June 26, 2019

Featured Friar: Winifred Kennedy ’20

posted on: Thursday January 24, 2019

by Brian Garvey ’20

Providence College is home to countless talented students, but a star might be in the making before our eyes. 

Winifred “Wini” Kennedy ’20  is from Grafton, Massachusetts and has a bright future ahead of her. “I actually hadn’t even heard of Providence until my sophomore year of high school when my Anatomy teacher talked about it non-stop,” Kennedy said. 

“She wore her Friars long-sleeve shirt every Friday and constantly talked about how PC was the best experience of her life. Every time she came to Friartown or flew into the T.F. Green Airport and saw the Friartown mural, it felt like coming home. Because she was one of my favorite teachers, I took her advice and decided to tour PC and from the moment I set foot on campus, I instantly had the same feeling—it felt like coming home.”

A talented singer and guitarist, Kennedy said, “I always liked to sing, but it took me a long time to work up the courage to be comfortable performing. I performed at my first open-mic night my junior year of high school to an instrumental backtrack and was a nervous wreck.” 

After teaching herself to play the guitar her senior year of high school, she found that performing with a guitar made her feel less vulnerable and, as a result, performing became much easier. 

To her, music has given her a sense of belonging in the world. “When I was younger, I always used to get upset that I wasn’t the best at sports or the smartest person in the room, and felt like I didn’t have a passion or something that made me ‘me.’ Over time, music has become that for me. Performing is what makes me feel the most like myself.”

Many people may recognize Wini from her amazing performance of “Shallow” from A Star is Born with Adam Hanna during the fall semester. 

“Up until this point, I had never performed any sort of solo like this, other than playing at low-key open-mic nights, so this was HUGE to me,”she said. “I was extremely nervous but so honored and excited that someone as well-known as Adam thought that I would be a great fit to perform with him. I had an amazing time and the whole experience was one that I will never forget.” 

It is undoubtedly a big step to go from performing at open-mic nights to headlining an event in front of hundreds of your peers. 

Kennedy’s message to those who want to take that step is that getting out of your comfort zone will lead you to great things. 

“Performing and making yourself vulnerable is honestly, at first, terrifying. It is hard in any situation to make yourself vulnerable. However, I’ve always been someone that believes that life occurs outside of your comfort zone.” 

To her, pursuing one’s dreams is well worth the risk. “It has always been about how performing makes me feel, and as long as you love something, putting yourself out there and being vulnerable almost always results in reward. If you love something, go after it.”

Kennedy does not just perform solo; she is a proud member of PC’s A cappella group, Strictly Speaking. 

“Making it into Strictly was honestly the best thing that had happened to me at PC. It gave me a ‘place’ on campus, a feeling of belonging, and a sense of family. I love everyone in our group so much.We are a family and PC wouldn’t be what it is to me without them.”

Whats next for Kennedy? “Beatboxing has become a newly discovered talent, and that’s definitely something I have a lot of fun with.”

Besides beatboxing, Kennedy has also orchestrated an event that brings together her BOP involvement and A cappella; Riff-Off. 

“This is the first BOP event that I’ve planned, and it brings my A cappella world right into it. I’m extremely excited to see how it goes and hopefully it’s a successful event.”

Kennedy is on the lookout for her next performance, and is ready for any opportunity. “I will always be performing at whatever events come my way, and whenever opportunity knocks again, I’ll be ready.”

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