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MP3 Bill Monaghan - Some Assembly Required

An assemblage of rock and folk based in piano, guitar, and rich with vocal harmonies, Bill Monaghan’s debut album journeys from “Floatin’” on the Delaware River to the “Alamo” and “Donegal” through “All the Years Gone By” as he serenades of love, travelin

12 MP3 Songs
EASY LISTENING: Soft Rock, ROCK: Folk Rock

William (Bill) Monaghan was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1970, the first of 4 boys and a girl born to William and Kathleen. At the age of 7, the family moved to Oklahoma, where Billy began to show an interest in the piano and at singing loudly (hoping to win some prize) in his pew at St. Ann’s Catholic Church. His days were filled with soccer, baseball, and pretending to be on NFL Sunday out in the fields of Broken Arrow. It was also in Oklahoma that he first heard of Star Wars, a movie and a soundtrack that would change his life. The records of Clancy Brothers music that his father played, as well as Jim Croce, Beatles, and Sha-na-na, would develop roots in young William in appreciation of American and Irish music. The family did not own a piano, so music lessons were once a week on a piano at his teacher’s house, where Billy would play from memory and learn a little, return home, and wait until the next week.

Back to Philly. In 1981, the Monaghans moved back to Philadelphia, and ultimately to Bucks County. It was at this time, at the age of 11, that his grandparents gave him the old piano that was in their basement, and on this piano, he would learn Billy Joel songs by ear. Eventually, Bill joined the church and high school music ministry, where he first learned the magical note arrangement called a “chord.” During the high school years began the band Some Assembly Required, and many dreams of rock and roll stardom. He began guitaring upon hearing “Yesterday” by the Beatles, and soon wore out the old 8-track Beatles tapes that were in the house. Bill’s love for harmony also began at this time, as he analyzed and was completely mesmerized by Beatle harmonies and others. All throughout high school, under the influence of the music of the 80s, Bill’s writing career developed. At first, the poems were the sappy, philosophical, emotional kind that high school mentalities inevitably create, but among them were some creative pieces, including “Don’t Eat the Jello” and “At the Autopsy.” Some of the more serious songs that came out of this period were “For All You Are is Life,” for friend Mike Woll who died late senior year, and “All the Years Gone By.”

The College Years. Bill frequently collaborated with long time friend Tom Feledick, which ultimately produced a full length musical play entitled Brunswick 2057, featuring “Things I’ve Never Seen.” This musical debuted at the University of Scranton in 1992 followed by two more performances in the Philadelphia area shortly after. Bill was also active in rock cover bands and as music director for several musicals during his college years, including Godspell and The Wall, and he wrote music for the play "And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little". Bill graduated Scranton cum laude with a B.A. in English, and minors in Math and Music.

Life After. The post college years led to the development of Melodies and Memories, a program of 20th century music that Bill performs at nursing homes and retirement communities, as well as Bill’s continued role as music director and director for many musicals and plays. Bill began work as a youth music minister at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Southampton, which paved the way to positions at St. Andrew’s in Newtown, St. Albert’s in Huntingdon Valley, and St. Vincent’s in Richboro. It was through youth music ministry and his experiences with Theater and Kids (Lansdale) that The Word, A Gospel Opera came to life in 1995. Originally, the The Word was Bill’s answer to Godspell and Jesus Christ, Superstar!, and has since grown into its own. The new CD version of the soundtrack (2004) has replaced the original cassette version from 1995, and The Word is currently in film production (Summer 2005). Other works written through the 1990s to the present include two ballets (The Boy Who Cried Wolf, The Wizard of Oz), a film score (Lusting for Dust Words), musical score for several children’s plays (Flying Horses, Christmas Nutcracker, Schumaker and the Elves), percussion score for Antigone (set in Africa), Psalm settings and Mass parts, two teen mission theme songs (“I Am Loving You For Life,” “You Are What You Eat”), and singles including “Ave Maria,” “An Irish Blessing,” “Donegal,” and “Alamo Pop Song.”

The Bands. Bill has been performing as a soloist and in bands since high school. His influences range from John Williams (Star Wars) and Billy Joel to Beethoven and Beatles, with a smattering of American musical theater and traditional Irish. He currently performs with Some Assembly Required and Celtic Pride, both of which perform a wide variety of music, including rock and roll, standards, Irish, and the original works that Bill can “force” the bands to perform. His brother Jim still performs with both bands, and has been known to make an appearance as Elvis to rival Bill’s Beatlemaniacal presentations. Both bands are known for their high energy performances and their wide variety, and equally for their improvisational theme songs that develop between songs (…gotta move—the blue pickup truck…).

The Albums. Bill has dreamed since sophomore year of high school of being a writer of song, lyric, and story. “People are going to write songs, shows, stories,” he says, “and I want to be one of those people.” To date, he has completed several albums, including The Word, A Gospel Opera (CD); Celtic Pride (CD); All That Your Heart May Desire (CD single); The Word DVD special presentation; Monaghan Concert 2004 (DVD; Lusting for Dust Words (Film Score on CD). Pending release is Some Assembly Required, which will be release finally in 2005 after 8 years of recording, editing, and design (whew!). Currently in production are several works, including: The Psalms, 9/11/In Memoriam; The Word (full length feature film of the musical); Celtic Pride Christmas Album; The Ridiculous Songs: No Picks, No Sticks, No Service; Modern Rock Mass; and Brunswick 2057 (cast recording). Bill still works on his Patriot’s Symphony for Philadelphia, and dreams of one day performing it on the steps of the Art Museum as a gift to Philadelphia.

The Michael S. Monaghan Scholarship. In memory of Michael, Bill’s brother and roommate growing up, the Monaghan family annually presents three scholarships to students at Archbishop Wood High School. Bill and Jim, with many friends, perform in the Michael S. Monaghan Memorial Concert every year to raise funds for these scholarships. Bill feels privileged and honored to be able to carry Michael’s name and remember him to the world through great music and great love.

Life Vision. Bill has been influenced by family, Jesus, friends, and community in so many ways. He looks constantly to the good that can be done, and strives to achieve that greatness with those around him. Michael has inspired him to chase down the musical dreams that call to be realized. Bill endeavors each day to make a difference through the music, and hopefully love becomes the message people receive from it all.

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