Terry Kelly’s enthusiasm for life and sheer determination have gained him international recognition as an accomplished athlete; an award-winning singer, songwriter, and entertainer; a professional speaker; and a lover of life.
As a musician this Newfoundland native has released seven full-length recordings, resulting in seven East Coast Music Awards and nominations for four Canadian Country Music Awards and a JUNO. Terry has shared the stage with Symphony Orchestras, and has performed his original music in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and for the troops in Afghanistan. He is most recognized for his inspirational song, “A Pittance of Time”.
Terry is a recipient of the King Clancy Award, and Honorary Doctorates in Civil Laws and in Fine Arts. He has received the Canadian Country Music Association’s Humanitarian Award and is a member of the Order of Canada.
In the athletic field, Terry has distinguished himself as the third blind person in the world to run the mile in under five minutes.
Terry Kelly is a storyteller who finds it natural to tell his stories through songs. His songwriting is the artistic discipline for which he will be remembered and honoured as time passes. Terry’s songs are crafted with the utmost care. His use of language, melody and imagery is skillful and the elements come together in a way that leaves a lasting impression. He is not afraid to use emotion to make his point, but manages to accomplish that without a sense of undue sentimentality. His melodies are not only memorable and very sing-able, but will undoubtedly stand the test of time. His highly developed skills as a vocalist and an instrumentalist place him in a very special category. Fellow musicians and songwriters pursue opportunities to perform with Terry because he adds so much to any performance. His joy for life and his sense of humour shine through his work in a way that is rare and very special.
The role of the artist in society is to force us to look in the mirror or to reflect what is happening in the world. Terry has always done that with his songs. His contribution to cultural life is special in that he has crafted and performed songs that make us think about many aspects of society. He has written a song to celebrate the Canadian Navy, a song honouring veterans and their families, songs about abilities and literacy, songs to raise awareness about cancer and poverty and many songs about home and family. His art has enriched our lives here at home and has represented us in a positive way across the country and around the world. His strong sense of social responsibility comes though in all his work and ultimately reflects Atlantic Canada as a warm and caring society and a wonderful place to live.
Terry Kelly’s artistic achievements are many and varied. They range from awards via his peers such as his seven ECMA’s to unique special projects that were commissioned to celebrate events or draw attention to issues in society. In addition to his seven solo full-length recordings, he has appeared as a guest on numerous others. His honourary degrees, Order of Canada induction and the Queen’s Silver and Diamond Jubilee Medals were attained for “outstanding achievement and public service”. These achievements are important because they recognize that Terry has excelled in his artistic discipline and represented his country and his province at the highest level.
When Terry was seven years of age, his parents made the emotionally difficult decision to send him from his home in St. John’s, Newfoundland to the Halifax School for the Blind. It was not easy for either Terry or his parents, but the difficulties initiated Terry’s quest for challenge, developed his love of life and nurtured his musical talent. Terry learned to play the accordion, clarinet, guitar and piano and was a founding member of a very successful high school band, The Stringbusters. Always busy, he worked his way through Saint Mary’s University performing in clubs and bars with the popular rock group Janus, while studying for a degree in psychology.
Terry’s persistence and commitment to his work were first recognized at the 1993 East Coast Music Awards. It was here that Terry set an ECMA record by winning in every category in which he was nominated. His tally included “Album of The Year” for his “Divided Highway” project; “SOCAN Song Of The Year” for the first single, “In My Father’s House”; “Male Vocalist”; “Country Artist”; and “Live Act (Entertainer of the Year)”.
Terry Kelly has performed his original music in places as far away as Australia, Spain, and Afghanistan; has performed with Symphony Nova Scotia, the Edmonton Symphony, and the Stadacona Band of Maritime Forces Atlantic ; has shared the stage with such artists as Rita MacNeil, The Rankin Family, Faith Hill and Ray Charles.
Terry has presented his performances at the 1988 Winter Olympic Gala Dinner; for Princess Margaret during her royal visit to Nova Scotia; for the Wayne Gretzky Celebrity Sports Classic 10th Anniversary; at Expos in Vancouver, British Columbia / Brisbane, Australia / and Seville, Spain; for their Royal Highnesses, Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh at a Prime Minister’s Dinner held in their honor; in schools, colleges, universities and concert halls; and for conventions, festivals, and fairs.
