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Born in Florida, but raised in Ohio, Kelly MacKenzie-Thurley has fast made a name for herself in the jazz world. A graduate of both the Northern Kentucky University and the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Kelly has sung throughout the United States, Australia, Italy, Czech Republic, Austria, the United Kingdom and Germany, including performances at Cincinnati’s Music Hall, Harlech Castle in North Wales  Hôtel de ville de Nancy, France and at the Sydney Opera House.

Since 2013, Kelly has been on the voice faculty at NKU’s School of the Arts and was recently invited to also join the faculty of the University of Dayton. She has had voice studios in Sydney, London & Greater Cincinnati where she worked with private students, recording studios and vocal ensembles.


Kelly has studied vocal jazz with artists that include Stephanie Nakasian and Darmon Meader of New York Voices, and in 2018 she took over as Director of the NKU Vocal Jazz Ensemble.  

She is regularly on the bill at Caffè Vivace, Basil 1791, Operation Pumpkin, Hamilton's Urban Back Yard and the Taft Museum of Art. Kelly has worked closely with jazz performers Phil DeGreg, Aaron Jacobs, John Taylor, Sergio Pamies, Jim Leslie, Chris Berg, Steve Schmidt & Brian Cashwell.

In October 2021, Kelly was asked to serve as a Jazz Ambassador for the Cincinnati-Nancy Sister City Jazz Initiative as part of the Jazz Pulsations Festival in Nancy, France. There she performed with other local and international artists as well as hosting workshops and masterclass events throughout the festival. 

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