about tom orf

Vocalist Tom Orf’s rich, soulful baritone and heartfelt interpretation of songs covering a full range of styles and genres have brought critical acclaim from a variety of sources worldwide.

Growing up across the street from the motherhouse of the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood in O’Fallon, Missouri, Tom developed a deep fascination for Gregorian chant. Spending countless hours listening to the angelic voices of the nuns, he learned to read the ancient four-stave liturgical notation even before learning to read modern musical notation. Starting as a soloist in the boys’ choir at Church of the Assumption, he eventually sang with the Cathedral Singers in Chicago and recorded numerous demos and CDs for World Library Publications and GIA Publications.

Graduating magna-cum-laude from Drake University with degrees in Music and French, Tom gave numerous solo song recitals sponsored by organizations such as the Chicago Architecture Foundation and the Alliance Française. A sought-after soloist in the Chicago area from 1979 thru 2007, he appeared with the Chicago Opera Theatre, Lincoln Opera, Rockefeller Chapel Choir, American Ritual Theatre Company, Bailiwick Repertory, and American Medieval Players. His many stage roles have included The Gentleman in Incorruptible and Mr. Widdoes in Blackheart, both at the Bailiwick; Charles Owsly in Peyote Roadkill for American Ritual Theatre Company at the Organic; Antichrist in Apocalypse Then: the Play of Antichrist for American Medieval Players; and operatic roles such as Giorgio Germont in La Traviata, Marcello in La Bohème, Silvio in I Pagliacci and Sharpless in Madama Butterfly

In December of 1997, Tom was a featured soloist in the gala grand opening of the Tivoli Gardens in Kurashiki Japan, a replica of the world-famous park in Copenhagen, Denmark. From 1993 to 2003, he performed and toured with Celtic trio Kiltartan Road in more than 200 performances of In the Deep Heart’s Core, a musical biography based on the works of W. B. Yeats. With Kiltartan Road, Tom also performed in numerous concerts of the group’s hit CD Joy in the Morning: A Kiltartan Road Christmas. In 2002, he was a charter member of the Evanston Escola de Samba, where he worked with Brazilian guitarist Luciano Antonio, vocalists Marcos Oliveira and Dill Costa, and others featured on his album Twilight Time.

Tom’s voice has been heard on Live from WFMT and on National Public Radio’s WBEZ in Chicago. In 2007, Tom was a featured Gregorian Chant soloist on the CD Miserere: Music of Holy Week, produced by Chicago’s St. John Cantius Church.

In 2019, Tom retired from his day job of 30 years as an information specialist for Christie’s Fine Art Auctioneers. He and his spouse Chris now live in Mexico as ex-pats, enjoying the rich culture and people of Mexico, and working daily to improve their Spanish language skills.

Hear Tom’s music here. Contact him here.