Hello Everyone, Well, how about that final Glee Project episode tonight? I was laughing, speechless, crying, excited, sad, nervous for him - wasn't much better than a kid myself, didn't know which end of me was up!
My kids are all bigger now but it felt exactly like it used to years ago on Christmas morning when Santa had arrived. It was a joy to see Damian's face, so many emotions flashing across it and a huge beaming smile breaking through. I was so proud of him and so honoured to have been here with it for him.
We are still in a state of suspended disbelief.
Before everyone asks me "What now" as I know you will, we don't know a lot yet. None of us ever thought this would happen, particularly Damian himself who is still our Damian, modest, humble and sweet. What I do know, and we'll have to meet the Glee people this week, is that Damian McGinty WON the Glee Project and has achieved a 7 episode role in the GLEE show. He went for his dream and he's achieved it and is so happy he is ready to burst.
For Damian and his family at home as well as all of us in Celtic Thunder and all of our fans, it's a very bitter sweet moment. We've watched Damian grow up before our eyes, and really couldn't be more proud or happy for him and his brilliant achievement. A young boy from Derry out of 40,000 contenders wins a role for 7 episodes in GLEE, arguably the biggest TV show for teens and young people in the world right now. To do these 7 episodes he has won, it clearly means Damian won't be on the tour and we will miss having him on the road as I'm sure you will.
Having said that, I know our fans - and you will be as proud and excited as you are sad and wish him only the best. And you will be seeing him every week on your TV's for a while and can continue to witness his growth as a young man and a performer. We'll be on stage so I'll have to figure how to record it every week, I can't not have him with us and miss watching him as well, I couldn't cope with that.
I've spoken to his Mum and Dad, who are over the moon, but also torn between this life changing opportunity for their baby and his being away from home without the company of Celtic Thunder all around him. I'm staying in LA this week to make sure he is set up OK and will make sure he has a safe roof over his head. I will continue to look after him to let him just enjoy this new success and all of us will stay in constant contact and visit when we can.
So many changes, such is the way with rearing kids, we all do our very best for them and have to suck it up, smile, congratulate them, advise them and wish them well when they get to where we were hoping they would, and try and keep the tears back not to upset them. My baby at home leaving school and going off on his gap year and then on to University to do Science full of the ambition and enthusiasm of youth as his two brothers have before him. And my baby at work "graduating" from my school in CT and going off to realise his dreams. Paul taking his leap into pursuing his dreams as a solo artist. It's really hard to let go isn't it? All great kids, I'm so proud of them and happy for them and have complete faith in all of them, but you never stop worrying do you?
To offset some (not all) of the bitter sweet feelings this news has engendered in us all, I will share some more good news with you.
Ryan - He has obviously been through a lot and I thought he should maybe take a little time out but he is raring to go (don't you love the ability to bounce back, the energy and enthusiasm of being young?) and we have missed him in our CT working family so.... Ryan will be on QVC on the 1st September promoting STORM and then he is COMING BACK OUT ON TOUR!
Despite his determination to get his life fully back with both hands, which I get (I've enough boys around me), I'm keeping the brakes on just a little, which he's not wild about but I'm the "Mom" here. Like the others Ryan will perform his own solo tracks on the tour, and 2 of them are new songs. Despite it being ridiculously late - (as you know we've been in the studio 3 months this year recording) and the show was mixed, as soon as Ryan called me and told me he was out of the nightmare (on the Tuesday), our new MD David Munro (lovely, funny, warm talented guy) rowed in immediately, turned everything upside down, opened the studios again and himself and Enda got Ryan in last Friday and recorded the 2 new tracks with him. They have worked around the clock to get these tracks done, mixed and ready. I'd intended to bring Ryan over just for the shoot (hence recording the 2 new songs) but he's adamant he's ready now and I can't refuse him and we'd miss him too much not to have him with us so the songs are there now ready for rehearsalsin Dublin for the tour this weekend.
I know from the hundreds of wonderful, loving, supportive comments about Ryan this week that this news is going to be very happy news and delight a lot of our fans along with ourselves. Before everyone starts requesting Ryan in M & G's etc, I'm giving you a heads up now. I am thrilled Ryan has his life back and is well, happy and ready to throw himself full on back into his career but I'm going to mind him for a bit. Right now he is not scheduled for the M & G's and I may leave it that way, I will see as the tour goes on, but that is my instinct at the moment. He will start the tour with being in one or two of the ensemble numbers and his solo songs. I think that's enough for now. For me, it's enough that he is back in the fold and ready to go back to his music.
He hates it, and probably hates me a little right now (haven't we all been there!) but I know most of you will completely understand and agree with me that a more gentle start back is the way to go.
This is definitely the most bitter sweet blog I've made in Celtic Thunder. You'd think after 27 years in the business I'd be a bit more prosaic about it all but sometimes I can be a real sap..
Our Damian has soared to the stratosphere of his dreams and we'll have to watch him on TV each week and our Ryan is well and healthy and coming back to us. You can never say life is boring around here! And isn't that the way it should be? Life is for living, evolving, growing, embracing opportunities, being unafraid of change and just always trying to be there for each other, all the way, no matter what. Just to keep it clear for me, the cast, crew, our fans and everyone else right now (hard to keep up with it) the line up for this fall's tour is Emmet, Keith, Neil, Ryan, George and the surprise singer I'm still not telling you about - you'll have to wait for the tour... I'm still a bit emotional myself right now, going to go get some air so I'll sign off for now. Here are few of my favourite pictures with Damian. I know I have loads of "professional ones" but I'm fond of these random ones.
Damian rehearsing "Our First Christmas Together" using Jean Clancy as the "girl from the audience" in Poughkeepsie:
After our first show filmed in the Helix - they were all so young and exhilarated:
Damian's 18th Birthday Party Cake in catering on tour:
The 5 boys supposed to be posing for a professional photo:
The first Photo I was sent of Damian with his Demo at 14:
And look at him now!