Student Spotlight

Filling the world with music

Kennedy Conrad’s dreams are filled with music. The Oklahoma native’s journey at Oklahoma State University started with an audition for the Michael and Anne Greenwood School of Music.

“There was just something about how the day was set up. It was run mainly by students. You get to meet with professors, but I thought it was really important that students were telling me about campus life, because they are the ones living it.”

Singing has played a major role in Conrad’s life. Since she was just 10 years old, Conrad has been involved with musical theatre. Even though OSU does not have a musical theatre degree, there are still countless opportunities for Conrad to do what she loves: perform. 

“I knew that whatever I do with my life, I wanted to perform, because I just can’t live without it,” she said. 

Conrad, a vocal performance major, is heavily involved with various music programs. She sings in the OSU Concert Chorale and is also a part of the opera program. 

“The first time I was ever in an opera was actually last year and it was super fun. I got to sing super high notes, which I love to sing. I sang a piece called ‘Ice Cream’ from the opera ‘Street Scene.’” 

Studying to be a vocalist looks a little different that many of the other degree options at OSU. Conrad still needs to take general education courses but she also takes courses in music theory and music history, where she gets exposed to the intricacies of music. During her college experience she has had the opportunity to study music from some of her favorite composers such as Schubert while gaining an appreciation for modern music. 

Along with being a full-time student and performer, Conrad is also the stage manager for the opera program

“My dream is to be on Broadway, but recently I discovered my interest in something other than performing but still being involved with shows: stage directing and stage management. After graduating, instead of getting my master’s right away, I plan to apply to theatre companies for an internship.” 

Conrad competed this fall in the Autumn Arts Gala that was hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences Student Council. There she won scholarships for the People’s Choice Award and also first place for her performance of “Der Hölle Rache.” She had just gotten back from a music competition in Texas that had left her feeling crushed, so winning the Autumn Arts Gala meant that much more. 

“When they called my name for first place, it was a dream,” she said. “Getting that I was amazed and I knew that it doesn’t really matter what certain people think because there are other people that really appreciate what I do.”  

The chance to perform in The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts might have driven Conrad to sign up for the Autumn Arts Gala, but it wasn’t the only memorable experience from that day. 

“I signed up for it because I didn’t know when I would get the chance to sing on that kind of stage ever again,” Conrad said about the state-of-the-art concert hall. 

College has been a whirlwind of performances and classes but Conrad has loved it, despite the moments of stress. 

“One of my favorite things about when I came to college was finding people who were as passionate about music as I was. Especially in a small high school, there weren’t many people who understood my love for it, and all that I was willing to do for it. Finding that group of people that just really understands and supports you makes all the difference in the world.”