Rev. Dr. Kate McLennan is an award winning author, singer/songwriter, and interfaith minister. Though Kate’s path meandered through a BFA in Theater, an MSSW in Social Work and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Spirituality, her guiding passion is her work as a singer/songwriter in healing settings.
Kate asked Santa Claus for an ‘ukulele when she was five years old. The story goes that she taught herself to read and play ‘ukulele from the same book.
When she grew bigger, she asked for a guitar. It was the sixties—long hair, flowing colorful hippie clothes, and guitars. Kate continued playing guitar for several decades, solo and with the incomparable Ruth Huber.
In the early 2000’s, while still doing chemotherapy for leukemia, Kate asked Santa for another ‘ukulele. Since she was grounded for two and a half years, she fell in love again with the tiny instrument that she could play so effortlessly.
When Kate rose from her ashes, she continued her guitar work and presented a solo album of original music with voice and guitar recounting her cancer journey.
With more health challenges on the horizon, Kate devoted her music to Hospice Austin’s Christopher House singing on a weekly basis. Still a bit shy about her rekindled love of ‘ukulele, she played guitar for the first couple of years.
Then she began to slip an ‘ukulele song or two in the set with the guitar. This avalanched into full voice and ‘ukulele songs and sharing. Soon Kate realized that the gentle sounds of the ‘ukulele were the perfect accompaniment for her hospice work, midwifing souls to the other side with song.
Discovering that anything she can do on guitar she can do on ‘ukulele, and unearthing a treasure chest of songwriting inspiration, she was hooked.
And the love affair continues. Kate’s other passion is songwriting; she is jazzed to be invited to teach “what she most needs to learn” at this festival.
These days you’ll find Kate working with Noel Tardy as Spirit Runners offering messages of hope and love for those affected by cancer and other life challenges through music and story.
Noel attended Texas Woman’s University on a stage band music scholarship and for many years sang with The Women’s Chorus of Dallas and Resounding Harmony.
She developed interest in the ukulele, which is now her instrument of choice! Noel is the founder of the Lone Star Uke Fest and the non-profit Ukes in the Classroom – Texas.
Similar to Kate, Noel had a life changing event a few years ago when she was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic thyroid cancer. While this interrupted her singing for a couple of years, she began focusing on music as healing. She is dedicated to bringing messages of hope and healing to persons with health and life challenges. She is very involved with Kate as part of Spirit Runners and enjoys giving keynote presentations and concerts.