Charles Cooney spent his youth waywardly, singing everything from Byrd to Crumb. At the age of 8 he joined the Choir of Men and Boys at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Akron, Ohio. As a boy soprano soloist he performed with groups such as Kent State University's New Music Ensemble and did recording for National Public Radio.

While a non-music major at Oberlin College he studied voice with Gerald Crawford and harmonized with the barbershop quartet, Half Step Flat. Since coming to Chicago to pursue graduate studies in comparative literature at the University of Chicago, he has done extensive freelance liturgical and concert singing. He was a staff singer at St. James Episcopal Cathedral and currently sings at churches such as St. Chrysostom’s and Church of the Atonement. In recent years he has performed regularly with the William Ferris Chorale. When not singing, he generally prefers to hang out with his pitbull, Bella Louise Lixalot.