Irish tenor to perform at St. Timothy Catholic Church

Emmet Cahill, an internationally known singer, will be performing a holiday concert at St. Timothy Catholic Church on Dec. 10.

It will be the second time in two years that Cahill, a principal performer with the Irish music show Celtic Thunder, will be making a solo appearance at the Lutz church.

As a principal vocalist with Celtic Thunder since 2011, Cahill has performed in more than 350 shows across North America and Australia, including numerous appearances on PBS, The Today Show, Fox and Friends, Home & Family, and QVC, according to Cahill’s website.

Emmet Cahill, principal singer of Celtic Thunder, will perform in a solo concert at St. Timothy Catholic Church on Dec. 10. (Courtesy of Emmet Cahill)

Some of the famous venues where he has sung include St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City and Carnegie Hall. He also opened the beginning of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York, with a performance of “Danny Boy.”

Celtic Thunder is on a break this year, he said.

“Last year we did our 10th anniversary tour. We did 75 cities and the states of Canada,” the tenor said.

In addition to Celtic Thunder, Cahill also has been a solo artist since 2015, performing in more than 60 cities across North America.

His concert at St. Timothy in 2017 occurred after Chase White, the church’s music director, was contacted by Jeanne Hatter, who helps Cahill line up his appearances.

“At first, I thought it was a scam, but then I learned that he had done a concert earlier in the year at St. Catherine of Sienna Catholic Church in Clearwater,” White said. “Their music director is a good friend, and she is the person who referred us to Emmet and Jeanne as a possible performance venue.

“Emmet is a practicing Catholic, and he prefers churches to other concert venues,” White said.

“We typically do not allow tickets to be sold for concerts at our church, but we made an exception for this. Emmet is a young artist, and he needs money to continue his work. We were surprised when he donated a large percentage of all proceeds back to our music ministry,” White said.

White was delighted when Cahill sang at the church two years ago and is pleased the accomplished singer is making a repeat visit.

“I have been a fan of Emmet’s for several years and have followed his career with Celtic Thunder,” White said. “I am a trained singer and have enjoyed much local success; I would have a difficult time naming a singer, professional or otherwise, who is more skilled than Emmet. “Many compare him stylistically to Josh Groban, but I would much prefer to hear Emmet sing any day of the week. His voice is simply unparalleled to my ear,” White said.

Despite being highly skilled, White added, “he is remarkably humble and thoughtful.”

Cahill said he began singing hymns and Irish songs, at an early age.

“My mom was a church singer. My dad was a church organist. Every Sunday we would sing in choir.”

Growing up in a musical family, he said, influenced the course of his life.

He received a five-year “Schola Cantorum” music scholarship at his high school, St. Finian’s College, in Mullingar. At 18, he began professional training at the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

His music has taken him far and wide, giving him a chance to travel to nearly every state in the United States four times. “Alaska and Hawaii are the only two I haven’t sung in yet, so we’ll have to get them at some point,” he said.

He enjoys touring, and especially enjoys sharing his music in churches.

At churches, he said, “you hear about the community. You hear about all of the projects they’re doing.

“Churches are the focal point of so many communities, and you wouldn’t really get, I suppose, to get that insight into a community if you were just going to a regular theater, performing a show,” Cahill said.

He also considers music to be the universal language — serving as a conduit for him to get to know people from all around the country.

“I love meeting new people every day and working with new people every day, and that’s the nature of what touring is,” he said.

He acknowledges it was a little odd at first, to be recognized by strangers in public, for his singing.

“I didn’t get into music to become famous.

“Nowadays, some people pursue the fame more than the music. They go on these reality shows and stuff like that,” he said.

While he didn’t avoid public attention, but didn’t invite it, either, he said.

“Celtic Thunder was obviously a vehicle that brought my name into millions of homes in America, and so out of that, people would know me in that context, through PBS and through the show.

“Certainly, the first year or so, it was a little bit strange, you’d be walking down the street and people stop you. Or, they’d figure out that I like coffee and they’re waiting at the Starbucks — something like that,” Cahill said.

But, he added, in his experience “people are generally nice and the reason they pursue you, or come after you, is because they love what you do.

“I’m never going to complain about someone coming up and saying how much the music means to them.”

Plus, he said, “I think if you’re relaxed with people when they approach you, they’ll reciprocate the same thing. People reflect the energy you give them.”

Those choosing to attend Cahill’s concert have the option to attend a pre-show, for an additional charge.

The pre-show is a meet-and-greet, where Cahill does a Q&A, poses for photos and signs tickets or CDs.

“It’s kind of a getting-to-know-you session,” the vocalist said.

But, he added, those attending the concert also get a chance to learn quite a bit about him.

“I talk about my life in Ireland, and my life on tour, the things I’ve experienced,” he said.

He’s not just a performer on a stage — he reaches out to the audience.

“I break down those barriers. I like to see people going away, feeling like they really know me,” Cahill said.

“The guy you meet at the concert is the guy you drink a beer with,” he said.

“Christmas in Ireland” concert
Irish tenor Emmet Cahill, Sony recording artist and principal singer with Celtic Thunder will perform in concert.
When: Dec. 10, 7 p.m.
Where: St. Timothy Catholic Church, 17512 Lakeshore Road in Lutz
Cost: Tickets are $35 concert; $50 (concert and pre-show). Tickets can be purchased online, at and at St. Timothy Catholic Church parish office. This is a benefit concert. Proceeds help families in need.
Info: Call St. Timothy Catholic Church at (813) 968-1077, or visit

Published November 20, 2019

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