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2017 recipient: Amanda Kind

Amanda KindSince graduating from the University of Waterloo just over a decade ago, Amanda Kind (BA ’06) has grown into an inspirational leader for young performers in her community. In recognition of her generous and dedicated service, Conrad Grebel University College has named Amanda the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Service Award winner.

As a Waterloo-based singer, songwriter, actor, and vocal coach, Amanda is involved with many different groups, including KW Musical Productions and Drayton Entertainment where she works as the Marketing Manager. She is also the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of KW Glee, a pop rock choir for ages 9-19.

Amanda has received numerous awards for her work: Waterloo Region Arts Award, Rogers Television Woman of the Year, Waterloo Region Record's Top 40 under 40, and the Alan Lund Award. Her accomplishments with KW Glee alone are remarkable. The senior show choir won the National Champion title at Show Choir Canada in 2015, the juniors won in 2016, and they have performed twice as the headliner with the KW Symphony.

Not only has Amanda filled the need for a community ensemble geared towards youth interested in performing contemporary popular music, but she has used this medium to infuse young people with a desire for excellence.  “She is building musical leaders of tomorrow, much of that through example,” noted Music Department Chair Laura Gray. “The love she has for her young performers is easy to see and those young people and their families return that affection in equal measure.”

“When I was a teenager, I was desperate for opportunities to sing and learn about the performing arts,” explained Amanda. “I feel the need to create the opportunities, and provide the support and education that I wish I could have had at that critical time in my life. I'm passionate about being the person that young performers can turn to for advice on where and how to sharpen their skills.” Amanda doesn’t claim to have all the answers, but she is happy to connect students to people with more insight or opportunities to grow. “I am consistently inspired by the young people I meet. Their passion for arts and leadership help drive my passion. It's a symbiotic relationship.”

After starting school in British Columbia, Amanda decided to finish her music degree and study cultural management at the same time, which brought her to Grebel. “I feel incredibly blessed to have landed at Grebel because the entire college - and especially the music department - was very liberal and accepting of all styles. I was offered the freedom to cultivate other styles and express my love of music through many genres,” reflected Amanda. “Many of the teachers in the music department and particularly my voice teacher, Stephanie Kramer, have become lifelong mentors to me.”

Since graduating, Amanda has remained connected to Grebel, meeting and motivating current music students. “Be diverse,” she advised them. “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. The journey is as important as the end result.”

The Distinguished Alumni Service Award recognizes alumni who have made a significant and unique contribution to the church, community, nation, or world. “Through her love of music, Amanda has touched many lives in our community, empowering and inspiring a new generation of musicians,” remarked Katie Cowie-Redekopp, Grebel’s Alumni Committee Chair. This award will be presented to Amanda at a special musical event during the fall term at Grebel.