Art All Night Appearance Cancelled

Andrew and I were slated to be the last act on the indoor stage for Art All Night 2018. Sadly, a shooting incident cut short the festival, and the door to the stage area was marked off as a crime scene. This would have been our third annual appearance at the event, a community festival badly needed in an often troubled, fiscally depressed city. How troubled? Six of my former students (Benjamin Davilla, Sheree Davis, Jeri Lynn Dodson, Jermaine Johnson, Shamere Melvin, and Shakir Williams ) have been shot dead in the past few years. I would mention, as a Trenton-area native, that Trenton is no longer the city it was when I was a child. The decline began in earnest when James Earl Ray’s actions incited a riot in our city. Trenton has long been in need of federal intervention and has suffered from many years of poor leadership, underfunding, poor tax base, and suburban flight.

A former student from and (very) short-time fellow teacher at the high school in Trenton where I taught for many years, Jerrell Blakely, who was quite recently elected councilman-at-large, stated in this morning’s Trenton Times:

“There is a tendency when a tragic event occurs to pull back and retreat, but I think Trenton has to show the world that we won’t be frightened,” he said. “We can’t allow folks that mean us harm to change such a beautiful event.”

I disagree with Blakely’s naive remarks. The perpetrators are gangbanging criminals, not terrorists. In my opinion, this tragedy WILL have a frightening effect on would-be festival attendees. Art All Night’s reputation as a family-centered affair has been seriously and possibly irrevocably tarnished. The people of Trenton have a serious crime element embedded in their midst; this city of primarily respectable citizens needs to remove this surly element from their midst.

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I am so very pleased with my oldest son, John O’Neal, who plays music in his adopted home of Monteverde, Costa Rica. Like his younger sister, he has a unique and beautiful voice which comes straight from his soul. By all indications my granddaughter, Elisabeth, will follow in his footsteps. God bless them.

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It’s Over…

March madness ended last night. The Tir na nOg birthday celebration for Trenton mayoral candidate Reed Gusciora, the last of numerous March gigs, is now behind us. My sound equipment has returned to its garret home until May or June. It is my desire to spend Mid-March of 2019  in the north of Ireland, playing music with James McCarthy.

Happy March

Hi All. It’s been a busy one so far, even with all of the bad weather we’ve been seeing. The photo below is from this past Saturday at Bill’s Olde Tavern in Hamilton. Three awesome operatic singers out for a bit o’ fun! We’ll be back there on St. Patrick’s Day from Noon until 2pm so please stop in.


Make Room for Poetry


Our teacher group from the spring 2009 poetry sessions I offered at Rider University for the National Writing Project.

My friend and colleague, Dodge poet Doughtry Long, is seated to the far left.

Recording Session

Last Saturday night Kaitlin, Chris, Andrew, and I  spent a few hours in the recording studio laying down audio tracks for the Comma Music, a Chicago-based music library company. It was fun. We recorded instrumental tunes—jigs, reels, & hornpipes. To learn more about Comma Music, visit their website.

Update March 2: The tunes we recorded for Comma Music Library are now loaded to their site. Go here and filter for Public Domain. We’re the selections directly above Mozart. If you click the top one, the rest will auto feed.


Belmar Public Library

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The guitar on the lawn at the Belmar Library is a tribute to the E-Street Band, which in its early years used to practice down the street at David  Sancious’ mother’s house at 1107 E Street

July Update


I retired from teaching at the start of this month. I will miss many things. I will miss guitar club. I will miss teaching Greek mythology, especially Homer. But teaching is not what I will most miss about teaching. I will most miss no longer being there to greet and speak to former students. That has always been my greatest joy.

By no means have I retired from writing and performing music. We’ve booked five or so gigs for both July and August at various venues. I will also continue on as a member of the leadership team of The National Writing Project at Rider University, and as recording secretary to the historic preservation advisory committee to the Lawrence Township planning board.

Mamma Rosa’s with Joe Kramer

mamma rosa 2017 July_edited

Joe and I got back together for three sets of acoustic rock music on the patio at Momma Rosa’s in Hamilton, NJ. We had a great time. Here’s what one of the attendees had to say about the night:

“Bill O’Neal is famous for his Irish music but he is also great with contemporary music. What a phenomenal voice! He and Joe Kramer serenaded Bill and I tonight. Great time!” -Terri Purcell


Greetings. This winter was a busy one for my music. In addition to the usual gigs, we played quite a few fundraisers, concerts, and parties. Photos from some of the events are seen in prior postings. I have migrated them to this, my new WordPress-based music site. Soon I will retire my former websire entirely. At the moment there is a lull in my performance schedule while I ready for retirement from my teaching career. It is my hope to use my free time to finish my current novel project over the summer and send it off to publishing, and to then visit friends in the Belfast area in the early fall.

PicklePalooza 2015


Andrew & Chris relax before our performance at Island Beach State Park


Apparently I was in time out for the show. BTW this gig was a bigger disappointment for us than was “Araby” for Joyce. Total flop!