Charleville singer Kevin Owens’ long and distinguished career has been honoured with a Cork Person of the Month award.
Aged 88, Kevin Owens was also recently awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Artane Boys Band at a function in Dublin.
Kevin toured America as featured singer with the band and was also the first singer to sing at Croke Park during All-Ireland Finals. He released a number of albums with the band, including a recording of his local anthem, ‘Dear Old Charleville’. For many years, Kevin was the top-of-the-bill act in concert halls across Ireland, and in Munster especially.
As a popular entertainer he was much in demand for fundraising concerts for many charitable organisations, voluntary groups and the church.
Liscarroll poet, Philip Egan, one of those who nominated Kevin for the award, described the singer as ‘one of the true legends of Charleville and North Cork’.
“His singing voice has endured over many many decades and I was honoured to write a tribute poem about him a few years ago.”
Kevin began his singing career at a young age in school plays with the C.B.S. and the local St.Colman’s Players Dramatic Society. His talent as a singer was immediately recognised, and he won many awards at annual Feis Ceoil competitions, including the most prestigious trophy; the John McCormack Cup.
In the mid-1970’s, he collaborated with famed musician and composer Bernard Geary on records which included the songs ‘Dear Old Charleville’, ‘The Meeting Of The Waters’, and ‘Over Here’.vKevin built a following as a soloist in Holy Cross Church starting back in 1952, and continues to be involved in choral and church choirs today.
He was presented with the Benemerenti medal and scroll, a prestigious papal award, for his services to church choirs and song in 1994 by the then Bishop of Cloyne, Dr John Magee.Notable career highlights for Kevin are his 6 half-time performances at various All-Ireland Finals in Croke Park, including the famous 1982 football final when Offaly ended Kerry’s bid to win their fifth title in a row.
Kevin is a keen sportsman himself too, having played hurling with Rathluirc GAA, and having won the Captain’s Prize at Charleville Golf Club in 1970, 1990 and in 2000.
He was a member of the famous Charleville hurling team, that contested the Cork County Intermediate Final in 1958
He was also a member of the Charleville “over 60’s” golfing team which won three consecutive Munster and All-Ireland J.B.Carr titles in 2000/3/4.
At the awards presentation Kevin said he was thankful for his career. “It was a marvellous career and top of my list up to now was singing in Croke Park before 70,000 people and the TV audience.
“But now this award has taken over as my number one achievement, especially in my twilight years, and I really treasure it.”
Kevin’s name now goes forward for possible selection as Cork Person of the Year at a Gala Awards Lunch in January.