Growing up on a ranch in Elk Mountain Wyoming was not always the most eventful childhood but Kit Kennady, now known as Kit Felton, found ways to keep busy. Wintertime in Wyoming is not forgiving and the wind that comes with it does not help. Kit along with her one other brother Ben would keep each other company on their family’s ranch. Kit and Ben were raised in a very close family and had awesome parents who raised them.

“We had this huge awesome barn that Ben and I would play in and it would keep us busy for hours.”

The Kennedy family would have to drive long distances to get groceries due to the fact they lived out of town. Kit and Ben attended a small elementary school with only a handful of students in each class. 

“We played games like restaurants and school. Just imagination games.” Other past times would be having sleepovers or just entertaining herself. Kit loved to ride horses and would help out on the ranch. She did a lot of reading because their TV only had one channel and it was not a good one. 

After high school Kit chose to attend the University of Wyoming and earn her degree as a music teacher. As a student in music there were certain requirements that needed to be met. This included private lessons along with being in at least two ensembles. Throughout her college career Kit was a part of the marching band, vocal jazz, and in her last two years she switched from marching band to the Collegiate Chorale. 

Being involved in the UW music education program provided many travel opportunities. The first airplane ride Kit took was when the UW football team made the copper bowl in Tucson AZ while she was in the marching band. Every year the band would get to go to a couple different away games. These places included Albuquerque NM, Fort Collins Colo, Salt Lake City Utah, and a lot of other places in the mountain west region. With the choir she went to New York City and also sang in a performance at Carnegie hall. She also went on a trip to Brazil for a couple weeks where they traveled as well as performed a series of concerts throughout the country.

When it came down to deciding on a career path after high school Kit was confident that she wanted to become a teacher, and it is something she has always known she wanted to do. Both of her grandmothers were teachers as was her mother, so she decided to follow in their footsteps. 

“I just loved being in band and choir throughout high school. At one point I did want to be a vet but I didn’t want to take the math and science classes that came with it.”

As a kid growing up on a ranch, Kit got to watch her father work with animals. He took a numerous amount of veterinarian classes in order to take care of the animals on his own. This is what sparked her interest in becoming a vet, though she did not choose to do so. 

 Right after she had finished her college education a teaching job opened up in Hanna Wyo where she has spent her entire 23 years (and counting) teaching career. Due to the fact that Hanna along with some of the surrounding towns were very small, she did a lot of traveling between towns such as Hanna, Elk Mountain, and Medicine Bow. Later those three towns came together as one school making her job a little bit easier though she still traveled to the elementary schools and other towns within the school district. 

Once a year the music teachers of Carbon County School District 2 would get their students together to hold one big concert. In early years she would take students to music festivals that were hosted in Cheyenne. She found that her students liked to be critiqued in a constructive way. Music teachers around the district decided to get their students together for festival performances.

 “Being in a band in a small town did not provide the same performance opportunities as it would for students in larger areas such as Casper or Cheyenne. Getting the students together would give them large group experiences.”   The band get togethers became more and more regular thing until eventually they became an annual event. Each teacher would get 2-3 music piece choices for both band and choir then the music would be shared to other students throughout the district. This concert is a great way for students to meet new people from around the state and get a large group experience.

“It is fun teaching little kids because they say funny stuff. I should keep a notebook of some of the stuff they say.” Some highlights of teaching older kids is being able to make actual music that is challenging. 

“I was an ambassador with a Wyoming music group that traveled all over Europe.” during this Europe trip the group would perform at each new place. The only thing that she would change going on the Europe trip would be bringing some close friends as well as family to make the memories with. 

While teaching is a significant aspect of her personality, Kit enjoys hanging out with her kids, mom, and friends as well as spending time traveling in the summer. She is also an independent consultant for the company Rodan + Fields. 

“It is a second job I like to do after school and in the summer.” R + F is helpful because it brings in a middle of the month income while I don’t get my teaching pay until the end of the month.  It has also provided her with many opportunities to meet new people. The products alone are a great reason to be a consultant as Kit along with her daughter Hayley Felton both love them.

 Teaching in a small community allowed her to become a both well-known and admired member around town. Some memorable events she was responsible for have been putting together pep bands with elementary students that would play during halftime at football games as well as time outs. Numerous concerts and plays have been put together for elementary students to perform in. 

Along with being a music teacher she volunteered to teach the elementary students about art because it was not an actual class offered to the students at the time. Some of these activities included paintings and drawings every week among other things.

Kit’s interest in music and art is something that she has in fact passed down to her own children.  Junior in high school Hayley has played numerous instruments including percussion along with bass guitar and has been an active member of the band throughout her high school years. Along with music she had a lot of success with her artwork. She has earned many blue ribbons during county fairs along with earning a blue ribbon at the state convention. She is already a commissioned artist at the age of 16 and plans on pursuing a career of animation.

Starting with the saxophone in high school and the start of college, Kit has learned how to play many instruments, and is still learning new things such as how to play the ukulele. 

Music education provides many great opportunities and Kit has shown throughout her 23 years of teaching that she is willing to go above and beyond to spread the joy of music and art. The miles it takes to travel between up to three towns a day along with the patience it takes to teach kids between the ages of 5-18 is under looked. She has stayed with the same school throughout the entirety of her career, and because of this she has been able to watch her students learn about the joys of learning music as a kindergartener to being able to perform complex band pieces as a high school senior. 

She has done an outstanding job working with her students directly when it came to learning a new instrument or a new technique in choir. She has given students the opportunity to go to Broadway musicals along with other fun out of school experiences. It is clear that teaching is her passion and has never hesitated to put her student before herself. As she gets farther along in her career, she will continue to inspire the minds of young musicians.