Two plus Two

By Maraya Steadman | Spring 2012

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Tim (MARK ’94) and Ryan (BA ’97) O’Neill’s musical careers progressed from family gatherings—all five of the O’Neill siblings played—to the occasional gig at Schumacher’s Hotel in their hometown of New Prague, Minn., to where they are today:

The “two brothers, two pianos” act has recorded for major  television networks, been nominated for an Emmy, met superstars, hit the Billboard charts and performed for U.S. presidents and governors. Their album, “A Day to Remember,” is the No. 1 wedding CD on Amazon. They’ve sold more than 10 million copies of their music, which ranges from inspirational, to Broadway classics, to patriotic. And of course, Irish music, as in Notre Dame Irish.

And while their music careers would seem to have little to do with their studies at Notre Dame, Tim credits marketing savvy and innovative thinking for the success of their record label, Shamrock-N-Roll. They began partnering with a wide range of companies—Mexican Hot Sauce, Famous Dave’s BBQ—to supply just the right music for marketing campaigns to motivate the targeted consumer demographic. They’ve sold CDs on QVC and maintain an extensive Internet site ( And then there are all of those wedding sites that tout the O’Neills’ album as “the perfect music for the big day!”

Tim and Ryan both still perform as The O’Neill Brothers, but Ryan now devotes most of his time to managing his real estate business. Tim never made an alternative career plan. “If you don’t worry, and you use your talents, follow your passion and have faith,” says Tim, “everything will work out.”