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Kelly opened a private studio for voice and piano lessons in 2004 when he was an undergraduate student at the University of Mississippi. He moved to NYC and intended to be a full-time performer, but life had other plans, and he was called home to the South. The call to college teaching came in 2008 after he started his first adjunct teaching gig at a community college in Mississippi. Kelly has taught in higher education ever since, and he has been teaching full-time in higher education since 2013, first at Ohio University and currently at North Dakota State University (NDSU).

At NDSU, Kelly teaches voice, diction, and opera and also maintains a private voice studio in Fargo. His students range in age from high school to professional (adult) singers. Kelly's former and current students are professional performers in numerous genres including opera and musical theatre, music educators at every level K-university, music therapists, composers, and music producers. They work throughout the United States, some of them in major markets such as Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York City, and Salt Lake City.

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