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The Celtic Christmas Band

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 in three different acoustic shows with Seamus McGroary, Kevin O’Shea and Michael Thompson.  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. 

Bob Hurst (Accordian, Vocals)

Bob 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. 

Michael Anthony Thompson
(Lead Guitar & Vocals)

Michael Anthony Thompson began singing at the age of 3 in church as his mother was the chorus teacher.  He has been performing ever since in talent shows, musicals or with a band.  Most recently, Michael is part of a widely popular wedding band named Masquerade (www.ThisIsMasquerade.com). He also continues to play shows with an exciting live band duo called Deez2Guyz (www.Deez2Guyz.com), another duo with C J Mills and consistently as a solo acoustic act for a wide range of events.   Michael has performed up and down the east coast professionally for over 20 years and continues to flourish as an entertainer in this Tri-State area.

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 .

Kevin O Shea 
(Acoustic Guitar, Vocals)

Kevin’s musical roots stem from his love of Irish and country music, deeply connecting with the lyrics, meaning and story behind every song.  Kevin began playing guitar at the age of 17 after being inspired by some of his favorite artists.  In 2017, at the age of 21, Kevin began playing solo acoustic shows and with the help of bandmates Conor Moore, Matt Fink and Mike Fink, started the band Oakwyn.   Kevin has been playing throughout the tri-state area for the past two years as a solo act, in a duo with C J Mills, and with his band Oakwyn.  He credits much of his musical success to the other musicians that have helped him along the way.

Ray Coleman 
(Acoustic Guitar, Vocals)

Born in his native Ardboe, County Tyrone Raymond Coleman, with his unique, rich melodic vocals he is quickly making a name for himself in the Irish/American music world. He has an unusual inborn ability to tell a story as he sings with a robust yet often gentle timber in his voice. He sings and plays the guitar with ease and his natural ability will carry you along on his singing journeys. With his vast knowledge of music, you never know where that voyage may lead you. You will enjoy the songs along the way and often won’t want the trip to end. Raymond now lives in in Philadelphia, so you can catch one of his magical music journeys in many different Irish/American pubs or clubs along the east coast.

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 19 years and is also a proud graduate of the Bensalem High School class of 1995.

Martin Bradfield

(Drums and Percussion)

Martin has been a versatile and popular drummer and teacher on the Philly scene since 1977.  The owner of Martin Bradfield Drum Studios, he has taught over 12,000 students and over 55,000 drum lessons in his career.

In addition to his own jazz groups, wedding bands, drum ensembles, drum clinics, theater work and studio work, Martin was in the popular Philly based Irish band Causeway for many years.  As a testimony to his versatility, he has shared the professional stage with groups and artists as diverse as Julius La Rosa through Danny and the Juniors, The Shirelles, The Platters, Jimmy Heath, Al Grey, Tommy Dedesco from the Wrecking Crew, and many others.  When forced to declare a favorite outlet, Martin says, “I love the range and passion of the Irish Music and its fans."nMar.

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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