Meet Keanon Kyles, the maintenance worker who moonlights as an international opera singer.

"La Bohème" is the popular opera that inspired the Broadway musical "Rent."

It's an awesome show about artists and dreamers who, despite their noble and lofty aspirations to bring beauty into the world, still struggle to make ends meet. They're rich in passion and their love for life — but unfortunately, that creative zeal doesn't pay the rent or the other bills they rack up.

It's the classic "starving artist" trope.


But the characters in these stories could have saved themselves a lot of trouble if they'd just followed in the footsteps of another great melodious master: Keanon Kyles.

All photos via ABC7 News.

Who is Keanon Kyles? He's a janitor at ABC7's studios in Chicago. And he's also Colline in an upcoming Scottish opera production of "La Bohème."

"I am the only American chosen for the opera," he told ABC News. "Everyone else is from overseas, so I go there feeling as if I'm representing a nation."

This isn't the first time Kyles' tremendous voice has carried him overseas either.

Kyles grew up on Chicago's South Side, and he started singing seriously when he was just 8 years old.

He definitely got more than a little flak for being the rare young black guy who's really into opera. But he never let the ribbing bring him down and ended up earning a degree in classical voice performance from Columbia College.

In 2015, he flew to Italy to perform at the Trentino Music Festival, and he's also appeared on professional stages all across Chicago.

And yeah, he's also a janitor. But that's not even his only job.

Between his work at ABC7, his vocal coaching classes, and his job at a department store, Kyles often works up to 90 hours a week.

That doesn't even include the time he spends rehearsing. But he says that's just the cost of creating great art to give to the world. (Plus the night shifts give him lots of quiet time to practice while he works.)

"It's a lot of sleepless nights and a lot of long days," he said in an interview with ABC News. "But it all pays off with the music because you get to do what you love: music."


As the characters in "La Bohème" demonstrate, sometimes art doesn't pay the bills.

When Kyles returns from his memorable Scottish excursion at the end of the summer, he's planning to go right back to his maintenance work at ABC7.

He's living proof that success isn't just a one-off deal. Often there's no real payoff without a little perseverance and a lot of hard work.

Money helps us feed ourselves, which is certainly important. But money doesn't feed our souls, and often our art matters just as much.

And that's why Kyles is an awesome example for us all.

Here's a video of Kyles performing in Italy last year. Break a leg in Scotland, Keanon!

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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