The 1st Presbyterian Church is grateful to you for providing wonderful young soloists for our Music on the Edge series. The vocal scene in Grand Forks has virtually exploded since you established Bel Canto. Each of us is indebted to you for the vibrant musical scene we are privileged to experience in Grand Forks.
With heartfelt thanks,
Roger A. Havranek
Professor Emeritus of Music (Voice)
Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University
Former Chairman of the Voice Department
I want to thank you for the musicians you provided for us last
night. It was a wonderful evening and your students all did GREAT! It was a
Thanks again for all you do to develop young musicians into
Pastor Ken, 1st Presbyterian Church
Music on the Edge Event-April 26th
Dear Maria and Bel Canto Singers,
Thank you so very much for your beautiful singing and performing with costumes for our Artwise show at the Alerus.
It was an important part of making the Artwise Art Show of 2015 a success and fun for all the kids.
Thank you all!
November 6, 2014
Thank you and your students for the lovely program of vocal music for our Annual Fall Dinner Meeting.
It was inspiring, uplifting, and very enjoyable. We gratefully acknowledge your dedication in developing and perfecting your students' talents and in serving the community with your special gifts of voices.
The Altru Alliance
Sept. 22, 2014
Dear Maria and Students,
As Director of the Bel Canto Studio, I would like to thank you and your students for their wonderful performances at our State Convention for Retired Teachers.
Most of the selections brought back lots of wonderful memories for us, which of course, brought lots of smiles and appreciation.
Co-President Grand Forks Retired Teachers Association.
"Maria is an amazing teacher. When we moved to Grand Forks, we had no idea a voice teacher of her caliber and with her professional singing experience lived here. Our daughter and son began lessons with her coming from very different places. Our daughter had always dreamed of being a singer, and she soaked up every lesson Maria taught her from the first time they met until her very last lesson before going to college to study vocal performance. Every time our daughter had a new singing challenge, Maria taught her the vocal technique required to meet that challenge. Our son, however, wasn’t sure he was interested in this singing thing at first, but Maria met him where he was and gently guided him through his initial insecurities. He has now developed a deep love of singing and the confidence to sing in any setting. Maria is an amazing teacher. One only has to attend a Bel Canto recital or watch her students perform in a musical to recognize this. What the casual observer won’t know, however, is that Maria is also a life coach to her students. She has taught our daughter and son how to handle the ups and downs of performing. Maria even gave our daughter sage advice that helped her survive the years her brother was a middle-schooler! She has shared many life lessons with our children for which we are grateful. We have no doubt that Maria will be our children’s mentor long after their lessons with her have ended. Yes, Maria is an amazing teacher. She is a blessing to our family, and we love her very much."~Leah Ritland
Maria's passion for vocal lessons is undeniably empowering. She tailors each lesson to every students vocal level and needs. When I first started lessons with her I was an open book and trusted in her "crazy teaching antics" and have never seen exponential growth come so quickly as it did. She not only teaches a wonderful singing technique, but listens to what the student wants for themselves as well. She gave me a strong vocal technique to always remember and grow with and to this day I use the technique I have learned in my daily work as a musical theatre actor. My voice would not be what it is today without the help of Maria Williams-Kennedy~ Tyler Rood
Bel Canto Testimonial
"Bel Canto Studio is one of the finest studios in Grand Forks, ND and for that matter in the State of ND! Maria Williams Kennedy is the reason why and I can’t say enough about her and her studio!
She challenges her students, encourages them to believe in themselves and in this setting allows their God given talents to bloom. She is the reason our daughter, Jozy Hansen was so successful in all her singing endeavors.
Maria instills in her students determination, confidence, and dedication. She builds them up in a trusted environment where they learn, feel loved, and become the best that they can be. They must learn to work hard, practice, perform, and challenge their fears with courage and they do! She teaches each student that there is no limit to what they can asccomplish. The sky is the limit because when they believe they achieve.
Any new artist or parent seeking to find a place to start to learn to sing just needs to dial Bel Canto’s number and get on-board! You will not be disappointed and your lives will forever change! Our lives did and we will be forever grateful to Maria Williams Kennedy and her studio!"
