How has Katy Gentry Hutchings ‘05 succeeded in the competitive professional world of music? “Ten long years of trial and error!” she exclaims.
Start with children who did not seem very interested in learning how to sing; struggle to make a career as a singer and deal with the rejection that comes with it; travel long distances for auditions and gigs...and yet it all adds up to a satisfying career in the musical arts.
She has performed her dream opera and musical theater roles such as Marian in The Music Man, Maria and Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music, Mimi in La Bohème, Countess in The Marriage of Figaro, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, and Micaëla in Carmen. Additionally, she worked with teenagers in the foster care system, created choirs in schools, and even co-founded her own opera company, Poor Richard’s Opera, in Philadelphia in 2010.
After graduating with a degree in music from Haverford, Hutchings spent a year working at the Village of Arts and Humanities as part of her Haverford House Fellowship. During this time she also continued to pursue her singing career and earned a masters in voice performance from Temple University.
Hutchings balanced her time between musical theater and opera performances, but it was not until 2013 that she realized performing was not her real passion. Instead she found herself captivated by the idea of helping people through music, so she is currently pursuing her masters in music therapy and counseling from Drexel University.
“So many Haverford students would make wonderful creative arts therapists,” she says. “It is a wonderful way to be an artist but work with people in a meaningful way at the same time. I still love to perform and will always consider myself a professional singer. But now in my music therapy studies, I have learned how powerful music can be as a therapeutic tool.”
She plans to work therapeutically with children in a school, hospital, or a community setting. Bolstered by her newfound passion, Hutchings is not frazzled by the future’s uncertainty and is looking forward to a new job search.
“Don't be afraid to major in music!” she advises Haverford students. “So few of us actually do and most people feel like they have to double major in something else. But the truth is with a music degree you don't have to be just a professional performer. With a Haverford degree, you are clearly a complex and intelligent person who can think critically about the world around you, and music can be a part of your career in any way you choose.”