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Full Length Recordings
Always There (2014)
Olde Tyme Christmas (2004)
The Power of the Dream (2002)
Far Cry From Leaving (1996)
Divided Highway (1992)
Face To Face (1988)
On the Move (1985)
Heroes’ Hall of Honour (2013)
Portraits of Honour (2012)
This House Has Room (2009)
Merci Louis (2009)
Listen to the Children (2008)
That All May Read (2008)
Celebrate Life (2006)
A Pittance of Time (2005)
C’est si peu de temps (2005)
Ties That Bind (1991)
Dawson’s Creek 3rd Season DVD (2003)
Factor 20th Anniversary Compilation (2002)
Atlantic Decade (2001)
An East Coast Christmas (1999)
Friends and Lovers (Sony) (1997)
Remembering Stan Rogers I (1995)
Remembering Stan Rogers II (1995)
How many dreams have you had in your life? How many of those dreams have come to fruition?
How many of your dreams are sitting on the back burner because you are afflicted with the crippling disease, “excuse-itis”?
Are there dreams of yours that have been deemed time-sensitive, and, therefore, supposedly void of life?
Is there such a thing as a dream being void of life? If not, why not? If so, what’s the formula to reviving it?
I’m very grateful that I have realized many of my dreams. That said, I must admit that there are some of them that remain sitting on the back burner, and some of them that lie victim, and paralyzed by “excuse-itis”.
I’ve been pondering the, “If not, why not?” and, “If so, how?”. I’ve determined that, recognizing the disease, and acknowledging my inaction, is the first step to creating the inertia to get me moving on the road to recovery from excuse-itis. No – not creating inertia, but something like, “overcoming the inertia”.
So, I must say that I’m finding it challenging, yet interesting and exciting, to begin the process of cleaning off the back burner, and exploring the possibility of reviving discarded or forgotten dreams.
One might ask, hey Terry, what has inspired you to all of a sudden begin pondering in such a reflective way?
Well, I’ve been inspired by my son, Jeff, who, just after high school, adopted what we refer to as, the Dream Adjustment model.
As a little kid of two, Jeff began playing tin can hockey with me; it was the way I learned to play the game at the Halifax School for the Blind in Nova Scotia, Canada, when I was a boy.
Jeff’s love of hockey began growing as he played with me, with the Halifax Hawks amateur league, then high school and junior hockey. He collected the cards, read the magazines; he came to know the players, their stats and stories. He wanted to play professionally, just like them.
Long story short, when Jeff realized that playing professional hockey wasn’t going to happen, he switched into “dream adjustment mode”, and decided to study to become a professional trainer/athletic therapist in the hockey world.
May we all come to know the joy of using the “dream adjustment” as an antidote for excuse-itis, and get more things happening in our lives by cleaning off our back burners.
Thanks for dropping by,
TerryContinue reading →
When I was 14, I remember trudging off to the Sailor’s Memorial at Point Pleasant Park, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, with my classmates from The School for the Blind and with our house parent / counselor, Mr. Ed Fraser, a proud veteran sailor of the Canadian Navy. On that November 11th day, the weather was not really conducive to a stroll in the park, and we made this fact very clear to Mr. Fraser. He didn’t seem to be overly concerned about our protests to venturing out into the rain that couldn’t quite decide if it would be cold and wet, soaking and chilling us to the bone, or freezing like shrapnel and attempting to puncture our young uncovered flesh. We arrived at the Sailor’s Memorial ten minutes before the ceremony was scheduled to begin and continued with our unacknowledged whining, that is, until one minute before the two minutes of silence was about to begin when Mr. Fraser faced us and spoke in his commanding and mesmerizing tone. “Gentlemen, all of you, face this direction”, which happened to be straight in to the freezing rain, “stand straight with your hands at your sides, and for the duration of the next two minutes, think of all the gifts and good things you have in your lives. Notice how quickly the time will pass and how you won’t mind the weather. As you list all of your good fortunes, say thank you to the thousands of veterans and to those who have died for each of you so you can be free. By the way, if Hitler had achieved his plan, there’d be no blind or disabled people allowed to live in this country of ours!” It was amazing how the realization of Hitler’s plan seemed very personal to the lot of us who were blind and visually impaired. To this day I not only remember my blessings on November 11th, I give thanks for all I have each and every day of my life. Have you ever noticed how your ability to deal with troubles and challenges is relative to your level of gratitude? Come this November 11th, I invite you to join me in two minutes of silence, A Pittance of Time, and take stock of all the goodness in your life as we honour those who have given of themselves for us and others.Continue reading →
