Featured Student: Evan Kelly

Bay High senior Evan Kelly.

Not only does Bay High senior Evan Kelly know exactly what he wants to do with his life, but he is well on his way to achieving some lofty goals.

"I intend to direct choirs at the high school level and above," he said. "Ultimately, I hope to direct on a professional level."

Evan has spent this semester at Bay High teaching and conducting the school's freshman choir. He taught students one song that they performed at a regional competition and which received excellent comments from the judges. He will conduct the choir again at a spring concert. The opportunity is an independent study under the direction of Bay High vocal music instructor and choral director, Devon Gess.

Why pursue choral direction? "I love classical music," he said. "But it is really a neglected type of music in our society. If you want to sing classical, you can train as a soloist until you're about 35 years old, which is when the male voice stops maturing. You may get to sing in minor roles in opera until then, but you really must train that long to be taken seriously."

Evan said that a good voice is still a requirement of a choir director, but the position will also allow him to decide the repertoire and to work with people, which he enjoys. "It's great to be the guy in charge," he said.

Though he sings in the ranges of both baritone and bass for Bay High's A Cappella Choir and the selective Bay High Choraleers, he is technically a baritone for professional choirs. Evan sings with a number of elite choirs including the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus and its Chamber Chorus, as well as the West Shore Chorale. He also sings with the Rocky River United Methodist Chancel Choir and is a soloist on various occasions at the church.

He was recently selected to perform with the Ohio All State Choir, an experience that let him rehearse with some of the best high school voices from around the state for a performance at the Ohio Music Educators Association Conference in Columbus. "I made good friends and learned a lot from Karen Kennedy, the guest director from the University of Miami in Florida. It was a great experience."

Evan also takes voice lessons at Baldwin Wallace University from Norma Codispotti. He studies piano, as well.

He joined the Bay High orchestra in his junior year, taking up the double bass, and also performs with the chamber orchestra. Also a Bay High Thespian, Evan had the lead dramatic role in "The Crucible," performed this past fall, and he had lead roles in both musicals at Bay High his junior and senior years.

Evan is a member of Bay High's National Honor Society and the school's chess club. He likes hanging out with friends to play video games and watch movies, and enjoys walking his mom Sharon's five dogs.

He has traveled to Ireland with older brothers Ian and Sean, both Bay High graduates, and his dad, Clay. As for college, Evan plans to major in music education with a voice focus and has been accepted to two of his top choice schools: St. Olaf in Northfield, Minn., and Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J.

Karen Derby

Director of Communications for the Bay Village City School District

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Volume 6, Issue 7, Posted 9:17 AM, 04.01.2014