Plymouth (WI) Review
January 26, 2006
by Sue Mroz
Looking for a romantic way to celebrate the upcoming Valentine's Day?
Then, you may want to attend an upcoming event at The Stefanie H. Weill Center for the Performing Arts, Sheboygan - a special program, "Someone You Love," at 7:30 p.m., February 7.
The event will feature a special guest vocalist - world-famous pop singer and Broadway performer, Deborah Gibson, joining professional pianists and independent recording artists, the O'Neill Brothers - Tim and Ryan, in a concert.
The fun upbeat event is part of a nine Midwestern-city tour, which kicks off in New Prague, Minn., on Feb. 4, and concludes in Minneapolis, Minn. on Feb. 14.
The concert in Sheboygan will include among other numbers, two songs from the O'Neill Brothers and Deborah Gibson's newly-released CD, "Someone You Love."
Gibson will sing the song by that same title, accompanied by the O'Neill Brothers. She will also sing her famous number one hit from the 1990s, "Lost in Your Eyes" and some of her other popular hits.
Some Irish favorites will be featured in the program too. Tim and Ryan will play on two pianos and sing, accompanied by their group of talented musicians.
The concert program will also include fan favorites from the brothers' library of 22 CDs.
Their newly-released CD features a collection of familiar and newly-composed love songs. "Someone You Love" includes 15 romantic tunes, including two featuring vocals by Gibson. A few other songs on the CD are "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen," "Annie's Song," and Wonderful Tonight."
The CD is available at retail outlets nationwide or online at www.pianobrothers.com.
The O'Neill brothers have sold more than one million CD's on their independent "O'Neill Brothers" record label. Over the years, Tim, 33, and Ryan, 31, have written and performed music for HBO (including music for "Sex and the City"), NBC, ESPN, and PBS ("Irish Pianos with the O'Neill Brothers" and "The O'Neill Brothers: Piano for Someone You Love"). They also arranged and performed the music featured in a public service announcement for Notre Dame, starring Regis Philbin.
In February and May 2005, their three-CD set of romantic songs, "From the Heart," hit Billboard magazine's top-pop catalog album chart.
As for Gibson's credits, she made a hit on the pop-music scene at age 16 and became the youngest person ever to write, produce and perform a number-one single, "Foolish Beat."
She has sold over 16 million albums worldwide. Her career has garnered her number one billboard hits, platinum albums, ASACP Songwriter of the Year honors, sold-out performances worldwide, and rave reviews for her Broadway roles.
She grew up on Long Island, N.Y. and began performing with her sisters in community theatre at age 5. She wrote her first composition when she was just 5.
By age 8, she was performing as part of the children's chorus at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, with artists such as Placido Domingo.
By the time she was 12, she was already a professional Broadway actress, pursuing a recording career. She achieved her dream at age 16 when she was signed to Atlantic Records. Her first single, "Only in My Dreams," rose to the top of the charts around the world.
In a Jan. 20 conference call with the O'Neill Brothers, they told The Review they are excited about their upcoming tour with Gibson. Tim said he phoned her last summer.
"We were looking for someone to perform with us on the tour and were planning to produce a new CD to be released just before the concert tour," he said. "We thought she would be a good fit with our music. She was excited about our invitation and accepted."
Tim, a Minneapolis, Minn. resident, and Ryan, of Bloomington, Minn., then went to Los Angeles to meet Gibson this past October.
Things went well during their meeting, and she went to Minneapolis, Minn. in November for recording the CD, which entailed a couple days to produce.
They are now making final preparations for their upcoming tour. "We really enjoy Sheboygan," Tim said, noting that they performed at the Weill Center during the 2003 holiday season. They have also performed at the American Club in Kohler.
Natives of New Prague, Minn., they began taking formal, classical piano lessons at age 5. Each one completed eight years of lessons.
Tim credits his piano teacher, Agnes Morlock, for her inspiring instructions, while Ryan said he credits all of his piano instructors.
They have three older siblings - Dan and Thom O'Neill and Mary Amundson. They too took piano lessons.
Tim's wife Annie, a law school student, is a pianist and Ryan's wife Kathy, was a piano major.
The O'Neill brothers occasionally shared the piano bench throughout elementary, junior-high and high school and performed frequently at family gatherings. While they were students at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., they discovered the appeal of two brothers playing on two pianos.
Tim completed his bachelor of science degree in business in 1994, and Ryan, his bachelor of arts degree in German, in 1997.
Meanwhile, Tim had spent his sophomore year in Innsbruck, Austria. "Before I left for Europe, Mom said I should make a tape of her favorite songs so that our family and friends could listen to it while I was away," he said.
"The Rose" and "Edelweiss" were two songs recorded on the tape.
When he returned, he was amazed at the number of recordings his mother had distributed. So he decided to plunge full-time into the business of writing, playing, recording and selling music to a growing audience.
In 1995, Tim played a regular schedule of holiday-themed performances at Minnesota grocery and department stores and quickly found an audience of people who bought hundreds of his CDs, after hearing him play.
In 1997, he teamed up with Ryan, and the two started their own independent record label. To be in several places at once, the brothers used computer modules to convert in-store pianos into player pianos, then created high-tech audio kiosks to play entire selections from their albums.
On Aug. 13, 1998, Tim and Ryan celebrated the sale of their 100,000th CD, by taking family, friends and fans on a riverboat cruise on the St. Croix River. Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson proclaimed the date "Tim and Ryan O'Neill Day" in that state.
In March 2002, the brothers were invited to play for the Points of Light Foundation Awards Banquet in New York City. President George H. W. Bush was in the audience.
On July 25, 2004, Tim and Ryan reached the one-million mark in sales of their CDs. "We celebrated that event with a Caribbean cruise," Tim said, noting that he considers reaching that point their greatest accomplishment to date.
For Ryan, producing the new CD with Gibson and their upcoming tour with her is what he considers their greatest accomplishment thus far.
The brothers hope to produce more music with Gibson and possibly with some other celebrities in the future.
Ryan considers "Someone You Love," written by Gibson as his favorite song.
Among Tim's favorites are "Piano Man," by Billie Joel and "Carol of the Bells," by George Winston.
They describe the music on their CDs as "very easy-listening, relaxing music."
Note: To order tickets for the Feb. 7 performance at the Stefanie H. Weill Center, phone 208-3243, from noon to 4 p.m. on weekdays, or contact www.pianobrothers.com.
Click on "performances." Then click on "Sheboygan."
Concert-goers who order their tickets by Jan. 31 receive a free copy of the "Someone You Love" CD.
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