KENNESAW, Ga. | Apr 8, 2022
While crisscrossing the nation with a stage company of the hit musical “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations,” Kennesaw State University graduate Chani Maisonet still made time to visit one of her College of the Arts mentors.
More than just catching up with associate professor of voice Jana Young, Maisonet picked up a quick vocal lesson, too. She said there’s always something to learn, no matter how far along on one’s career journey.
“The things my instructors taught me at Kennesaw State – the knowledge of vocal performance, the repertoire, how to stand properly, what to correct in my voice – still ring in my ears years later,” Maisonet said. “The teachers really care about wanting you to succeed, and they set you up for that success.”
A 2014 graduate of Kennesaw State’s vocal performance program, Maisonet came through Atlanta recently with a touring production of Tony Award Winner “Ain’t Too Proud,” which had a six-night run at the Fox Theatre. The show surveys the six-decade life of the legendary Motown group The Temptations and those closest to them, and Maisonet works as a swing – a performer who can fill multiple roles as needed. She said she acquired the tools necessary to succeed in professional theater during four rigorous years at Kennesaw State.
“I didn't know how much it meant until I started performing professionally and realized Kennesaw State so thoroughly prepared me to stand on my own as a performing artist,” she said. “I can stand confidently in audition rooms and onstage thanks to my education and training.”
Before landing at KSU from Rome, Georgia, Maisonet said she can’t remember a time when she wasn’t singing or performing. Whether it was singing girl-band songs informally with her sisters or performing in church choirs with her mother, Maisonet set her life path from a young age.
Young said she noticed rare ability and poise when Maisonet arrived on campus. She said Maisonet had the magnetism of a born performer with a strong voice honed in resonant church sanctuaries and anywhere else an audience would listen.
“You could tell there was something different about her,” Young said. “She conducted herself as a professional from Day One, with impressive focus, discipline and work ethic. I’m not at all surprised that she has achieved so much at such a young age. And she’s not done, either.”
Maisonet still has her sights set on Broadway and beyond. For now, she’ll enjoy the ride with “Ain’t Too Proud,” while drawing on what she learned during four years in the Bailey School of Music.
“My experience at Kennesaw State has been so impactful on my journey so far,” Maisonet said. “I'm literally living my dream right now thanks to graduating from Kennesaw State.”
— Dave Shelles
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.