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Celtic Thunder Help With Hurricane Sandy Relief

(PAM) Celtic Thunder took time out of their hectic touring schedule to visit the storm ravaged victims of Hurricane Sandy in the heavily Irish American community of Rockaway, Queens.

The band also gathered for a packed unplugged benefit performance at the Greenwich Village hotspot Sullivan Hall later that evening.

The band crossed the country, landing in NYC late Sunday night for an early morning visit to the Navillus Distribution and Warming Center set up in the center of a parking lot in Rockaway Beach, where they personally distributed several hundred warm blankets and gloves which they donated to the Center. The Warming Center has been a destination for those in need of food, clothing, cleaning supplies, and just a warm place to go. Celtic Thunder pitched in to help distribute the other much-needed items. Earlier in the day, they traveled with The Coalition of Hope to see first-hand the severely damaged area. The organization is responsible for the warming tents, which have had up to 750 people there in one day. The band reflected on the day sharing, "you hear the stories and it's something that really touched home with us," band member Emmet Cahill said. "You know we feel very blessed to be able do what we do and we're very lucky we've never gone through something like this. So when we see people in a time of need like this, we basically want to give something back."

Later in the evening as their fans lined the entire length of Sullivan Street in the heart of Greenwich Village, the band prepared for an unplugged benefit performance for the hurricane victims, with proceeds going to The Coalition of Hope. Band member Ryan Kelly shared why it was important for them to be hands on "We were just driving around and just looking at some of the destruction and you see the Irish flags on the homes on stuff and it drills it home. There is obviously a connection, but there's so many nationalities here involved and we're just trying to raise awareness and raise a wee bit of money to get these people back on their feet again." The benefit concert was attended by over 300 people and generated over $9,000. As part of the fund-raising effort, fans were able to purchase "Armchair Passes," allowing them to download their live performance which lasted nearly two hours, as Celtic Thunder performed rousing classic rock songs mixed with classic Celtic folk songs. The passes ultimately contributed an additional $18,000 in donations. Before the music filled the hall, a check for $10,000 from ECP/Time-Life Cruises for the Celtic Thunder Cruise, was presented to the band for the Coalition Hope charity organization. Owners of Sullivan Hall donated the space for the benefit performance.

Celtic Thunder headed back out on the road early Tuesday morning for their scheduled performance on Wednesday, December 5th, at LA's Nokia Theatre.

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