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  • Shannon VanZegeren

Women Who Inspire: Anna Connelly

As I sit here writing during the last weekend of August, I figure it’s about time to officially wrap up the blog series I launched for the month of March. I guess what I've learned, as I’ve navigated running my website, uploading social media content, and creating new music, is that it all takes time. And with that comes the lesson that it is better to take a little longer to meet your goals than give up altogether. I appreciate your patience on this venture of mine as it’s important for me to learn how to do things right and professionally, not rushed and sloppy. Thank you for caring, supporting, and reading. To us artists, you have absolutely no idea what a profound impact your slightest interest has in building up the confidence to share what we so passionately sense God is calling us to create.


That said, I suppose I’ve waited to write this particular “Women Who Inspire” blog because it is both the hardest to write, but without a doubt, the most meaningful person to my musical “career.” My sister, Anna Connelly.


Many of you have followed my sister’s creative endeavors, but if you haven’t or you need a refresher, let me brag on her a little bit. My sister is a violinist, pianist, composer, playwright, director, producer, writer, blogger, and artist. Her most recent and biggest project as been the writing, recording, and release of Kingdom*, an oratorio in three parts. I’ve had the great pleasure of watching this project unfold from the beginning. What started with plunking out piano notes to find melodies, made way to performances featuring three principals and a piano, to the recording studio, to a live performance featuring chorus, orchestra, and soloists.


My sister has always been my number one role model. Five years older than me, I always wanted to be exactly like her. And from a very young age, we began creating together.

What in our minds were full-scale productions, the shows we put on in our living room ranged from our own version of classic fairy tales such as Hansel & Gretel or Rumpelstiltskin, to musical holiday pageants featuring the Point of Grace Christmas album. No matter what show we were putting on, it was carefully planned out, choreographed, and rehearsed. It was Anna that took “charge” and directed me (and sometimes my brother, too) to help us tell a story and tell it well. She was always the brains behind the production.


But ultimately what all this led to was the idea of creating. We had to rely on each other to pull our performances off because neither of us could do it on our own. While we’ve grown up a little bit since then, the truth of the matter is that not much has changed. We still create, discuss, and collaborate. As both Anna and I have refined our gifts and our callings, we make the perfect pair. As a writer, Anna beautifully crafts lyrics and melodies that bring forth truths from the Scriptures, and as a vocalist, I lend a voice to these songs and try to share them with as many people as possible.


For us, that’s what music is all about, being able to come together and lean in on one another to produce our art, and ultimately share that with others. We feed off one another and work cohesively together. That sense of unity allows us to, as a team, deliver music that is new, original, and usually never heard by those listening. It makes for a unique experience for both listener and performer.


We are both very compelled and passionate about what we do and both feel very deeply it’s what God has called us to do, using our abilities to artfully reflect who God is. Anna is the one who has helped me understand that. She writes, guides, and directs as a duo, but she also has helped me see and understand the meaningful purpose behind “creating” and pursuing that to its fullest extent for the sake of being the artist and singer God created me to be.


If you'd like to listen to some of the music Anna and I have created together, I encourage you to listen to Zephaniah's Song and Messenger, both streaming on my website.


*Kingdom is available on Audio CD, for digital download on iTunes, or streaming on Spotify.

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