By Alyssa Bennett
Many people are told to ‘Follow your dreams’ or ‘reach for the stars’, but very seldom actually achieve the one thing that they dream about mostly. However, for this lucky senior, her dreams are starting to become a reality. Many of you have heard the name Hayley Vervalin. Whether she is a good friend or just someone you’ve heard about in passing, she is a force to be reckoned with. On top of her numerous achievements in the world of performing arts, she has recently been accepted to one of the most prestigious performing arts school in the world, The Royal Conservatory of Scotland. Many stars have graduated from that school. This is Hayley’s story.
Hayley Vervalin is an eighteen year old senior from Corning City, New York. While other kids her age were learning the basics of life, Hayley was out showing the world her talents. At the age of two, she was performing in dance recitals, showcases and pageants. In a recent interview Hayley states, “It was then that I realized that I like the singing and acting portion of musical theater, so my mom started putting me in every musical theater related event that she could find!”
She realized then that she had found her passion. “The first musical I ever did was a production of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ when I was six years old. The director later told me that I was so hard to place that they ended up writing in a part for me, I played Glinda’s daughter, a character who never existed until this production.”
It was all up hill from there though. As time went on, directors and Hayley alike started to see her true talents. She recently was fortunate enough to be apart of the process of creating a show, from the ground up. The result, the world premier of the musical ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’ has been Hayley’s favorite show that she has done to this day.
“Since I was fortunate enough to participate, I was able to experience taking a role, and developing it into a brand new character all my own.”
However, if she had to choose a favorite character she would choose Natalie Haller from the musical ‘All Shook Up.’ For more than half the show, she was disguised as a man, which she says has helped her talents grow as an artist.
“The thing I love most about theater is you get the opportunity to be someone (even if for just two hours) you possibly will never be.”
The Royal Conservatory of Scotland is a very prestigious music school that has provided the world with excellent performers since 1847. Before it was called The Royal Conservatory of Scotland, it was formally known as The Glasgow Athenaeum. The Athenaeum was established to ‘provide a source of mental cultivation, moral improvement and delightful recreation to all classes.’ When the school first opened in 1847 it was solely a musical school, the dramatic arts were not introduced into the curriculum until 1886. In 1944, the school went through a transformation to the Scottish National Academy of Music. The title of Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama was approved in 1968, which reflected the happy union of music and drama in a single Academy, dedicated to excellence across the spectrum of the performing arts. Most alumni from this school have proved to be very successful, some very well-known alumni include; Emun Elliot (he played Chance in the new film Prometheus and Maroillin in The Game of Thrones), and Patrick Doyle ( he was the film composer for the hit film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire).
“What drew me to the school in Scotland was their reputation. I knew if I wanted to go to school, I wanted to be taught valid and beneficial information.”
However, being accepted isn’t as easy as just filling out an application and writing an essay. She traveled to Chicago to endure a rigorous audition consisting of singing, dancing, and acting. After being held for what should have been a five to seven minuet audition, she was asked to stay to be interviewed for forty minuets. After learning of her acceptance, she is happy to announce that she will be taking the offer and will be enrolling in the fall semester. She will be studying to get her BA in musical theater, and plans to work straight out of school.
“If I had one piece of advice to offer people it would be this, Stick to it! So many people are going to try to tell you that you can’t do it, but that makes proving them wrong even better! Be determined.”