It is not every day that students hear that one of their own professors has performed on Broadway. In that case, Kean is lucky to have voice professor Joy Hermalyn. Professor Hermalyn has performed in numerous shows and teaches here at Kean University.
Professor Hermalyn has been working at Kean since 2004. Before becoming a professor, she earned her bachelor's degree at New York University (NYU) after transferring from Rutgers University. While at NYU, Hermalyn double majored in music and French, and minored in acting. She went on to obtain her master's degree from the Mannes College of Music, which is now part of The New School in New York City.
Professor Hermalyn had a love of all things musical starting at a very young age. Partly through her commitment to voice, dance, and acting lessons, she became a professional actor before 10 years of age. Professor Hermalyn later starred in many different shows, including six on Broadway, throughout her career.
Professor Hermalyn currently teaches voice for the Kean Theatre Conservatory in the music department and has a true passion for teaching the craft to students. Her lessons include vocal warm-ups and speaking exercises, some depending on the type of voice a student may have, such as soprano or bass. Professor Hermalyn explained that these exercises are important to practice, otherwise the student will not improve the skills they already possess.
In her classes, Professor Hermalyn teaches more than just voice exercises. She also teaches the importance of vocal health, how to establish self- confidence and many other techniques that her students will benefit from throughout their careers.
"My main goal for teaching students is to help them express themselves through song with a healthy, free vocal technique. Most of the time in this profession, all you have is your own self-esteem, and I try to offer my students ways that will make them resilient in the workforce without hesitation. The main things are to be prepared and practice your craft in some way daily, to make sure you have a hobby or other things you love to do and to keep your confidence level up." said Hermalyn.
Professor Hermalyn is set to star as Grandma Gellman in a revival of the musical "Caroline, or Change," written by Tony Kushner with music by Jeanine Tesori. The show has now been postponed to an unspecified date in the near future. When she first started performing, Hermalyn remembers how nerve-wracking and exciting it was to perform in front of a whole crowd of people. Even with a lot of experience, Professor Hermalyn still gets that same type of thrill whenever she is in a show, knowing that she was destined to pursue a career in this field.
"I remember feeling very much at home, and people referred to me as a stage animal, which means I thrive whenever I am on stage. Other people would wait for job offers while they were going to school, and I just kept doing shows while going to school as well. I just wanted to be on stage doing what I love. There is a path for everybody in this field no matter what they choose," Hermalyn said.
Professor Hermalyn definitely sets the stage for classes by her versatility, presenting the skills she has learned over time on stage and letting her experience guide her passion. She also wants students to expand their networking opportunities, because they may never know who can help them along this career path they are passionate about. All are encouraged to see Hermalyn in the revival of "Caroline, For Change," when the new date is officially announced. This is Professor Joy Hermalyn.