Chris Kenney ’14, Hawley, Minn., won a prestigious scholarship to study opera. He also dreams of flying.
Kenney possesses a singularly expressive baritone voice of exceptional range.
The Concordia music major recently won first place in the Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition in Lexington, Ky. The scholarship comes with a tuition waiver for graduate study at the University of Kentucky School of Music plus a cash stipend. He plans to study opera at the school.
Yet his eyes are always looking skyward as he pursues his dream of flying. He’s nearly ready to take his first solo flight and earn his private pilot’s license.
“I’ve been singing forever,” he says. “As early as 5 years old I was singing in church. But aviation is my real passion. Flying is so fulfilling to me. It’s all about delicacy and paying attention to detail, much like music.”
Kenney pursued admission to the Air Force Academy, but an allergy that has now cleared up kept him from pilot certification, so he turned his attention back to music.
“I wanted a close relationship with a teacher, and at Concordia I’m working with the best in Peter Halverson, who has sung with leading opera companies,” he says.
Kenney has the rare distinction of soloing each of his three years in The Concordia Choir, often singing gospel.
“I’m privileged to be a soloist,” he says. “I realize it’s an awesome opportunity not afforded to many. I’m honored that Dr. Clausen wants to feature my voice.”
Kenney stokes his aviation dreams by working at the Fargo Air Museum, where he constantly seeks out military veterans to hear their stories. He eventually plans to blend a professional singing career with flying, using his own airplane to fly to gigs at festivals and concert halls.
“I think I can use aviation as a tool to increase my productivity as a singer," he says. “I can increase the range I can travel while cutting down on time. I think I can blend my two epic passions of flying and singing.”