Alumni Relations had the opportunity to ask alumna Amanda Kind (BA ’06, Music) about her role as Artistic Director for KW Glee. The youth pop choir of 112 combined local teenagers who just won the title of Show Choir Canada and performed three sold-out shows this June.
In your role as Artistic Director for KW Glee, what are some of your main responsibilities?
I manage the artistic development of the show, which includes casting, choosing songs, soloists, and coming up with artistic concepts for each number. Everything I do is in consult with the Producer & Music Director, and our choreographers to ensure we can actually accomplish the vision. It’s a team effort and we work together to balance all elements of the show. We are constantly trying to do more interesting work, think outside the box and challenge our performers – it’s exhausting, but so creatively fulfilling.
KW Glee now has the title of “Best Show Choir” in Canada, what does that mean to the organization and all involved?
What an incredibly surprising and important milestone for us. We are very different from traditional show choirs – we don’t do musical theatre, or have matching costumes and we don’t often sing in unison – we are more like a pop rock choir. It was scary for us to compete against other groups in the competition because they are all so talented. We do feel unique in the mix though, and I think that uniqueness is what made us stand out.
Can you tell us about how you and your team got together to build KW-Glee?
During the TV show’s first season, my co-worker and I thought “Wouldn’t it be great if there was something like this in the community?” We built that idea and auditioned our first group in 2010. KW Glee allows kids to sing in a non-classical choral fashion. There are lots of opportunities to sing Bach or Mozart, but not as many to sing music on the radio. From one show every six months in a church, to performing a feature concert with the KW Symphony at Centre in the Square, our growth has been unbelievable. Our June concerts were sold out, and over 3000 people attended – that’s just incredible. We pride ourselves in taking the top talent, combining it to one group, and teaching them to work together to build their skills. It’s very much like a sports team – except for the performing arts. We believe we have built something that is not only preparing the artists of tomorrow, but the leaders of tomorrow. Our alumni are excelling in their fields, and we hope that we have played some part in developing their commitment to excellence.
With also being the Marketing Manager for Drayton Entertainment and being involved in other musical initiatives, how do you juggle so many roles?
I’m a busy person and I like being busy. My brain enjoys multitasking and I thrive when I’ve got lots on the go. I try often to make time for my own singing, an area I wish I spent more time on. But, I’ve just been hired to do a concert called “Rockin’ with the GSO” at the River Run Centre in October, so I’m thrilled to have the chance to sing awesome 80’s rock music with a great orchestra. That stuff keeps me fulfilled as an artist.
What advice do you have for recent UWaterloo graduates?
Be diverse. Work on the skills you are not so good at. Say ‘yes’ to opportunities, get as much experience as possible and constantly upgrade your skills. I recognize that I don’t know everything and am always looking to learn from people and new experiences. I try to remember that the journey is as important as the end result.
Photos courtesy of Hilary Gauld Camilleri, One For The Wall Photography