St. Patrick's Church, Chicago
Singer Catherine O'Connell grew up in Chicago and in love with Chicago. Her affection for performing was nurtured by her parents, James and Mary, who shared with her their passions for music and theater. Her father, a talented amateur singer, gave her this early advice: "Tell the story and sing the song with a tear in your voice. Her mother, an accomplished actress, offered this: "Enunciate or no one will understand you."
Catherine, who was the St. Patrick Day Parade Queen in 1976, later developed her distinctive style and dramatic stage presence by performing in dozens of pubs, saloons and cabarets in Chicago, New York and the Caribbean.
Leaving the club scene to raise three boys, she switched direction in her career to focus on more intimate spaces in the city and suburbs, where the emotional impact of her singing has gathered her a large and devoted following. Bill Fraher, director of music at Old St. Patrickís Church, calls her "the best communicator" he has ever worked with and one friend said "I never thought I could live through my motherís funeral and you made me sing."
The Chicago Tribune's and WGN's Rick Kogan says, "Catherine is an original, as gifted a singer and as sensitive a performer as I have ever heard and seen. She might easily have become a star in the New York scene but, God love her, she's tied to our town."
March 2002 Catherine released her CD entitled 'I Arise Today' and December 2003 released 'Songs From My Father' available at Irish shops around the city and catherineoconnell.com.
From saloons to Symphony Center, chapels to cathedrals, funeral homes to festival halls, Catherine has touched the hearts and lifted the spirits of thousands of Chicagoans. She is currently working on a Christmas CD.