Testimonial for Maria Williams-Kennedy
From: Laurie D. Guy
"The Bel Canto Studio is a rare gem in the Grand Forks music community. The Director of this studio, Maria Williams-Kennedy is a gifted instructor who provides vocal training for individuals on all levels -- in a truly safe, supportive, and nurturing atmosphere. Maria builds confidence in her students by cultivating their ability with humility and heart, while asking students to use their gifts in service to others. My children benefited from her skillful teaching and have the deepest respect and love for Maria. She has been a wonderful mentor for me and I am honored to be one of her musical colleagues."
"Maria Williams-Kennedy is not only an excellent voice coach but is one of the most caring and dedicated teachers I have had during my education. Her ability to connect with students and help them progress at a rapid pace is unmatched. The Bel Canto Studio has helped hundreds of students in the Red River Valley realize their musical potential and will continue to do so for years to come!"
"Maria is a skilled teacher, role model, and mentor. She gave me a clear understanding of how the voice works and a solid foundation of vocal technique that I’ve used throughout my entire career whether I am singing, classical, pop, or musical theatre. Maria harnessed me with the tools and professionalism to successfully audition, land the parts, and win pageant titles. She always pushed me and time after time I exceeded my own expectations of myself. Thank you Maria for giving me the courage, tools, confidence, to do everything I set out to do!"
Molly Prout Castillo
“Maria Williams Kennedy and her Bel Canto Studio inspired me to challenge myself in a healthy cycle of continuous improvement, while celebrating the smallest successes to motivate me and energize my vocal learning. Great teachers, such as Maria, use their profession to develop, encourage and influence young adults helping them realize their potential and accepting nothing less than their student’s personal best. The commitment and drive I sustained while studying under Maria not only positively impacted my vocal and theatrical performances, but also taught me life lessons that I have carried with me into my current career with great success. Maria is a class act and I consider myself honored to be an alumnus of The Bel Canto Studio of Voice.”
Megan Fiskum Erovick
"Dear Bel Canto Studio,
Thank you for much for the Hardest Worker Scholarship. It means a lot for the hard work I put into my lessons and performances to be recognized. I have been learning from Maria at the Studio for 2 years now and I have noticed so much improvement in myself in that short amount of time. I have gained a lot of confidence in my voice, my ability to perform, and myself in general. While working with Maria I like to think I have gained poise that I can use not only on stage but also carry into my every day life. Through the Bel Canto Studio I have gained many valuable connections and friendships, and I hope to continue doing so! I am so grateful for everything that I have learned and I am excited for what I am to learn in the future. Thank you for supporting my growth!"
"Over the course of four years of study, I grew immensely as a singer and performer under Maria Williams Kennedy’s tutelage. Maria taught me invaluable lessons about voice placement in the mask and the power of proper vocal support. Beyond classical opera technique, Maria gave me training in musical theater belt style. This instilled in me preparation and confidence to land musical theatre roles such as Natalie in Frost Fire Summer Theatre’s production of All Shook Up. I was able to place as a finalist in contests such as The Minnesota State Fair’s Talent Competition, EDC Vocal Solo competition, and win The Northern Star singing contest. Maria helped me prepare and hone audition pieces for college entrance auditions, and I subsequently made it into a competitive Musical Theatre program. The work ethic I built at The Bel Canto Studio transferred into my university studies and theatre auditions, and even into current performances with my electronic rock band in New York City. I find I am indebted to my training with Maria no matter what style of vocal performance I pursue."
"Thank you so much for all of the great performance your students provided at our North Dakota Conference of Social Welfare.
You have a talented group of students and it was recognized by our association members. Your student’s teamwork, helpfulness, and true support of each other, was a topic of discussion. One member even talked about how the support and the high fives given rivaled any team sport event.
You truly have a young group of people that will go on to be an asset to any community they choose to live in. Not only with their musical talents, but there awareness of community service.
Thank you for the outstanding job you are doing."
NDCSW local arrangements committee
"Maria: Please extend a great BIG THANK YOU to your students for the fantastic performances they gave last night at our event! Everyone commented on the extraordinary talent our local young people have and what a great voice teacher your are to bring forth such professional performances. You all made the evening extra special!"
Patricia Berger, President/CEO United Way of Grand Forks
1407 24th Ave S, Suite 400
Grand Forks, ND 58201
"Sorry this e-mail is a bit late, but thank you so much for helping to recruit such AMAZINGLY TALENTED singers for the Mayor’s Choice reception. They were the hit of the event, and everyone kept remarking over how professional they sounded. (especially the Mayor, who loved the performances!)
I will keep my ear to the ground for more opportunities for your students to perform."