Mukilteo Beacon - Your Hometown News Source

High school student thrives in music despite disorder


January 17, 2018

In talking to Kathryn McKenna, 16, about her talents and skills, you come away impressed.

She has a clear love and knack for music, she is extremely well spoken and respectful and, quite simply, she is extremely talented.

A multi-time competition winner for her singing abilities, which allowed her to perform with the Mukilteo Community Orchestra as the only singer at their Young Artists Concert, Kathryn thrives in her element despite having to overcome a hearing disorder.

“I have auditory processing disorder, which makes it difficult to hear and process some things,” Kathryn said.

During her freshman year at Kamiak High School, she started having issues focusing on what the teacher was saying due to background noise in the classroom, and now, as a sophomore, she is enrolled in Washington Virtual Academies, or WAVA.

WAVA is an online K-12 program, which allows Kathryn to focus more on her studies without experiencing issues in a typical classroom setting, and it also allows her to focus on her music.

“I still attend Kamiak for AP music theory and for their choir and orchestra,” Kathryn said. “But this gives me more time to sing and practice. I do singing covers on Instagram for pop music, and I also spend less time on school work than I would if I was still at Kamiak full time.”

Her mother, Deborah McKenna, believes that WAVA has allowed Kathryn more freedom to give music the full attention it needs.

“A lot of her auditions fall on weekdays during regular school hours, so this allows us some more flexibility to allow her to chase her dreams,” Deborah said. “It’s hectic, and there’s a lot going on, but it’s really exciting to watch her skills blossom and grow. I’m glad we’re able to support her reaching her goals.”

Deborah said if she wasn’t so sure of Kathryn’s talents, she would have been skeptical about her chasing a career in music at such a young age, but Kathryn has been impressing Deborah since she was 3 years old.

“When she was 3, I would sing her a nursery rhyme, and she would sing it back in the correct key and pitch,” Kathryn said. “When she was around 6, she would be singing in her sleep. So we put her in singing lessons and it’s gone from there.

“Her voice has a lot of depth and range. It’s really rich, and we have a lot of other people who acknowledge her talents as well. She has a lot of possibilities in her future.”

Kathryn has competed in multiple singing competitions over the last three years.

“I’ve competed in three or four competitions over the last three years, and I got first place in all but one,” Kathryn said.

In addition to an exemplary trophy case, Kathryn writes her own music.

“I would say I started writing music when I was 5, but what I would do is I would write poems and then sing them,” Kathryn said. “At 13, I downloaded an app that allowed me to write sheet music. I can’t draw, so I’ve always needed a way to get my creativity out, and that’s what music does for me.

Kathryn also takes part in musicals with the Village Theatre and is currently writing her own musical.

“It’s about a world where being gay is the norm, and it’s about a straight female,” Kathryn said. “I think it’s really important nowadays because I’ve had a lot of friends who were bullied due to their sexuality, and people go through hell with that kind of stuff. It could help people see the other side of things.”

Kathryn has been working on the musical for two years and hopes to get it produced and performed someday.

Kathryn also had advice for other young people who may have reservations about chasing their dreams.

“Make sure it’s what you want to do, and go all in,” Kathryn said. “It has to be what you want to do.”

“It’s too late to stop this train,” Deborah said, laughing.

Author Bio

Brandon Gustafson, Editor, Mukilteo Beacon

Brandon Gustafson was named editor of the Mukilteo Beacon in October, 2017. Born and raised in Mukilteo, Brandon attended Mukilteo Elementary, Olympic View Middle School, and Kamiak High School, graduating in 2013. After high school, Brandon attended Shoreline Community College, earning his associate's degree while playing for the school's baseball team. He then transferred to the University of Washington, where he graduated in 2017 with a bachelor's degree in communications-journalism.

Phone: 425-347-5634
Twitter: @MukBeaconBPG


Reader Comments


Our Family of Publications Includes:

Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019

Rendered 12/11/2019 05:09