Shirley Ann O'Connor has been playing the piano since the age of five, when she appeared in her first piano recital. She continued to study and perform, receiving a degree from Michigan State University in piano and public school music supervision, along with further study in musicology. She was awarded a scholarship from Delta Omicron, national music honorary, which she used to obtain her master's degree in piano performance at Central Michigan University.
O'Connor taught piano and theory at Saginaw Valley University and later at Northwestern Michigan College where she pioneered class piano for children and adults. In addition, she was music supervisor in the Elk Rapids elementary schools as well as teaching piano privately. She also served as organist in churches in Saginaw, MI, and Elk Rapids. O'Connor was a performing member of the Saginaw Tuesday Musicale and the Traverse City Music Teachers. She served as the local associations coordinator for Michigan Music Teachers Association and an adjudicator for the National Guild of Piano Teachers.
Upon moving to Tennessee, O'Connor continued teaching private students and performing at various events as well as organist and pianist at various churches. She was honored as BPW's Woman of the Year in 1996, winner of the music award at Senior Day at the Tennessee State Fair in 1995 and Ms. Senior Cumberland County in 1997. She received an award for "Most Talented" for her performance at the state pageant for Ms. Senior Tennessee.
In 2010, she gave a full piano concert celebrating 75 years since her first public performance. She was honored by certificates of appreciation from the governor of Tennessee and mayor of Clarksville, who proclaimed April 18, 2010, as Shirley O'Connor Day.
O'Connor will be exhibiting her talent in a duet with Debbie Wood, also an accomplished pianist, Friday at the Palace Theatre. The variety show begins at 6 p.m. and tickets will be available at the door.