Current and previous students of James Kuykendall are coming together for a concert Saturday to benefit the Northeast Alabama Community College vocal director, who was recently diagnosed with cancer.
Kuykendall visited his doctor back in March because he was experiencing chest pains. After numerous trips to different doctors, they diagnosed him with type 2 diabetes and he had gallstones.
When removing Kuykendall’s liver, the surgeon noticed a spot on his liver. The surgeon performed a biopsy and about a week later told Kuykendall he had cancer.
The tumor on Kuykendall’s liver is a neuroendocrine carcinoma which metastasized from some other point.
After he met with UAB Hospital surgical oncologist, the report was favorable. The primary tumor has dissolved on its own, and Kuykendall’s liver is operable.
The surgeon believes he can take out ¼ of Kuykendall’s liver and excise the tumor.
This surgery is scheduled for Aug. 2.
To help pay for medical bills and treatment, current and former students of Kuykendall are hosting a concert.
Sarah Mayhew, who learned voice and piano from Kuykendall for about 13 years, is organizing the event.
“This money that we’re trying to raise will mostly go towards the medical bills for that, the recovery from that and then the follow-up treatment from the surgery,” she said.
The event is Saturday, July 28 beginning at 6 p.m. It will be held at Randall’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Scottsboro.
Attendance is free, but they will sell t-shirts, bracelets, magnets and stickers, and they will accept donations.
Mayhew said their goal is to raise $5,000.
The entertainment will be musical theater pieces, Mayhew said.
“Some will be comedic, some will be dramatic, but they are all from various musicals or musical theater style,” she said.
Those performing have either worked with Kuykendall as private students or participated in musicals of which he was the vocal director.
Performers include Kayleigh Smith, Georgia Williams, Mark Webb, John Mark McGullion, Claudia Barron, Katelin Klepper Reynolds, Connor White, Emily Adams, Anna Giovingo, Mürron Marchik, Corbin Parker, Holly Elmore, Bonnie Pittman, Gavin Cleckler, Jake Harris, Lauren Cantrell, Jared Cushen, Braxton Harris and Mayhew.