By Linden Wilson The night before he left to study abroad in Austria, Tim O'Neill recorded 90 minutes of his mom's favorite piano music so that she could still listen to him play while he was away. During his absence, she made copies of the tape, distributing them to her hospital auxiliary friends and bridge club members. When the Notre Dame marketing major returned, he realized that his love for playing and recording music would make a great business opportunity. As The O'Neill Brothers, Tim and his brother Ryan have since sold about 10 million copies of their music, including CDs, downloads and MP3s. Their wedding songs are particularly popular, and they even wrote their own, Canon in F, as an original alternative to the traditional wedding favorite Canon in D.
"We've played at hundreds of weddings," Tim says. "We understand that some brides want a song they heard at a recent wedding, and other brides want something totally unique and different that's never been heard before." The brothers' most recent CD, To Have and To Hold, hit Target shelves a few months ago and divides the wedding day into five parts, making it easy for brides and grooms to select music. "It includes preludes, processionals, ceremony music, recessionals, and reception songs," Tim says. "It's not only beautiful music, it's actually a useful tool that brides can use. If they love any one of the songs, there's sheet music that goes along with it, so if they have a live pianist, violinist or guitar player, they can have the songs."
Tim advises engaged couples to really focus on music because it's very emotional and is also something they will remember when they go back and watch their wedding video. "Even if it's just one or two special songs, try and pick ones that you really love, not songs that other people have had or suggest," he says.
Tim recently recorded with Regis Philbin for an Irish music CD to be released this summer, and the brothers' lullaby music has been featured on the iconic TV show Sex & the City. They were also nominated for an Emmy for a PBS special they recorded with Debbie Gibson in 2006. The O'Neill Brothers, 111 W. Main St., New Prague, 888-966-3455, pianobrothers.com, myweddingmusic.com SPECIAL AISLE FILE OFFER: Get five .99¢ songs for free! Use coupon code MSP5FREE at www.myweddingmusic.com at checkout. Offer expires 12/31/12.