Alumni Corner: Lauren Hay

七月 28, 2023

This month we’re catching up with Lauren Dorsey Hay (’97), who sang with LACC from 1987-1993, finishing as a member of Concert Choir (fun fact, for part of this time, Concert Choir was LACC’s only choir. Apprentice Choir was created while Lauren was singing with Concert Choir). These days, Lauren lives in San Diego, where she works as a biotech consultant.



My dad sang lullabies to me as a baby, as I was a terrible sleeper!



I was in LACC during the very earliest days, when we were invited by Rebecca Thompson—mostly students she knew at Poly from music class and children at Pasadena Presbyterian Church.



My best memory was touring Europe, which was LACC’s first European tour in 1992, and I am still friends today with the choristers from that tour. We visited Germany, Austria, and Hungary, which was a very dynamic time to be in Europe, Hungary in particular. It was a different era…people smoked everywhere – on the airplane, in restaurants, and in museums. On the airplane, there were no individual screens for each seat, and this was well before iPads, let alone portable DVD players! They had a few TVs mounted from the plane ceiling for the passengers to collectively watch. I vividly recall when an intensely romantic scene came on the TVs, and Mrs. Thompson jumped up from her seat and screamed “Children, avert your eyes!” Visiting the Vienna Boys Choir summer camp was an especially memorable experience. (Pictured above: a photo of me with Nikhi Korula, Akina Adderly, and Chris Ward in front of the Nymphenburg Palace in Munich with our LACC letters and hats.)

Other standout memories include singing at Rod Stewart and Rachel Hunter’s wedding, performing for Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (who told us “Your red sweater vests look so smart around the holidays!”), performing for Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman at a benefit event at the Dorothy Chandler, being a cast member in the LA Opera’s Hansel and Gretel (and then later interning at the Opera’s press office!), and recording a movie soundtrack at a studio for a Christopher Reeve movie called Mortal Sins.


How did LACC help prepare you for your current career with Biotech Consulting?

I own a consulting practice in the biotechnology industry, and I advise companies on drug development and commercialization strategy, as well as advising investors in the biotech field. LACC taught me the importance of careful planning and preparation to achieve excellence, the value of performing to exceed expectations, and the confidence to present in front of large audiences.


Are You Still Singing? What Else Are You Up to Now? 

I didn’t continue in music after LACC, but my vocal genes were passed down to the next generation, and my son Blake is in third grade and a member of the San Diego Children’s Chorus (SDCC). Like LACC, SDCC brings together a diverse group of children who have a passion for music and helps them gain confidence and maturity, and the choir helps the kids to develop discipline and professionalism at a very early age. Under the artistic direction of Ruthie Millgard and a team of extremely talented and caring musicians, Blake has thrived and discovered a love of music. Last year Blake was thrilled to perform the national anthem at the Padres game, and this year he was selected to perform in Tosca, with the San Diego Opera. I was in the cast of Hansel and Gretel with the LA Opera while in LACC, so it has been particularly rewarding for me to watch Blake have this same enriching experience. As a parent and SDCC community member, I have been incredibly impressed with the choristers’ ability to navigate long evening rehearsals, lots of driving, challenging Italian music, and carefully developed COVID mitigation protocols. It’s been a big highlight for our family this year!  



 I think my advice would be to parents of choristers— as a choir parent myself, I know it is a big commitment not only for the child, but for the whole family. My advice is to be patient and stick with the long rehearsals and driving— because the skills and experiences your child is getting in choir will have lifelong impact, regardless of how long your child continues to pursue music.



In LACC, my most memorable songs were “Siyahamba,” “Goin’ Up a Yonder,” and “Hymn to Freedom.” These days my current favorite is the Hamilton soundtrack. I think Lin Manuel is the artistic genius of our generation, and I love the way that Hamilton has both enabled us to re-examine our history and what it means to be American, while also exploring timeless themes of ambition, loyalty, the constant tension between career and family, and standing up for your beliefs. The powerful and complex lyrics, brilliant melodies, and memorable vocals really set Hamilton apart.


How has your experience as a performer prepared you for where you are now? 

As a parent of a chorister, I understand what the expectations are for my son, Blake, and I appreciate the maturity, professionalism, and excellence he is expected to bring to each rehearsal and performance. Because of this, I am particularly focused on ensuring he is well rested and well fed before his SDCC activities, and I work to manage our family’s schedule to ensure we plan for traffic and he always arrives before call time. This has been particularly important given the demanding schedule for Tosca—making sure that on off days, Blake has lots of down time to recover, even though that means turning down other fun opportunities.



There are three main things that stand out to me from my experience being in LACC. The first is that I was incredibly fortunate to have the ability to learn to appreciate excellence in music at such an early age. Since being back at live performances following COVID shutdowns, I have been reminded of how powerful music is in our lives. Secondly, I learned about the importance of careful preparation, attention to detail, and professionalism—lessons which benefited me tremendously in college and as an adult. Finally, I treasure the friendships I developed in LACC and love seeing what my friends are up to both professionally and personally.