William O’Neill

Williambill O’Neill

William O’Neill is a Bay Area Performer, choral conductor and theater director. Originally from Rhode Island, William is the son of a church music director. He grew up singing in his dad’s church choir, and singing grew to be his favorite activity. After graduating high school, William attended Rhode Island College for two years until his dad passed away. He dropped out of college, but decided to continue directing church music in has father’s footsteps. While at a church music conference in Washington DC, he met his wife Maureen and decided it was time for a change of pace. At the age of 22 he left RI and took a bus to California with just two suitcases and a couple of hundred dollars in his pocket. It was very difficult at first, and slept on his brother-in-law’s couch for the first three months. He first lived in Orange County, where he directed church music and worked at any other jobs he could get. He also started a youth theater program in San Clemente, which has continued for 15 years. He married Maureen and he returned to school in 2005 to attend the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Singing opera became his main focus. He started singing with prestigious opera companies from Opera Colorado to Boston Lyric Opera, and sang as a soloist for many Bay Area concerts. Church music and directing youth theater was still a major part of his life, and how he earned a living while in school. After graduating, William took on a position as a full-time church music director on the peninsula as well as starting a youth theater program in Redwood City. William continued to pursue opera as a side job, until, in 2014, he got the full-time chorus position at the San Francisco Opera. He is now in his fourth season, and is a tenured member of the company. After he and Maureen and their daughter, Charlotte, moved to Sebastopol in 2016, he became the Director of Music for the First Congregational Church of Santa Rosa. William is now in his second year, and hopes to be at this church for many years to come!