Dream Job | Gavin Coyle
Gavin Coyle has been performing in front of audiences his entire life. Born and raised in Derry, Northern Ireland, Coyle is an award-winning singer-songwriter whose musical range encompasses everything from pop to traditional Irish songs. Now living in Aurora, this local talent lives out his dream job doing what he loves most: teaching and performing music.
What was it like growing up in Northern Ireland during the years of violence known as The Troubles?
Actually, I had a very normal childhood. My mother and father did an amazing job sheltering my sisters and me from the violence. One of my earliest memories is when I was probably two years old and was frisked at a security point in the city center. I can also say that I know what it looks like to see a bomb go off. But I was mostly oblivious to it all. I was a daydreamer.
How were your singing talents discovered?
One of the things my parents did to protect us was to send us to a Catholic grammar school in the countryside. Somewhere along the line, when I was about four-and-a-half years old, the assistant principal pegged me as a singer. The school entered us in singing competitions at Feiseanna, a large festival of the arts held during Easter. I was named All-Ireland Singing Champion when I was fourteen. By some miracle I was then chosen to perform in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Requiem around Northern Ireland and England.
How did you come to live in America?
I always loved America to be honest. My dad worked on a US Naval base in Derry. We’d celebrate the Fourth of July with American sailors and marines. The first time I traveled to America I was fourteen and was part of a peace project for kids from Northern Ireland. Later, when I was in college studying art and education, I had the chance to come back to the US as a counselor for a similar program called the Ulster Project. During that trip I met and fell in love with my host family’s daughter. When the program was over, I returned to Ireland for two more years to finish my degree, then I came back to America and married her. We now have three daughters.
How are you are living your dream job?
I am a full-time music teacher at St. Petronille in Glen Ellyn. I also perform at area bars and clubs, as well as at weddings, funerals and charity benefits. I am a really lucky person. My entire living is making music.
You’ve been featured on WGN radio, performed at Irish Fest in Milwaukee, and sung the National Anthem at Bulls, Bears and Cubs games. What would you say are your most memorable performances?
When I was a wee lad and performed in Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Requiem. It was an incredible thing for a fourteen-year-old kid to do. Also when I performed for the Cubs. I grew up loving baseball movies and I am a diehard Cubs fan. I would also have to say when I sang at the Bipartisan Congressional Prayer Service for the new Congress in Washington, DC in 2005.
In addition to your regular bar gigs and your annual Celtic Christmas concert at the McAninch Arts Center, where can people hear your music?