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!"