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Peter Kelly: Two-Time Emmy Winner

Rebecca McDermott
Graduate Assistant, College of Liberal Arts

Soccer star and passionate Philadelphia Eagles fan, Carli Lloyd scans Lincoln Financial Field as she traverses an empty parking lot. Soon one hears crunching cleats on a snow-covered field, a full-stadium roar, deep-chested inhalations of powerful athletes, press-conference buzz, complaints from Monday-morning pundits, an exultant growl, and building, anticipatory music. A calm Carli supplies the video’s punchline: “Now is all we need.” Mount alumnus Peter Kelly, C’16, delivers the sound.

peter-kelly1.jpgKelly, an audio engineer and sound designer for the NFL’s Eagles, recently learned he had received his second Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award—the first for the video featuring Lloyd and the second for his unit’s collective work on a video about Rodney McLeod, the Eagles’ 2020 nominee for the Walter Peyton NFL Man of the Year Award. “The opportunity to express myself in a creative way, where thousands of Eagles’ fans are viewing my work was amazing,” Kelly reflected, “but to then go on and be recognized for my work by the Emmys was a real honor.”

From a young age, Kelly was enthralled by “the immersive feeling that audio and music create.” He was fascinated by Star Wars and Indiana Jones and inspired by how theme music and other sounds contribute to these films.  This passion carried Kelly to Mount St. Mary's, where he double-majored in music and business and found the freedom to tailor both programs toward a career in the entertainment industry.  Faculty members within the music department nurtured and developed Kelly’s talent for composing music. Central to his growth were Associate Professor Mark Carlson, D.M.A., and Professor of Music Andrew Rosenfeld, D.M.A. “During his time at the Mount, Peter had a great relationship with faculty. But it was clear that he inspired us as well,” Rosenfeld remembered.

Carlson and Rosenfeld especially remember Kelly’s drive and ambition even as a first-year student. Kelly stayed productive during the summer months by actively seeking and landing competitive internships.  “I remember he would come back from summer breaks and tell me about these internships and being so impressed,” Rosenfeld stated. These experiences gave Kelly a chance to refine his composing and engineering skills, preparing him for his current role with the Eagles.

The two professors were also impressed by the challenging projects Kelly took on as a Mount student. Carlson recalled how the variety of Kelly’s performances in the Mount’s lab band helped him “develop confidence in his creative decisions and artistic direction.” A particular moment that stood out for Carlson was when Kelly came to him during his junior year with the idea of performing a progressive rock piece by Steven Wilson for his recital that year.  “I remember thinking that he would have to prove it to me that he could do this piece, and he had already worked out another tune in advance,” Carlson recalled. Reflecting on his Mount journey, Kelly emphasized, “The point of higher education is not job training for your future career but rather a place to train yourself to learn efficiently and effectively for years to come.” This is the foundation Kelly laid in the Mount’s business and music programs.

Kelly’s NFL journey began in April 2019.  He produces sound-design assets and custom music for the Eagles Entertainment Team, working with a number of departments on a wide range of projects. “I will work on anything—from podcasts, to sound design, to running the board for game-day shows and press conferences.” A composer as well as an engineer, Kelly wrote the music for “Now is All We Need.”  

While Kelly understands that both of his award-winning projects constitute “a chapter in the story of my progression as a professional in this industry,” he acknowledged that working in sports has many challenges, including an incredible demand to turn projects around quickly. He remembers the stressful lead-up to the Eagles’ playoff game, as he and his team raced to finish “Now is All We Need.” “It was a long week of focusing on this one project just so we could get it out on time, which is also indicative of some of the work I did at Mount St. Mary’s with performing,” he explained. “One thing that stuck with me from my time at the Mount was the idea of active listening. Everything begins with your ears,” he mused. “Instrumentation, sound design and engaging with different sounds have similarities between the videos I work on and my work at the Mount.”

Kelly’s team also overcame adversity to complete the second Emmy-winning video. He described the challenges that COVID-19 presented to the production process, especially since the initial shoot was a surprise for McLeod, who was called into a small studio to do a routine public-service announcement, only to see Eagles owner, Jeffrey Lurie, on the screen telling him he was the team’s nominee as Walter Peyton NFL Man of the Year, the league’s highest service award. Kelly recalled, “In order to pull off this surprise effectively, our team had to get creative and execute multiple production steps perfectly and quickly.” In the end, Kelly was pleased that his team was able to polish the audio and video to meet what he called “award-winning standards.”

Kelly is determined to continue making headlines.  One day, he hopes to fulfill his childhood dream of working for film and television. With his name already attached to two Emmys, his sound no doubt will continue to make waves.

Rebecca McDermott
Graduate Assistant, College of Liberal Arts