By Andrew Ehrkamp
News Editor

Emmet Cahill grew up in the Catholic Church, learning the hymns and traditional songs that were a mainstay in his small Irish home town. Now that he’s a world famous tenor, he’s back.

“Church music was a big part of my life. It’s where I started performing, learning a lot of the hymns that are popular worldwide,” said Cahill, the principal vocalist for the international music group Celtic Thunder.

“So it’s coming full circle that I’m performing in churches.”

Cahill will perform in churches in seven cities across Canada, including St. Charles Parish in Edmonton on Oct. 5, promoting his first solo album Emmet Cahill’s Ireland, a collection of traditional Irish music.

“I’ve always wanted to do a solo album, and these are songs that will appeal to the Irish diaspora,” said Cahill who will be performing “Danny Boy”, “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” and other favourites.

They’re songs that are a departure from the more contemporary songs performed with Celtic Thunder.

“They’re appealing to a new generation of people. Songs that have been passed down through the generations from people who enjoyed them as kids are now bringing their grandkids,” Cahill said.

Over the past year, Cahill has performed as a solo act in more than 60 cities. He will make his concert debut at Carnegie Hall, New York, on March 16, 2018 with a symphony orchestra. Cahill’s solo album has reached number one on the Amazon, iTunes and Billboard Music charts.

Despite his success, Cahill said he has never lost his Catholic faith – it plays an even greater role in his life now than when he was younger.

“Faith gives me guidance. Religion has played a big part, even more so now that I’m in my late 20s,” said Cahill, 26. “As a teenager you’re too distracted. Everyone has to find their own path. People are looking for who they are. Now I’m older, I have time to think and reflect.”

Cahill grew up in Mullingar, County Westmeath, Ireland. His country has a history of sectarian strife, but he calls that “religion used within a political frame. That’s the cause of it. It’s not straightforward.”

In addition to Irish favourites, Cahill’s concerts include Broadway standards ("This is the Moment," "Music of the Night," "Bring Him Home"), nostalgic favorites ("Moon River," "Edelweiss”).

Cahill performs with local choirs, and in Edmonton it will be the St. Charles Parish choir. His favourite song? “How Great Thou Art”. “It’s a song for everyone. It encourages congregational singing, which I’m hoping is what will happen when I’m in Edmonton.”

General admission tickets are $35 and may be purchased at www.emmetcahill.com/tour-dates/ or at the door. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. at St. Charles Catholic Parish, 17511 112 St. NW in Edmonton.

Cahill will be back performing with Celtic Thunder this fall.