The life and times of talented Kade Bennett

r by Elaine Hansen

It is not unusual that American Leadership Academy’s reputation for excellence in performing arts draws students to our doors. This was the case for Kade Bennett of Mapleton, Utah who joined the student body as a shy 5th grader. Almost afraid of his own shadow, he was anxious to learn how to overcome his fears and increase his performance skills. He had written a song with his voice teacher, Becky Willard, that he performed for a school talent show and he performed it well enough to warrant some interest in fostering his talent to greater levels.

After leaving the fine arts track in Elementary he was able to enroll in the MDT program. Elaine Hansen, his Musical Theater teacher encouraged him to train the three disciplines that make up a triple-threat performer: singing, dancing and acting. Kade’s family embraced that counsel and started him dancing at Lifehouse Dance Academy, taking drama at ALA, and continuing voice lessons. Mrs. Hansen also noticed that Kade was very pigeon-toed and knock-kneed. She thought that perhaps ballet training would help him develop out of this. But his challenge was deeper than that, and after 2 surgeries with Shriner’s Hospital, he slowly learned to reuse his legs and walk differently.  

With his demonstration for hard work and diligent striving, he moved on to classical vocal training with Dr. Isaac Hurtado, renowned in the Opera world, and Kade’s voice dramatically improved and expounded. Tap became his favorite form of dance, but he was patient enough to put up with being an only boy in a beginning class of ballet with only young female dancers. It paid off as lead role credits appeared on his resume beginning his sophomore year with Gomez in The Addams Family, King Arthur in Spamalot (his junior year), and finally this last fall of 2018 he played the tenor role of Jack Kelly in ALA’s Newsies.

In about his junior year of high school he picked up yet another brilliant vocal coach: Dr. Juan Pereira with a dual specialty in Musical Theater and Opera, all while continuing to study at Lifehouse were he is frequently featured as a solo artist in the various revues and ballets.  

Kade is quick to volunteer his time to help others with his audio technical and recording skills (including audio design and implementation for Blast). He has worked for the City of Spanish Fork for the Summer Movie Crew and AV Pro as an audio engineer. His dad Nathan and Kade have helped to design and implement the annual MDT Spook Alley for the Elementary Fall Festival. He has helped many younger singers who desire to sing with private vocal instruction and is the first to volunteer for any benefit concerts to help someone in need. Right behind him is his mother Leslie who has worked tirelessly as the Booster President for MDT.

He put his best foot forward to become the Sterling Scholar of Vocal Music at American Leadership Academy for 2018-19, and was the only Sterling Scholar Applicant to move forward to the state level from ALA. At the State level, he was the impressive first runner-up, resulting in more scholarship opportunities. Prior to receiving these awards, Kade had been invited from over 2,000 applicants across the country to audition for the top Musical Theater programs in the nation — Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburg, PA, as well as the prestigious classical musical program at the University of Michigan. He was accepted to Michigan while at the same time receiving full-tuition + books to Utah Valley University to continue studies with Dr. Isaac Hurtado. Learning he would not be able to be in any operas until his junior year at U of Michigan Kade has decided to stay at UVU. You will be able to celebrate Kade this summer playing the major role of Papageno in the UVAA (International Summer Opera Festival): The Magic Flute at UVU in the new Noorda Center.

American Leadership Academy, Directors Elaine Hansen and Larry Blackburn, and Fine Arts Director Jan Searle are very proud of Kade and his immense prowess and future to come. We are grateful he represents ALA so well. Here’s to striving for excellence! Break a leg Kade!!!

Chris Baird
Chris Baird
Chris is a family man with a beautiful wife and four kids. Three Girls, One Boy. He enjoys playing basketball, being outdoors, and the old normal.

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