Clayton State University’s former “Designated Singer,” Stockbridge native Kelly Jarrard, has recently premiered her original song, titled “Soul Easy,” on Florida’s radio waves. Her first album will be recorded in October of this year.
While Clayton State is full of talents, not all talents have the same drive as Jarrard. During her years at the University, she would sing at a myriad of events, including Christmas parties, staff gatherings, and commencements. She was also the leader in the Clayton State Chorale for four years, a frequent vocal soloist and guitarist with the Clayton State Jazz Combo and Big Band, and participated in roles with the Music Drama Workshop.
“Some days I would sing at an event in the morning, be in class all day, find time to practice, then in the evening have to perform in a concert that same day,” Jarrard, currently a resident of Umatilla, Fla., says. “Every event that I sang at gave me an opportunity to sing at another event.”
Pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance was both a humbling and confidence building experience for Jarrard. She walked in knowing more musically than her average peers, but still had so much to learn.
Education at Clayton State University allowed Jarrard to discover new talents, like dancing and acting, and sharpen the ones she had already found. She uses the techniques for warming up and singing that she had learned for every performance, and the lesson to keep on following her dreams in every part of her life.
Clayton State staff members like Dr. Kurt-Alexander Zeller, coordinator of the Division of Music and director of Opera and Vocal Studies, encouraged Jarrard to, “make her dreams a bit bigger — and then make those bigger dreams real.”
Jarrard’s first radio show was on Aug. 21, 2014, “FOCUS Live!” on 790 AM broadcasting out of Leesburg, Fla.
Jarrard is a 2013 grad from Zeller’s studio. He notes that Clayton State audiences will indeed remember her from many performances, including Music Drama Workshop productions as Mad Margaret in Ruddigore and the Bad Angel in Eve’s Odds, as well as her frequent performances with the Jazz Combo and Community Big Band and her many solo performances at university ceremonies.