Playing Through Pain

by Public Relations

Amy Nichole Felt ’94 started playing piano when she was 9 years old. Piano was a focal point of her school experience, so it was only natural to pursue a college with a strong music program. That’s where Cedarville came in.

While at Cedarville, she majored in piano performance with a minor in pedagogy, practicing five to six hours a day. “I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel,” she said. “I was forced to drop out of a number of competitions, but I thankfully completed my course of study as planned, including my senior recital.”

In 2001, her father battled a rare form of brain cancer and eventually was taken home to be with the Lord. Felt spent that year traveling from Columbus to Pittsburgh to assist with her father’s medical needs, in addition to caring for her own young children. After her father passed away, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

“My body took a beating,” she said. “The RA was brought on by massive amounts of stress - emotional, physical and spiritual.”

Charles Clevenger, D.M.A. was one of her favorite professors. “RA is supposed to be the end of your music career,” he said. “But I have it, too, and I’m still a concert pianist. She saw me dealing with it and I was able to mentor her.”

Felt returned to Cedarville to take a few master level classes from Clevenger. “Watching him perform professionally gave me hope,” she said. “He taught me a better technique to ensure that I could continue to play through the RA for years to come.”

Felt has learned to play through the pain. She even released her first CD recently, titled “Reminiscence.” It is a collection of original solo piano hymn arrangements. “It was more work than I anticipated, but an exciting dream come true!” she said. “The hymns selected for this project have personal stories and deep meaning to me and my family. It was beautiful to see God place each song in its unique musical setting.”

“Dealing with something that is supposed to stop you is a bigger thing than music,” said Clevenger. “It can make you tough, or it can make you sweeter, more Christlike. It made Amy more Christlike.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University attracts 3,200 undergraduate, graduate, and online students to more than 100 areas of study. Cedarville is a Christ-centered learning community recognized nationally for rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. Visit the University online at