Sierra Mountain Music Camp has been lucky enough to have some wonderful talents in the roles of Music Directors. We have award winning directors, many of whom have received national recognition, and have studied among other great talents. In addition to being wonderful directors, these people have inspired many former campers to pursue a lifelong devotion to music, and have kept the flame of music alive in the hearts of hundreds of former campers.
Cherry Hayes: Artistic Director/ Choral Music Director- Senior Girls
Cherry has literally taught music to thousands of young people. She has taught all grade levels, elementary
through high school. Cherry has developed highly successful choral programs, attracting over 15% of the
student body in choir. Her choirs consistently received superior ratings and first place honors at any festival
they attended. They have performed in Carnegie Hall, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Honolulu Gateway Music Festival,
and the Abbotsford International Music Festival. Her groups twice performed aboard a Carnival cruise ship
bound for the Bahamas, each time earning gold medals for superior performances.
Cherry received a Bachelor of Arts degree in classical vocal performance and music education from California
State University, Sacramento, and a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in
the Arts from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Cherry holds a lifetime California teaching
credential and was a public school educator for thirty-seven years before retiring in 2007. Since retirement,
Cherry continues a variety of music activities. She is Director of Music at Calvary Bible Church, which includes
directing the adult choir and leading worship. She teaches voice and piano from her Grass Valley home and also
enjoys judging choral festivals for California Music Educators Association and Music in the Parks.
Cherry has been the recipient of numerous awards including Pleasant Ridge District Teacher of the Year, the May
Martin Goyne Educator of the Arts award, Bear River High School's Teachers Who Make a Difference, California
Music Educators Association Capitol Section Choral Music Educator's Award and has been listed numerous times
in Who's Who Among America's Teachers and Who's Who Among American Women. This is Cherry's 13th year as
a SMMC Music Director. She has directed Junior Boys, Junior Girls, Senior Girls and A Capella. Cherry is excited to
be directing Senior Girls and A Capella for SMMC 2021!
Anne Vaaler: Choral Music Director- Junior Girls
Anne Vaaler is the director of the Colla Voce Children's Chorus, bringing the art and love of choral music to a new
generation of Sierra Foothills singers. She also keeps busy as a Music Director for the Placer Community theater,
recently directing "Marry Poppins" and "Godspell"; and lends her soprano voice to a contemporary church
service and various musical projects. Anne continues as director of Choral Music at Magnolia Intermediate
School, where she has taught since 2002. Magnolia is part of the Pleasant Ridge School District, where Anne
is the choral and classroom music specialist, and directs the popular show choir program, "Starmakers".
Previously, Anne taught at San Francisco's George Washington High School, directing a program of seven choral
ensembles. Anne received her B.A. in music from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa where she was fortunate
enough to sing in the Nordic Choir and work under the direction of choral directors Weston Noble and Craig
Arnold. She continued her studies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and San Francisco State University,
completing her teaching credential in music. Anne is a certified Music Together teacher,and is a member of MENC
and ACDA. She has been awarded the California League of Teachers "Outstanding Educator" award, and was
honored by San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown for her work with George Washington High School. She has served
as director for several Honor Choirs and as a clinician and adjudicator for numerous choirs and solo/ensemble festivals.
Sarah Irvin: Choral Music Director-Boys Choir
Sarah is a hard-working, dedicated musician who is passionate about choral education and loves to share that
enthusiasm with her students. She is especially excited to return to the staff of Sierra Mountain Music Camp,
directing the Junior Boys again. Sarah earned her Bachelor of Music degree in music education from
the University of Nevada, Reno. She currently teaches choral and classroom music at Cold Springs Middle
School in the Washoe County School District in Reno. Sarah interned in the same district in choral and
classroom music programs, grades K - 12, directing both elementary and high school choral ensembles.
Choir has always played a huge part in Sarah's life. Being a choir member since elementary school, she has
been a member of many honor ensembles, served as a soloist and section leader in the UNR University
Chamber Singers, Symphonic choir, and Nevada Chamber Opera.
Sarah's teaching style is one of enthusiasm, passion, and humor. SMMC Director Cherry Hayes says, "I've had
the pleasure of observing Sarah in action. Her love of kids and music is obvious. She engages them from the
moment they enter the classroom and all are eager to participate and meet the goals set for them. Not only do
they produce beautiful music, but they have fun doing it!"