 at the F.M. Kirby Center.
Amanda Hrycyna | For Times Leader

WILKES-BARRE — It wasn’t parade day.

It wasn’t even March, but the spirits of many in Wilkes-Barre were green as Celtic Thunder played the F.M. Kirby Center Tuesday.

Their “Legacy” tour made a stop in the Diamond City to a nearly sold-out crowd. The five lads — Ryan Kelly, Neil Byrne, Emmet Cahill, Michael O’Dwyer and Damian McGinty — who are given the name Celtic Thunder are rehearsed, choreographed and they keep things moving.

McGinty, who played Rory Flanagan, an Irish exchange student on “Glee,” is back with the group and the newest addition is Michael O’Dwyer.

“I’m blown away by Michael,” Cheryl Kabana, of Hometown, said. Agreeing with Kabana were Darleen Wood, of Montrose, and Angela Armato, of Binghamton, N.Y.

Both Wood and Armato have been to “countless shows.” Wood has gone as far as Toronto, Ontario, for the Irish sensations.

The concert’s format reverberated around songs that have spanned their nine-year career and several member changes, including the death of beloved member, George Donaldson. The guys put their powerful Gaelic voices to work on folk tunes, ballads and several ensemble numbers to demonstrate their crowd-pleasing choreography.

While each soloist has their moment, several times throughout the show, the ensemble songs seemed to draw the biggest fan interaction. There is nothing like “Now We Are Free,” a cover from the movie “Gladiator” or hearing the crowd sing along to the pub-worthy tunes of “Seven Drunken Nights” and Cahill’s solo “My Irish Molly-O.”

Notable tunes included the first song Bryne recorded with the group, a love song to “Noreen,” and McGinty’s cover of Broadway’s “Falling Slowly” from the musical “Once.” The Irish standards like “Danny Boy” and “Galway Girl” were executed so perfectly that they charmed men and women alike.

“Hallelujah” and “Take Me Home” poured forth in harmony, like only Celtic Thunder can give.

“They never disappoint,” Kabana said.

The more-peppier tunes had the audience believing they were transported to either a rock show or a comedy act. McGinty’s “Breaking Up is Hard to Do,” had a comedy act intro. The TV star’s “back up singers were missing” and after “hearing them sing in the dressing room” recruited Kelly and Bryne to don wigs and sing the “oohs” and “ahhs” while McGinty made the younger girls swoon, channeling his inner Bobby Darin.

“From the time I started going, Damian was always my favorite,” Sarah Cease, of Hunlock Creek, said noting she’s been attending concerts since the first time Celtic Thunder performed at the then-Wachovia Arena.

The lights made their way around the set and flickered during Kelly and Byrne’s rock rendition of “Whiskey in the Jar.”

“How can you chose between five handsome lads with an Irish accent and a voice that you would dream of singing you to sleep at night?” Cease asked.

The atmosphere seemed to be electrified during the crowd-rousing, get-on-your-feet inducing “Ireland’s Call,” including the requisite kilts.

“It’s very family friendly,” Wood said.

Celtic Thunder performed Aug. 30, to a nearly sold-out crowd at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_Celtic-Thunder-2-1.jpgCeltic Thunder performed Aug. 30, to a nearly sold-out crowd at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts. Amanda Hrycyna | For Times Leader

The newest member of Celtic Thunder, Michael O’Dwyer, performs a song during his Aug. 30 appearance at the F.M. Kirby Center with the group.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_Celtic-Thunder-3-1.jpgThe newest member of Celtic Thunder, Michael O’Dwyer, performs a song during his Aug. 30 appearance at the F.M. Kirby Center with the group. Amanda Hrycyna | For Times Leader

Ryan Kelly is one of the original members of Celtic Thunder. He and the rest of the Irish musical group performed recently at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_Celtic-Thunder-4-1.jpgRyan Kelly is one of the original members of Celtic Thunder. He and the rest of the Irish musical group performed recently at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts. Amanda Hrycyna | For Times Leader

Celtic Thunder, comprised of crooners Ryan Kelly, Neil Byrne, Emmet Cahill, Michael O’Dwyer and Damian McGinty, performed Aug. 30, at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_Celtic-Thunder-5-1.jpgCeltic Thunder, comprised of crooners Ryan Kelly, Neil Byrne, Emmet Cahill, Michael O’Dwyer and Damian McGinty, performed Aug. 30, at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts. Amanda Hrycyna | For Times Leader

Celtic Thunder member Damian McGinty was a guest star on the hit television series ‘Glee.’ He and the rest of the Celtic Thunder members performed Aug. 30 at the F.M. Kirby Center.
http://theweekender.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/web1_celtic-thunder-6-1.jpgCeltic Thunder member Damian McGinty was a guest star on the hit television series ‘Glee.’ He and the rest of the Celtic Thunder members performed Aug. 30 at the F.M. Kirby Center. Amanda Hrycyna | For Times Leader

By Melanie Mizenko

[email protected]

Reach Melanie Mizenko at 570-991-6116 or on Twitter @TL_MMizenko

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Reach Melanie Mizenko at 570-991-6116 or on Twitter @TL_MMizenko