Community rallies in support of longtime vocal teacher Maria Williams Kennedy

Kennedy has ready college students to carry out properly in class choirs and musical theater productions, to not point out molding their expertise for vocal efficiency in school.

However, in recent times, a debilitating illness has made educating harder and performing virtually unattainable.

“Maria has had an unimaginable influence” on this space, stated Brad Sherwood, Pink River Excessive Faculty music instructor.

“Anytime we have achieved an oratorio of any sort, anytime we do a musical, she’s volunteered to work with the soloists,” he stated. “She has made my job—and my life as a music instructor at Pink River and dealing within the SPA (Summer time Performing Arts) program—very very straightforward.”

A profit was held in June to acknowledge the award-profitable opera singer’s contributions to the group and lift funds to offset medical bills. Sherwood deliberate a night of performances by former college students on the Empire Arts Middle.

“The onerous half was preserving it in order that it wasn’t six hours lengthy. As a result of she’s touched so many college students with music we might have carried out for hours and hours and hours,” he stated.

Donations for Kennedy are nonetheless being accepted by the North Dakota Affiliation for the Disabled. Info is obtainable at

Illness curtails educating

Kennedy has taught “in all probability hundreds” of youngsters since opening Bel Canto Studio of Voice in 1999, she stated. “Bel canto” is Italian for “lovely singing.”

However her battle with a posh debilitating illness—brought on by an irregular protein within the blood that assaults nerve-endings—has pressured her to lower the variety of college students she teaches and restricted her capacity to hold out easy duties she used to take without any consideration.

The uncommon, progressive illness ultimately will result in leukemia, docs have advised her.

She copes with restricted mobility and durations of fatigue, she stated. “I can not stroll lengthy distances anymore” or stand for lengthy durations of time.

The “devastating ache” in her palms, elbows and decrease legs is tough to explain, however she likens it to “a sense of frostbite or like somebody is stabbing you.”

Her religion has been a supply of power, she stated. “I do not understand how somebody would undergo this who does not have religion. You must come to phrases with the ‘why’ of it.”

She believes that reply shall be revealed to her, and that “God has one thing good for me.”

Colin Kennedy, whom she married in 2002, has offered “superb help,” and constructive notes from college students are encouraging.

Her grandchildren “are a substantial amount of consolation to her,” Colin Kennedy stated.


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