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Celtic Thunder embraces the Christmas spirit

of the Oakland Press

» See more SOUND CHECK

“Snow” falls from the rafters curing Celtic Thunder’s new Christmas show — which the group’s Paul Byrom says is more of a treat for the audience than for the group’s five vocalists.

“It’s interesting because none of us were expecting it,” says Byrom, 31, a Dublin native who’s moving to New York in December. “Whilst we’re singing away this snow is coming down and it tastes like washing liquid, falling into our mouths while we’re singing.

“It’s not necessarily the best experience to go through, but it’s all about the visuals. And it works well, so ... we suffer for our art, you know?”

Celtic Thunder is embracing the holiday in a big way. The “Christmas” album, recorded in the spring — “When it was lovely and sunny outside in Ireland,” Byrom notes — came out in October with three originals and a range of material from “Ave Maria” to Wham!’s “Last Christmas,” while a DVD of the troupe’s holiday concert, filmed in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., was released this week. The best thing about the holiday shows, Byrom notes, is that “we know we’re in the home stretch” of a tour that finishes Dec. 9, but he adds that the group is well aware of the benefits of having this kind of musical fare in its repertoire.

“A Christmas album is something you’ll have the rest of your career,” explains Byrom, who put out a holiday set of his own in 2008, which appeared on Billboard magazine’s classical chart. “It’s something you can go back to and regurgitate every year, so commercially it’s a good idea. Whenever that time of year comes around, you have something special you can pull out.

“So for the longevity of any project or show, a Christmas album is always a nice thing to have. It’ll serve us well over the years — at least we hope.”

Celtic Thunder performs at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2 at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $57.50, $47.50 and $37.50. Call 313-471-6611 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.

Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

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