Three generations of a Sylvania family share love of musical theater

Although not quite the Von Trapps, the Hayes clan of Sylvania definitely brings a family vibe to the hobby they share—musical theater.

With three generations currently participating in the St. Ursula Academy musical, “Phantom of the Opera,” opening Jan. 26, grandfather William, dad Bill, and kids Chris and Laura make the massive production a family affair.

In this show, Bill Hayes is the music director, conducting the pit orchestra, which includes his dad William Hayes. His daughter and son, Laura and Chris Hayes perform on stage, a change from their usual roles as musicians. Laura, a freshman at St. Ursula Academy, plays the flute and piccolo, and Chris, a senior at St. Francis de Sales High School, plays the saxophone. Grandfather William plays guitar and banjo and, according to Bill, “any other instrument that will help fill out the sound when I need him in an orchestra.”

Three generations of the Hayes family, Bill, Laura, Chris, and William, play music together.

Chris and Laura have played in a few of Bill’s pit orchestras for local musical productions, but have lately enjoyed performing onstage. Last year, Bill conducted the orchestra for SUA’s production of “Annie,” with Laura and Chris in the cast and his dad in the orchestra. This year will be the same set-up with “Phantom,” with his kids on stage and his dad in his orchestra. Later this year, Bill Hayes and daughter Laura will play in the pit orchestra while his son Chris performs in the cast of the St. Francis musical.

“It’s great to work together and be able to appreciate a diverse side of my relatives. It’s always fun to tell people that I have numerous members of my family engaged in the same show,” Laura Hayes said
The family’s music connection began decades ago. “My grandpa, both of my uncles, my father, my mother, my brother, and I, have all been in the marching band at St. Francis,” she added, “so we will be forever connected by that experience.”

Bill Hayes, the assistant principal at Hawkins STEMM Academy in the Toledo Public Schools, was a music education major in college and has played numerous instruments in his life, including piano, sax, flute, and clarinet.


“I enjoy every part of the experience, but working with my kids is the best,” Bill said. “Even when Chris and I go off to college, the family will forever be connected by music,” Laura pointed out.

St. Ursula Academy’s production of “Phantom of the Opera” opens on January 26 at the Valentine Theatre.

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