Alumni Corner: Kyla McCarrel
October 26, 2022
This month, we caught up with LACC alumna Kyla McCarrel who sang for two years in Intermediate Choir from 2004 – 2006 and is now a vocal coach with LACC. Kyla has devoted her adult life to performing and teaching music. Read more about her musical journey from a young singer in LACC to a teacher of young singers in LACC below!
What Years Were You In LACC?
In Which Choirs Did You Participate?
Do you have any fond memories of song in your early life?
I have been singing since about the time I could talk! It’s been a driving force in my life from early childhood.
How did you first get involved with LACC?
I grew up in Pasadena, and also sang at All Saints Episcopal Church, under the direction of Stephanie Naifeh, who was the Apprentice choir director at LACC at the time. I also worked with Twyla Meyer at All Saints and it was at her recommendation that I audition for LACC!
What is a favorite memory, tour, or concert experience with LACC?
I was very lucky to be able to participate in many special events during my tenure at LACC . I had a great time on tour—I was able to travel to Portland, Oregon with Intermediate Choir. I also had the opportunity to perform in Carmina Burana and in the chorus of Tosca at the Hollywood Bowl. And, a few years after I left LACC was invited back as an alumna to participate in a performance of Mahler’s 8th Symphony, also at the Hollywood Bowl!
How did LACC help prepare you for your current career with Teaching Singing?
I have always loved choral music and being exposed to such talented and compassionate music educators and conductors was really impactful. Also being able to be part of the professional choral and operatic worlds of Los Angeles at such a young age really inspired me to pursue a career in music – both as a performer and conductor and educator myself!
Are You Still Singing? What Else Are You Up to Now?
Yes, I am still singing! I received my Master of Music in Opera Performance in 2017 at Arizona State University, and perform when and where I can, including serving as the soprano soloist and section leader at All Saints Church, Pasadena. I also maintain a private voice studio, and am on the voice faculty at Chapman University, where I have also taught classes in acting for singers, musical theatre and served as the director of the University Treble Coir for four years.
Do you have any advice for current LACC choristers?
Enjoy every minute of your time in LACC! The people you will have the chance to meet and work with through this organization are the very best of the best, (both conductors and fellow choristers) and you never know how your time in LACC may come back to help you. I mean, I never thought I’d be so lucky to join the amazing staff of this organization, and yet, here I am!!
What’s your favorite song?
I can never answer this question! I just love all sorts of music. I think right now, I’m most excited for the new Taylor Swift album, Midnights, and also the new cast recording of Into the Woods. But ask me tomorrow and the answer will be different!
How has your experience as a performer prepared you for where you are now?
I’m so lucky that I have been able to make performing and teaching my career, and the experience of being able to work with industry professionals at such a young age gave me excellent tools for how to navigate this world as a professional myself.
What does LACC mean to you?
LACC means family. I was only able to participate as a chorister for 2 years because my family moved out of Pasadena and the commute was just too much. But every time I’ve been able to come back – whether that be for an alumni performance such as Mahler 8 or to observe for a Master Class in college, and now to be on staff as a vocal coach, I have been welcomed with such love and joy. It means the world be able to come back after all these years.