Former Statesboro resident Annelise Kitching will sing “God Bless America” for New York’s Veterans Day Parade Opening Ceremony, next Wednesday at 10 a.m., at Madison Square Park. The opening ceremony is followed by the parade, the largest Veterans Day event in the country.
Kitching is the daughter of Dr. Amy Kitching of Southern Chiropractic and Dr. Ken Kitching of Kitching Chiropractic. She grew up in Statesboro, attended Trinity Christian School and graduated from Statesboro High School, while joint-enrolled at Georgia Southern University. Kitching participated in the Statesboro Youth Chorale and theater events at the Averitt Center.
Landing the lead role in “On Dragonfly Wings” at GSU’s Black Box Theater while in the tenth grade led to Kitching’s interest in musical theater. She attended Shorter University for two years, took part in a summer conservatory at Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York, graduated from Lipscomb University in Nashville and studied abroad in London, Paris and Edinburgh.
Kitching said the time spent in New York for the summer conservatory convinced her she would move to New York eventually to pursue a performance career. At the end of her study abroad, she contacted a former professor from Lipscomb, who resided in New York with his wife, but taught at Lipscomb during the school year.
After that connection, Kitching’s relocation to New York turned into a whirlwind event.
“I made arrangements to reside with the couple, and my professor said to email his wife about helping me find a job,” Annelise said.
“I emailed her on a Thursday evening around seven,” she said. “By ten, she’d emailed me back about a possibility. I did a phone interview on Friday and got the job. I finished packing on Saturday, drove to Statesboro on Sunday, flew from Savannah to New York on Monday and started working on Tuesday.”
And so began her fast-paced life in New York. Kitching worked as a personal assistant at Lyric Theater with the show “On the Town” from September 2014 until September 2015 when it closed.
All during that time, Kitching was auditioning for acting and singing parts regularly. Her two biggest roles so far, she said, have been her work with “Pinwheel! A New Musical,” a musical adaptation from an older play, and a role as an extra in the upcoming film, “Indignation.”
But just like the majority of artists in New York, there’s much more on her resume. Kitching works for a temp agency, does some catering, and works for Petal by Pedal, where she often arranges flowers and makes deliveries by bicycle.
“New York is so urban; it’s just such a gift to work with nature,” Kitching said of her floral job. “It’s very therapeutic.”
And there’s still more. About 20 hours a week, Kitching works from home for two New York businesses: “Be a Hero-Hire a Hero,” a company that helps veterans transition to civilian life and find employment and “Hire Disability Solutions,” a company that connects disabled people with jobs in New York City.
“I call it my ‘patchwork life,’” she said. “It’s an artist’s journey – auditioning, working, temping, getting connected with other artists in the city, fitting in a personal life and time at church.
“You have to figure out what works for you, and as long as you still find your joy, it’s all good.”
Along with singing God Bless America for the Veterans Day Parade opening ceremony, Kitching will sing the National Anthem at a Women’s Veteran Luncheon the following Sunday.
The two singing jobs are made even more special by the fact that Kitching’s grandfather, Roy Ottinger is a World War II veteran, and his father, Kitching’s great-grandfather Albert Ottinger, was a World War I veteran.