Will Hayes returns to Warren to perform

Warren native Will Hayes will be back in his hometown Aug. 1-3, first to perform in the Warren Festival of the Arts at the Library Theatre on Friday, Aug. 1. Hayes, a cellist, and violinist Cody Hiller of Frewsburg, N.Y., will perform “Passacaglia” by Handel-Halvorsen at the festival.

Hayes, who now lives in Albany, N.Y., and Hiller also will perform famous duo works by Martinu, Handel, Bach and Gliere at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2, at First Baptist Church, 71 Congress St., Bradford, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 3, at First Lutheran Church, 109 W. Third Ave., Warren.

Their program will feature a broad spectrum, from the deep, introspective to sheer virtuosity. Joining the duo in Warren will be local artists from the Warren Arts League with a brilliant display of original, visual works. Hiller and Hayes look forward to performing for audiences in both locales and bringing local talent to the spotlight. Admission is free (donations are appreciated), and doors will open an hour early for the art display on Aug. 3.

Hiller is “an amazing up and coming violinist who has performed before in Warren on numerous occasions, including on the Warren Festival of the Arts two years ago,” Hayes said. He is finishing his senior year in college at Baldwin Wallace, and was recently participating in a chamber music festival in Burlington, Vermont, at the University of Vermont, at which he and Hayes have rehearsed for their upcoming performances.

Hayes is the son of Rosalind Hupp (festival coordinator for 34 years) and the late Bill Hayes.

“My Mom is an amazing lady who has made all the difference in my life,” Hayes said, “including into my adulthood. Hupp is a former Metropolitan Opera mezzo soprano who settled in Warren to take a job, more suitable for providing for and raising two twins on her own, at United Refining Company. She still lives in Warren, and actively sings and teaches private voice lessons. Hupp retired from URC and no longer teaches at Allegheny College in Meadville where she was on the adjunct voice faculty for many years.

“My Dad was a Marine and entrepreneur,” Hayes added, “who moved to be near us after his divorce from my Mom and founded B & K Transit Co., responsible for school bus runs and the municipal transit authority contract for a time. He was also an inspiration.”

Hayes, a 1986 graduate of Warren Area High School, learned cello from Arlene Conn at Irvinedale Elementary School, then for many years by Eleanor Sandblade, and was passed along to her teacher, Dr. Lou Richardson, at SUNY Fredonia, N.Y., during his high school years.

“I was greatly impacted as well by all my music teachers through the entire vertical program, up through Irvinedale Elementary School, South Street Elementary School, Beaty Junior High School and Warren Area High School.”

Hayes has been a perennial artist on the Warren Festival of the Arts, has performed in Warren Players productions, and performing up to PA All-State Orchestra and Chorus levels during high school. He also was afforded the opportunity in 1986 to solo on cello with the then Warren Civic Orchestra, now known as the Warren Philharmonic, under the direction of Dan Harpster.

“I went on to pursue my bachelor’s degree in music at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music,” Hayes added, “and have performed with orchestras across the country. I have performed live in concert with rock legend Rod Stewart on his Venues tour in the 90s as well as more recently in several years’ concerts with Eileen Ivers, fiddler of Riverdance fame, in Troy, N.Y. I am now a full-time freelance cellist and high baritone singer.”

For more on Hayes, visit his website at www.willthecellist.com.

Hayes is happy to return to Warren.

“I feel wonderful returning to my roots to entertain people, and to give back to my former community,” he said.

Hayes and Hiller are planning a fundraising event for next spring through the Philomel Club to help fund scholarships for students of music. He benefitted from Philomel scholarships, and he wants to give back.

Hayes is excited to collaborate with a talent the proportions of violinist virtuoso Cody Hiller, he said. They also are working on programs for events in other parts of the country, including New York Pennsylvania and Ohio, next season.

“We hope people will come out and enjoy our performances as we deliver a unique program of famous duets by Martinu, Gliere, Handel-Halvorsen and Bach,” Hayes urged. The Handel-Halvorsen Passacaglia will be presented at Warren Festival of the Arts Friday, Aug. 1.