Grace Kelly Charms

Grace+Kelly+graced+the+Robison+Hall+with+vibrant+and+exciting+music.
Grace Kelly graced the Robison Hall with vibrant and exciting music.

Grace Kelly graced the Robison Hall with vibrant and exciting music.

Anat Gerstein Inc.

Anat Gerstein Inc.

Grace Kelly graced the Robison Hall with vibrant and exciting music.

By MONIQUE SANTOSO

On Friday Feb. 16, 25-year-old Grace Kelly enchanted the campus with the passion of an old soul mixed with the dynamism and energetic movement of youth. She dressed in patterned leggings, a crop-top and her signature highlighted hair to matches her electric personality. She was joined by her quartet of pianist David Linard, bassist Julia Pederson and drummer Connor Kent.

As the lights dimmed and a full house applauded her greetings, she picked up her saxophone and began to dance in sync to her notes and the keys of her fellow performers.

Kelly started with an upbeat jazz rendition that paired well with the exuberance with which she welcomed the audience, shared her feeling of connection with the Robinson Concert Hall, and noted how grateful she was that her parents drove from Massachusetts to watch her perform.

She sang the lyrics of her songs, “Count on Me” and the title track of her new album, “Trying to Figure It Out”, with the passion and honesty of an individual who wants internal and worldly peace in a world filled with doubts, heartbreak and terror. Her magnetic delivery of the songs kept the audience swaying silently, clicking their fingers along with her and smiling at her lyrics.

Kelly said that her songs are about “people coming together and strangers becoming friends.”

As she moved into another personal song with music from the comedian Charlie Chaplin, I began to empathize with her. This song was of a lighter quality and softly carried her the performance forward. The sensitivity of her voice as she talked to individuals who “needed more light today” was joined only by the chords of Linard’s piano.

“Her ability to connect with the audience, irrespective of their life experiences and age makes her special,”  a community member said.

Without a doubt, Kelly’s influences are as extensive as her musical repertoire. From the zesty tunes of “Lemons Make Lemonade” to the smoothness of a ballad dedicated to her father, the audience was absorbed in her delivery, spirit and vitality. To send her audience home dancing, she played high strung notes. She came back by popular demand to close with a tune familiar to all, “You Are My Sunshine.”

A resident Bostonian, Kelly grew up in a family of classical musicians and attended Berklee College of Music. After touring Europe extensively over the past year, she asked that the audience stay tuned for her 11th album on PledgeMusic that she will be broadcasting online. The music she hopes to write is about the people who inspire her and all her supporters.

In an effort to bring jazz to a younger audience, Kelly launched a new weekly video series called “Grace Kelly PopUp” on social media in February 2017, which has already racked up over one million views.

After the many standing ovations Kelly received on Friday, she held a jazz workshop for the budding jazz musicians of the college the following day.

“Follow your passion and chase your dreams relentlessly,” Kelly told the Middlebury students on attendance.” It was a sentiment her parents often told her and it continues to animate her artistic life.

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Grace Kelly Charms