- 14 Wing Invests Terry Kelly as Honorary ColonelClick here for full articleRead more
- Blind SpotA feature-length documentary film about three blind adventurers who cross the Argentinean Andes on horseback.Read more
- Curly Girl RunsKelly delights in challengesRead more
- We Can Do AnythingBlind musician encourages students to chase their dreamsRead more
- New recording – Always ThereHALIFAX, NS As a follow up to his inspirational Remembrance Day tribute song, ‘A Pittance of Time’, Terry Kelly’s latest 13-track musical offering, ‘Always There’, celebrates those who have served as well as those who are now serving their country. ‘Always There’, produced by Terry Kelly and Paul Mills, will be released on June 6th, D-Day ...Read more
- Royal Canadian Navy Monument NamingHALIFAX, NS – Terry Kelly will be taking a break this week from his scheduled R & R time, as he has accepted an invitation from the Royal Canadian Navy to perform at the naming of the Royal Canadian Navy Monument in Ottawa (Richmond Landing) at 3:00 PM on May 3rd. Terry, accompanied by the Stadacona Band, will ...Read more
- Kelly takes “A Pittance of Time” to Washington, DCHALIFAX, NS This November 11th, Terry Kelly is personally taking “A Pittance of Time” to Washington, DC to bring an additional level of reverence to the Canadian Embassy’s Remembrance Day ceremonies. Terry Kelly’s “A Pittance of Time” song has been played by every radio format, including talk radio! The video has been presented on TV news programs, ...Read more
- Terry Kelly on the ‘gift’ of blindness‘My responsibility is to help other people, adults and young people, come to discover the gifts they don’t know they have’ By Bill Carr Terry Kelly has been a friend of mine for a number of years. He has always startled me with his unbridled enthusiasm for life and laughter and song; coupled with a true ...Read more
- A mere two minutes for our war veterans. It’s so little for so muchby ROY MacGREGOR The Globe and Mail He just got out of bed on the wrong side of the world. He is jetlagged and tired, but still he wants to talk about his great dream. Terry Kelly sees the entire country – all of Canada – coming to a complete stop. Cars pulling over on the highways, elevators ...Read more
- Song Honours People Touched by CancerHalifax, N.S. Singer / songwriter Terry Kelly, in partnership with Cancer Care Nova Scotia, launched today, Celebrate Life, an original song written and performed by Terry Kelly, to honour and recognize those whose lives have been affected by cancer. The themes Terry explores in Celebrate Life are in keeping with his own thinking. “I am grateful for ...Read more
- Terry Kelly Receives 2005 CCMA Humanitarian AwardFor Immediate Release: Halifax, NS Last night in Calgary, Alberta, the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) presented Terry Kelly with the 2005 CCMA Humanitarian Award during their Industry Awards Gala. This award is voted on by the Board of Directors of the CCMA and is presented to a person(s) and/or event(s) that have made an outstanding contribution ...Read more
- Between the linesBy Clare-Marie Gosse The Independent Musical drama based on First World War letters sent from soldiers to women they left behind Writers Sandy Mackay and John Meir used research and material from hundreds of real-life letters written during the First World War to build the script for Two Minutes of Silence – A Pittance of Time, inspired by ...Read more
- Kelly’s Pittance of Time Moving Musical TheatreBy Andrea Nemetz, Entertainment Reporter The Chronicle Herald Those who didn’t find their eyes wet with tears – or at least misty – at the end of “Two Minutes of Silence: A Pittance of Time” at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium on Tuesday night are likely made of stone. The musical-theatrical production, which features music by singer-songwriter Terry Kelly ...Read more
- 2003 East Coast Music Awards (ECMA)At the 2003 East Coast Music Awards in Halifax, Nova Scotia Terry received his seventh ECMA award – Roots Traditional Solo Artist of the Year. During the ECMA Industry Awards Brunch, Tony Kelly (Terry’s brother, manager and business partner) was awarded Industry Builder of the Year.Read more
- Governor General Announces New Appointments to the Order of Canada“Ottawa – Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, today announced 100 new appointments to the Order of Canada and six promotions within the Order….” Among the appointments is Newfoundland native (Nova Scotia resident) Terry Kelly. The following citation was written by the Governor General’s Office and is posted on her website ( ...Read more