Daniel Kelly II ’18 chose to attend Shenandoah University because his high school band director. He told Kelly that he was sleeping on his talent and that he couldn’t bear to see him not shine in his field, so he suggested that he audition for the Shenandoah Conservatory.
“[Shenandoah University] is a life-changing experience that everyone should receive,” said Kelly. “It will have you learning more about yourself and what you are truly capable of. Shenandoah will give you skills to shine bright like the stars in every endeavor that you set your heart on.”
Kelly is the founder and owner of M.E. Opus. M.E. Opus is a music and entertainment company that acts as a holdings company for many music and entertainment ventures such as The Flat 9 Jazz Club and most recently, the Drum Orpheum Rehearsal Hall. Kelly is responsible for overseeing the future operations of each venture and forming inventive ways to elevate the company as a whole.
Outside of his career, Kelly is a board member for the City of Winchester Old Town Advancement Commission, the City of Winchester Economic Development Authority Arts and Entertainment Committee and the Berkeley County Roundhouse Authority.
Before creating M.E. Opus, Kelly held multiple other positions, including being a member for the United States Army, a member of the Virginia Army National Guard 29th Infantry Division Band, a house drummer for Princess Cruise Lines, the head Instructor at Drum Orpheum Rehearsal Hall and the music director for the Off-Broadway show, “Revival.”
Some of the most rewarding parts of Kelly’s career have been winning the 2019 Shure Drum Mastery Competition, as well as when he opened The Flat 9 Jazz Club in 2020 and the Drum Orpheum Rehearsal Hall in 2023.
Kelly believes that his unique education from Shenandoah prepared him for the big stage known as “the world.” The education that he received from the conservatory and university is not an ordinary one. “It is a priceless invitation to make your mark in this world,” said Kelly.
Earning a degree in jazz studies helped push him forward to always remain true to his creative talent and to push his music further so that it touches more audiences. One example of how he has used his Shenandoah education in his career is when he had to form his own sound team for various city-funded projects. He remembered the skills and tricks that he had learned from some of the conservatory’s music production recording technology classes and used them to ensure that the events ran smoothly.
Kelly’s advice to students is: “The world needs more of you to shine true. The world stage is looking for talent that will have audience members on the edge of their seats, not a talent that has no life to it. If you actually be yourself, you will see that the world will take notice of you.”