Singing in a New Key

Hayley Park '16.


When Hayley Park first came to the University of San Diego four years ago, she immediately joined two campus groups: the math and computer sciences department and the Choral Scholars, a high-caliber group of music vocalists. Even though they are very different — with one focused on hard science application and the other dedicated to vocals — both had one very special commonality for Hayley during her time at USD. They provided her with a home.

“Choral Scholars was my family at USD. They were my home base — the people really made a difference in my life,” Park explains. “And the people at my job in math and computer sciences have been a constant source of support. They came to every single concert. I’m going to miss them all a lot.”

To Park, USD is more than a college campus — it is a community filled with like-minded friends, generous mentors and life-changing choices.

“When I entered USD as freshman, I already knew what I wanted to study: music with an emphasis in vocal performance. It’s what I always wanted.”

Even though she was confident in her major, Hayley struggled to find the right career path. She knew that she loved singing, but she also wanted to help people. Her two passions, service and music, seemed impossible to connect, but a music therapy class with Music Professor Marianne Pfau changed everything.

“I started volunteering with elderly people and everything just clicked. We sing, we hum, I sing to them, we do whatever they want. There was one woman who had Alzheimer’s and she was very quiet and subdued, but as soon as I started singing, she would come alive.”

After discovering her calling in music therapy, the next step seemed obvious: become a certified music therapist. In the fall of 2016, Hayley will begin working toward a graduate degree in music therapy at Arizona State University.

As she prepares for her next chapter, Hayley can’t help but marvel at how everything has worked out.

“In a lot of ways, singing the national anthem at graduation feels like I’ve come full circle. It’s interesting how everything culminates and comes together at the end. At first I was really sad about graduation. I don’t want to leave, but there comes a point that you realize this was a moment of growth and it’s been wonderful but it’s time to move forward.” — Taylor Milam

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *