A graduate of the Patchogue-Medford Class of 1975, the late Paul O’Neill was a musician,
composer, lyricist and producer who founded one of the most popular and successful musical acts of the 21 Century, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Since its creation in 1996, the multi-instrumentalist band that fused progressive rock with classical music and over-the-top
showmanship, has sold more than 100 million concert tickets and 10 million albums, earning
over $280 million while donating over $11 million to charity.
OʻNeill grew up one of ten children in a well-known family on Rider Avenue in Patchogue. He took his first guitar lessons at the Patchogue Music Center and started a band that made its first public appearance in the South Ocean Middle School production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Not long after his graduation from Pat-Med High School, Paul was playing guitar in touring productions of Jesus Christ Superstar and Hair, and not long after that he was managing and producing albums by legendary rock bands including Aerosmith, Humble Pie, AC/DC, Joan Jett, Ted Nugent, Def Leppard, the Scorpions, and the New York Dolls. By the 1980s and ’90s, 0’Neill’s success led him into several musical collaborations that would ultimately lead him to realize the grand vision of his life: The Trans-Siberian Orchestra. “I want people to walk out of our shows speechless and still not believing what they have seen was possible,” Paul would say. And they did.
OʻNeill was every bit as generous with his fortune as he was with his musical gifts. Over the
years he made regular donations to the Pat-Med schools, and saw to it that a percentage of
every dollar raised by TSO would find its way to one charity or another. Tragically, O’Neill
passed away unexpectedly in 2017 at the age of 61.