Irish Classics on the Bill for MAC Show

August 4, 2017
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Irish tenor Emmet Cahill will perform at Middletown Arts Center on Aug. 9. – Courtesy MAC

By Mary Ann Bourbeau |

MIDDLETOWN – Like so many other high school graduates, Emmet Cahill had planned on going to college. But that plan was scuttled when the popular Irish group Celtic Thunder came calling and offered him a spot in their show.

“I never really thought of music as a career,” said Cahill, even though in 2010 he was named most promising young singer at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. “Then Celtic Thunder offered me a position when I was 19. It was either that or go to college. I haven’t really looked back since.”

These days, the 26-year-old Irish tenor not only performs as a lead singer with Celtic Thunder, he is currently on a solo tour, with a stop at the Middletown Arts Center on Aug. 9. The Mullingar County native will perform songs from his debut orchestral album, “Emmet Cahill’s Ireland,” which has reached the top of the Amazon, iTunes and Billboard World Music charts. As expected, the show will include traditional Irish repertoire such as “Danny Boy,” “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” and “I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen.”

“There will be a lot of songs that are very recognizable to an American audience, songs that have been passed on through generations of families,” he said. “These songs really resonate with people. They love to hear them again and again.”

But this isn’t a strictly Irish show. Cahill will also include some Broadway favorites, including “Some Enchanted Evening” from South Pacific, “Bring Him Home” from “Les Miserables” and a medley from “Oklahoma.”

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“I’ll even throw in some church music with ‘How Great Thou Art,’ ” he said. “I grew up singing in church. My father was the music director and taught me piano. My mom was a church singer. Me and my siblings sang in church every Sunday. It was a nice way to start my performing career.”

Cahill will also perform an operatic aria or two that will showcase his classical vocal training. He was named Most Promising Young Tenor by the John McCormack Society in 2010 and Tenor of the Year in 2013 by the Irish Music Association.

“I absolutely love doing a solo show,” he said. “You can bring your personality into it. I chat about life on tour and in Ireland. It’s a more intimate show and people feel like they know me. It’s great fun.”

Next month, Cahill will be back touring with Celtic Thunder, with whom he has performed in more than 500 shows across North America and Australia. He will take his solo tour to Canada in October, and is very excited to be making his Carnegie Hall debut in 2018.

“My parents are definitely coming to Carnegie Hall,” he said. “I’m hoping my brother and sister come across. They’ve never seen me sing in America before.”

Cahill will perform at the Middletown Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 9. General admission tickets are $30 and can be purchased at For more information, visit

Arts and entertainment reporter Mary Ann Bourbeau can be reached at

Jaclyn Shugard and John Megariotis

This article was first published in the August 3 – 10, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.

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