Thursday, December 21, 2017
By GUY D’ASTOLFO
Emmet Cahill loves to perform in soaring cathedrals, and the Celtic Thunder vocalist will do just that tonight when he returns to St. Columba’s for a solo concert.
It’s a location that makes the most sense for the 26-year-old tenor from Ireland. Many of the shows on his current tour have been in grand churches, and Cahill explained why in a phone interview Monday from Georgia.
“It’s pretty simple,” he said. “They are beautiful places to perform and the acoustics are incredible. I had spent two years playing theaters and festivals, but I always associate with a church, singing beautiful music in the setting that it was written for and is best performed in.”
Another reason Cahill gravitates toward houses of worship is because he began his singing career in the choir of his own parish church in Ireland.
It’s a setting that offers a unique way to connect with a community of people.
“When I was growing up, we always valued it when a guest singer or choir visited our church,” he said. “They are also interested in keeping alive the tradition of church music.”
Cahill now finds himself as the visitor, and he enjoys the opportunity to share his music and Irish culture with each community. At tonight’s show, he will refresh the bond he made with local fans when he played St. Columba’s late last year.
He vividly remembers that show.
“I was struck by their sense of community,” he said. “I was welcomed to the parish hall and talked to everybody, and they were so interested in where I come from and my background, and Christmas in Ireland. They were interested in what I had to say, which was a great start, and it was a pleasure to perform in their beautiful cathedral. I understand the great pride people take in their church, particularly around Christmas, because I come from a small community.”
As an extra measure of involvement, Cahill will incorporate the St. Columba choir into tonight’s concert.
“The choir will do 20 minutes, and then I will do three songs with them,” he said.
Cahill’s warm voice is a natural for traditional Irish songs, and he will include several in tonight’s Christmas concert. He will be accompanied by a pianist, with some hymns utilizing piano, organ and choir.
Tonight’s concert will mark the end of the first leg of his solo tour, and Cahill will head back to Ireland in the morning for another performance.
In the new year, Cahill will begin a new solo tour before rejoining Celtic Thunder when it takes to the road. He will also make his debut at Carnegie Hall in New York on March 16 — the night before St. Patrick’s Day.