Irish quintet Celtic Thunder is redoubling its touring efforts in North America this year after completing a successful three-month run in fall 2008. The outing begins March 21 at landmark Theatre in Syracuse, NY, and ends May 7 at UBC Thunderbird Arena in Vancouver, BC.

Thirty headlining performances are currently booked for the tour, which features an extensive 18-show trek across the Canadian provinces. North of the border, the vocalists will perform April 9 at Harbour Station in St. John, NB; April 19 at the John Labatt Centre in London, ON; April 27 at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, MB; and May 3 at Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon, SK, among other dates.

Highlights for the U.S. leg of the jaunt include a March 25 show at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, DC, an April 1 concert at Beacon Theatre in New York, NY, and an April 3 performance at the MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods in Mashantucket, CT.

Celtic Thunder is touring behind its sophomore effort “Celtic Thunder: Act Two,” released in September 2008. The group formed in 2007 and soon released an eponymous debut album and a companion DVD, “Celtic Thunder: The Show.” However, the group did not gain mainstream attention in the U.S. until PBS stations across the country began featuring the group.

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The group is comprised of Damien McGinty, Keith Harkin, Ryan Kelly, Paul Byrom and George Donaldson. Ranging in age from the late-teens to early 40s, the members perform a selection of traditional Irish songs, as well as contemporary covers. Live concerts feature a mix of ensemble performances and solo numbers.

Ensemble tours featuring traditional Irish song and dance mixed with contemporary overtones have become increasingly popular in the last decade, beginning with the emergence of Riverdance in the mid-1990s. Irish step dancer Michael Flatley’s offshoot Lord of the Dance, and female vocal group Celtic Woman have been the latest addition to the craze, selling out numerous shows around the world.

Celtic Thunder itinerary:
(Dates are subject to change.)

March 21 Syracuse, NY Landmark Theatre
March 22 Newark, NJ New Jersey Performing Arts Center
March 23 Lowell, MA Lowell Memorial Auditorium
March 25 Washington, DC DAR Constitution Hall
March 27 Columbia, SC Township Auditorium
March 28 Charleston, WV Charleston Municipal Auditorium
March 29 Norfolk, VA Chrysler Hall
March 31 Buffalo, NY Shea’s Performing Arts Center
April 1 New York, NY Beacon Theatre
April 3 Mashantucket, CT MGM Grand Theater
April 6 Portland, ME Cumberland Co. Civic Center
April 9 Saint John, NB Harbour Station
April 11 Sydney, NS Centre 200
April 13 Halifax, NS Halifax Metro Centre
April 16 Ottawa, ON Scotiabank Place
April 17 Rama, ON Casino Rama Entertainment Centre
April 18 Kingston, ON K-Rock Centre
April 19 London, ON The John Labatt Centre
April 21 Sudbury, ON Sudbury Arena
April 22 Hamilton, ON Copps Coliseum
April 24 Waukegan, IL Genesee Theatre
April 27 Winnipeg, MB MTS Centre
April 28 Regina, SK Brandt Centre
April 30 Calgary, AB Stampede Corral
May 1 Lethbridge, AB ENMAX Centre
May 2 Edmonton, AB Rexall Place
May 3 Saskatoon, SK Credit Union Centre
May 5 Prince George, BC CN Centre
May 6 Kamloops, BC Interior Savings Centre
May 7 Vancouver, BC UBC Thunderbird Arena