The O'Briens – dad Paul

Harmony heads to Willows Beach

The O’Brien family returns to its Oak Bay roots with concert at Willows Park

The O’Brien family regularly returns to its Oak Bay roots, the family’s “first port of call” when they emigrated to Canada from England a decade ago.

“Oak Bay was our very first place to live in Canada,” said Paul O’Brien, dad in the band that features daughter Millie, 20, on lead vocals, as well as sons Cormac, 18, string bass, piano and lead vocals, and Fintan, 17, on guitar, mandolin and lead vocals.

Paul adds vocals, guitar and mandolin.

The family band performs regularly at the Oak Bay Tea Party and their four-part harmonies will make toes tap at Willow’s Beach on Wednesday.

“This project began six or seven years ago, just as a little bit of fun busking on the street,” Paul said, adding it’s something he did as a teen himself. “If you were half decent you could make some money.”

So when the boys were 10 and 11 they gave Government Street a shot just for fun.

“The kids made $80 each. It just blew their little heads off,” Paul said. “The big change came in 2012, we recorded a record. It was a live concert with the Gettin’ Higher Choir.”

With bigger gigs calling, stringent liquor laws made most of the band members’ age a consideration, instead they started playing markets: Oak Bay, Sidney, Bastion Square, Moss Street and James Bay.

“We found these are the absolute best vehicle for us to perform,” Paul said. “It’s a selection of lovely, small gigs. The only thing that’s changed is we play markets now where we can bring a PA system. We’re really a vocal harmony band.”

“Suddenly this little project became a big project,” he added.

They performed at every Island festival over the past two years and added a tour in Europe last year. Yet it remains a summer project, as the kids each pursue his or her own endeavour. Fintan, who writes the songs with Paul, just graduated from St. Michaels University School and is the only of the siblings taking music as a serious career consideration.

“They all have other ambitions in life,” Paul said. “We play and do it as a summer thing and it’s fun, and my children can see the product of working hard.”

By fall, the eldest two head back to university while Paul starts a tour of Swtizerland and Germany in October, perhaps with Fintan at his side. But on Wednesday (July 16) fans can enjoy them at Oak Bay’s Willows Beach venue staring at 6:30 p.m.

The Damian Graham Trio performs, same time, same place, on Aug. 20.


Just Posted

Project provides barrier to suicides at hospital parkade

VIHA budgets $650,000 for work at Royal Jubilee Hospital parkade

Pandora supervised consumption site has busy first month

Site whose aim is to save lives takes on a new client-driven name: The Harbour

Pedestrian struck on Quadra Street

A pedestrian was struck by a vehicle on Quadra Street at Hulford… Continue reading

Victoria’s plastic bag ban inspires local entrepreneur to give back

Karebags a local, collaborative alternative for reusable bags, donates profits to charity

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

B.C. hockey coach, nurse was killed in case of mistaken identity, police say

In Surrey, Paul Bennett’s wife makes a tearful plea for help in finding her husband’s killer

Lower Mainland blueberry farms expect solid season

Blueberry Council of B.C. says season will be better than last year

B.C. to add hundreds of taxis, delays Uber, Lyft-style service again

Ride hailing companies have to wait until fall of 2019 to apply for licences

BC Games ready to begin on Vancouver Island

More than 2,000 athletes will compete in 18 sports from Friday to Sunday

Plenty of heroes in Thai cave rescue, says B.C. diver

Erik Brown reflects on team effort that brought 12 boys and their coach to safety

Funding available to replace infected B.C. hazelnut trees

B.C. Hazelnut Growers to recieve $300,000 over three years to battle eastern filbert blight

Woman charged after eight dogs seized from hotel room

Sixteen dogs recently seized from Adams and her daughter in Quesnel

Most Read