Renowned Irish tenor to perform at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

Emmet Cahill

By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Associate Editor

KANSAS CITY — The gold-domed Cathedral is a downtown icon, sitting near 11th and Broadway. While the earliest church, a log cabin church, was built by a French Jesuit missionary for the French settlers in the area, the Cathedral was built in 1883 under the direction of Bishop John J. Hogan. It replaced an earlier church built in the 1850s by Father Bernard Donnelly. Both Bishop Hogan and Fr. Donnelly were proud Irishmen. Another Irishman, Bishop Raymond J. Boland, directed the renovation of the Cathedral in 2003. You might say the Cathedral’s roots, to some extent, go back to Ireland.

On May 3, the Cathedral will welcome 28 -year-old Emmet Cahill, the world-renowned Irish tenor, who will perform in concert that evening to raise funds for the Cathedral and its various ministries. Tickets are $30 for general admission and $45 for a “meet and greet” with Emmet, beginning at 5:45 p.m., followed by the concert at 7 p.m. The tenor will sing from the sanctuary. He will also attend the annual Cathedral Festival and Auction, which takes place 6 – 9 p.m., May 2, at the Catholic Center, 9th and Baltimore, in Kansas City. Festival tickets are $50. There will be food, drinks, auction, celebrities including emcee Nate Bukaty, the “voice” of Sporting KC, raffles, games, a special appearance by Bishop James V. Johnston, Jr., piano performances by Dr. Mario Pearson and Father Paul Turner and a vocal performance by Emmet.

The events will benefit the many parish liturgical ministries as well as outreach ministries that help the poor and the needy. The Cathedral as the mother church of the diocese welcomes guests and visitors from all over the United States and abroad.

Emmet Cahill, son of Martin and Carmel Cahill, grew up in Mullingar, a small town in the midlands in County Westmeath. He began piano lessons when he was five and vocal training at age 7. In high school he received a 5-year Schola Cantorum music scholarship. At the age of 18, he began formal training at the Royal Irish Academy of Music and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance.

In 2010, Emmet was awarded the “John McCormack Bursary” for most promising young tenor and named most promising young singer at the Royal Irish Academy of Music.  Emmet Cahill has been called “the heir apparent to John McCormack,” the legendary 20th century Irish tenor largely credited for bringing songs including, “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling,” “Macushla,” (which has come to mean darling or sweetheart) and “I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen” to American audiences.

Emmet also won multiple prizes at the National Feis Ceoil singing competition that same year in Ireland and was approached by PBS’ Celtic Thunder producer Sharon Browne and invited to join the show. He recorded and toured with Celtic Thunder from 2011 to 2014. He came to the attention of North American and Australian audiences in 2011 as the band’s lead singer. He recalled turning 21 while in Kansas City in 2012, and what a great birthday he celebrated here.

In 2017 he signed a major recording deal with Sony Music and his debut Irish Album ‘Emmet Cahill’s Ireland’ went straight to #1 on the World Music Billboard charts. He was chosen to open the 2018 New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade and was named ‘Irish tenor of the Year‘ by the Irish American Music Association. Regarded as Ireland’s most exciting young tenor, Emmet has performed in more than 80 cities across the U.S. and Canada, and his sold-out solo concert debut at New York’s Carnegie Hall in March 2018 received rave reviews. He has performed in churches and theatres throughout the U.S., as well as symphony halls with orchestras in Florida, Tennessee and New York. Recently, he returned to opera studies and currently studies with a voice teacher in New York. He has performed as a guest artist in various recitals throughout the city, including the ‘Opera Under the Arch’ in Washington Square Park, near Greenwich Village.

Emmet’s concerts comprise a varied program of Irish classics from his albums, including “Oh Danny Boy,” and “Irish eyes are smiling,” as well as liturgical favorites such as “How Great Thou Art” and “Amazing Grace,” arias and Broadway hits such as “Bring Him Home” and “Music of the Night.” A segment of his concerts are “by request,” and he enjoys singing songs members of the audience especially want to hear.

Tickets to the May 2 Cathedral Festival and Auction are available online at Tickets to the May 3 Emmet Cahill concert are available at


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November 25, 2020
The Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph