International recording star and saxophone player for the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Grace Kelly, recently came to APH, and our students were overjoyed. Whether she is playing the saxophone as part of the band on the Stephen Colbert Show or speaking to thousands in her sold-out concerts or speaking to our group of students, Grace Kelly’s enthusiasm and love for music is contagious. Grace’s journey to becoming a professional musician was very relatable to our students, as she grew up nearby in Brookline, MA and began playing clarinet, and then saxophone, at the age of 10.
Grace has performed with music superstars including Wynton Marsalis and the Boston Pops Orchestra, and even played at President Obama’s inauguration. She shared her thoughts on growth, taking risks, and being open to whatever may come. Grace told our students, “growth happens when you take a risk.” She continued, “I try to say yes as much as possible.”
Illustrating this point, Grace recounted how she joined the Late Show within the space of three days. It wasn’t something that she had planned for or expected; however, after she accepted, she was able to figure out everything that she needed for success. While the story was comical in nature, our students were motivated by Grace’s empowering message.
Grace treated us to two wonderful performances of original compositions, “Lemons Make Lemonade” and “She’s the First.” The second song was written as an anthem for the organization, She’s the First, which provides scholarships to girls in low-income countries to cultivate the next generation of global leaders.
Students asked Grace questions ranging from her favorite musicians to her inspiration for composing, and methods that she uses for musical training. She closed by encouraging our students to find something that they love to do, jump in, and figure it out. Students gathered around Grace following her performance to ask additional questions and introduce themselves to her.
She’s the first to dare, leave her mark
First to rise, start a spark
ooh! fire’s burning bright
She can lead us through the night
-chorus from “She’s the First”