Professors you love

Bryce Hayes

Photo of JMU professor Bryce Hayes

Providing the motivation to excel

By Emily Tait ('15)

Walk by JMU's music building at any given moment of the day and you're bound to hear the resonating notes of a trumpet, the booming sounds of an opera singer, or the faint tinkling of a xylophone. If you should happen to pass by on a Monday or Wednesday between 3:30 and 4:50 p.m., you may even be lucky enough to catch wind of the do re mi's and harmonies of the Treble Chamber Choir, JMU's auditioned all-female choir.

'There are basic building blocks of the Treble Chamber Choir. The most important element for us is our professor and conductor Dr. Bryce Hayes.'

My experience with JMU's elite music program began in the spring semester of my freshman year when I enrolled in the University Women's Chorus. After successfully delving back into one of the things I missed most about high school, I felt compelled to challenge my musical abilities. So, in my sophomore year, I successfully auditioned for the Treble Chamber Choir.

Now as a senior — nope, it still hasn't set in yet — I can definitely say that my three-semester involvement with the Treble Chamber Choir has been a very large part of my Madison Experience. I have pushed myself to learn more musical theory than I ever thought a writing major could, and I have met some of the most talented individuals and created a musical sisterhood.

As with any choir, there are basic building blocks of the Treble Chamber Choir. The most important element for us is our professor and conductor Dr. Bryce Hayes. His qualifications are impeccable, and he is the epitome of a talented professor.

Photo of professor Bryce Hayes and JMU senior Emily Tait
Emily Tait and Dr. Bryce Hayes.

I did not think Dr. Hayes would remember me from semester to semester since I'm not a full-time music student. However, as I have grown more attached to the choir, I understand that Dr. Hayes most definitely knows who I am.

After concerts, Dr. Hayes strolls around the Forbes Center lobby socializing with students and their families. During one of these moments, he approached me and my mom and politely introduced himself to her. He thanked her for coming to support us, but the significance of this moment was that he proceeded to rave to my mom about how he was grateful to have me in the choir. He said that he really enjoys seeing me conquer the challenges of the class. This small gesture from such an auspicious professor was an incredibly meaningful compliment.

That very moment is one of the reasons I am constantly humbled to be a Treble Chamber Choir member. Dr. Hayes always makes an effort to connect with each choir member during rehearsals, outside of the classroom and during concerts. It his goal to make eye contact with each of us during our five- or six-song concert set. His dedication to each member keeps me motivated to give back to him just as much as he gives to the choir.

'His earnest desire for us to excel makes choir members work harder to make him proud.'

After a long day of classes, the last thing most students want to do is stay on campus for a class that doesn't end until 5 p.m. While I too am guilty of occasional grumbles, the majority of the time I'm excited to go to choir. After class, I am usually humming my way back to my car with higher spirits than when I arrived.

Dr. Hayes is pivotal in my desire to stay in the Treble Chamber Choir and music program. His earnest desire for us to excel makes choir members work harder to make him proud. His cheery disposition, abundant musical knowledge and overall presence of positivity make him an instructor and person I admire. Whether he's debating with the choir over Carrie Underwood vs. Julie Andrews' portrayal of Maria Von Trap, or if he's analyzing the lyrics of an Irish folk song to encourage us to a channel certain emotion for a performance, Dr. Hayes is always giving 200 percent. Thank you for everything you do inside and outside the chorus room, Dr. Hayes!

About the author
Madison magazine intern Emily Tait ('15) is a writing, rhetoric and technical communications major and an environmental studies minor. She writes and edits for Her Campus JMU and the undergraduate WRTC journal, Lexia. Beyond acadmics Tait is a UREC lifeguard, a member of the Treble Chamber Choir and JMU's Habitat for Humanity.

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Published: Friday, November 7, 2014

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 26, 2021

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