BAKERSFIELD, CA. (KGET)- For the past decade, Mckinley Elementary School teacher Kenneth Whitchard has helped Kern County kids find their voice through the power of music.
“My goal is to help kids who can’t express themselves the way they want to,” said Whitchard. “I want to give them that opportunity.”
Growing up in poverty, the career educator often found refuge in the rhymes and rhythms of his middle school choir class.
“Music saved my life as a kid,” said Whitchard. “Now, I want to help kids like myself.”
Fast forward 20 years, and he’s finally found a way to pay it forward. Whitchard and his wife Karynn decided to start their own choir academy to uplift kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I want to share my passion for music with every kid in this county just as I do Monday through Friday at McKinley Elementary School,” said Whitchard.
The virtual program is open to kids, ages 7 to 17. It begins with basic music theory classes and later expands to full cyber-concerts. It costs $60 per child, but scholarship opportunities are available on an as-needed basis.
Whitchard believes every kid deserves the chance to have their lives transformed, regardless of their upbringing or financial situation.
“We’re not trying to make money off of this program,” said Whitchard. “I told my wife that one day I will win the lottery, and these kids will never have to pay for anything.”
If you would like to register for classes at the Whitchard Choir Academy, click here.