The Shenandoah story of Todd Hayen, Ph.D., ’77, is unique in more ways than one.
He has a familial connection to the conservatory like few others. More commonly, he met his late wife here, like generations of Shenandoah sweethearts. After earning a Bachelor of Music in Music Composition at Shenandoah and studying music further, he built a strong, 30-year-long career composing for movies and television. But then, life required a pivot. His wife passed away after battling cancer, and he changed course, deciding to study spirituality and psychology. Today, Hayen is a psychotherapist, living in Ontario, Canada. This Q&A reveals his travels, from here to there.
What brought you to Shenandoah?
I decided rather late in life to pursue music, but when I did, it was a passion I could not ignore. I enrolled in a program Shenandoah was then offering (in 1972) called “Advanced Placement.” It was a summer program between my junior and senior year of high school. If a person enrolled did well, you were automatically accepted into a bachelor’s program in music. Although I was a lousy high school student, I aced all the music courses in the program and was quite excited to get in. My passion was composition, but at the time, there really wasn’t a composition program per se. One was finally developed once [Professor Emeritus, Composition and Musical Theatre; Producing Artistic Director, Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre] Tom Albert and [Professor Emeritus of Composition] Will Averitt came on board (my sophomore year). I loved everything about Shenandoah. My late stepfather [Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Theatre and Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre (SSMT) Founder and Artistic Director] Hal Herman started working there the summer before I enrolled … so it was all good.
How integral has Shenandoah been to your life?
Very, very integral … not only due to my own personal experience there, but also due to the fact that both my stepfather and my late mother, Lindé Hayen Herman, worked there in the theatre department. I met my late wife, Janice White Hayen ’77, my freshman year, actually just a few months into it! She was a piano student and studied with the late Professor Emerita Eugenia Evans. Since Shenandoah was in my life beyond my four years attending classes, it, of course, has been, and still is, a very important part of my life.
What drew you to study composing?
Well, I had always loved music; from very early on, I used to sit in my family living room with my ear right next to the stereo console’s speaker, listening mostly to Broadway musicals and a little classical stuff. When I actually started to seriously consider composing as a career, it was probably more due to my teenage angst – I was the dark, brooding introvert, and composing made me a bit more interesting, or so I thought.
How did you build your career as a composer for films, television and other media?
I went to University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music’s Master in Composition program intending to continue on an academic track in “serious” composition, I but always felt my passions were in stage music (musicals) or cinema. (When the first “Star Wars” film came out in 1977, I was mesmerized by John Williams’ score). After a few years, the itch was so bad that Janice and I just decided one day to pack up and move to Hollywood. We almost went to New York City, but decided there were more opportunities in Hollywood, and there we went. We packed up all of our belongings and put it all in storage, without any certainty we would have the money to send for it, down the road. We had very little money, and really no prospects in Hollywood other than a response to a letter we sent to the Hanna-Barbera music department. Paul DeKorte, head of music at Hanna-Barbera, said to give him a ring when we got into town. We were so naïve, it was incredible.
Once there, we actually did manage to nail down some work with Hanna-Barbera as music copyists (we were music copyists in Cincinnati – having learned the basics of the craft from while at Shenandoah!). I went to study commercial music (film music) at the Dick Grove School of Music and started to work as a composer for Hanna-Barbera; other gigs came along, and the rest is history
How did you alter your career when your wife became ill?
When Janice was diagnosed, we were both pretty busy doing “our thing.” Janice was, at that time, a very successful music copyist running one of the biggest independent music preparation offices in Hollywood. I was busy with various film projects as composer, arranger, orchestrator and/or conductor. Janice’s treatment was mostly in Chicago, so we would pack up every month and head out there for a week for treatment. Needless to say, my work started to take a toll. As a independent composer, I was the only one responsible for the work I did. My career was drying up. I probably could have resurrected it when Janice passed away, but my heart just wasn’t in it.
Did you always have an interest in psychology in your younger years? What sparked that interest?
Yes, I actually did have an interest in psychology. My mother was always interested in psychology, especially during the time when “analysis” was so “in” (the late 1950s, early 60s). She even subscribed to Psychology Today when it first came out (1967), which was rather hip of her. In high school, I used to carry around Freud’s “Interpretation of Dreams,” mostly to look cool (I didn’t read through the whole thing until I started graduate work 40 years later). When I was older, I was very interested in parapsychology and metaphysics, and, of course, when Janice got sick, we relied quite a bit on a metaphysical approach to healing, since the conventional approach offered us nothing (Janice’s first doctors told her she had six months to live. She lived four good years).
Why did you decide to continue to pursue spiritual, parapsychological and psychological studies through to earning a Ph.D. in depth psychology?
Again, when Janice was sick, we did a lot of study in metaphysics. We both enrolled in courses heading toward a practitioner’s license in the Church of Religious Science (NOT Scientology!), now Centers for Spiritual Living. I started a master’s program in consciousness studies and the parapsychology diploma program. At first, it was just to follow a keen interest I had in those subjects, and it helped to stay focused on Janice’s healing. When she died, I just couldn’t go back. I tried, but it just didn’t really work out; it seemed empty to me. That was the time I decided to channel my interests, mostly spiritual, metaphysical, and just weird, into a new career where I could make a living. I chose psychotherapy and looked for a school that would prepare me for licensure in the most unconventional way I could find. Well, depth psychology (the study of unconscious mental processes and motives, especially in psychoanalytic theory and practice) is not really that unconventional, but it is a bit off from center. So, that is what I chose, getting first my Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California, and finishing up five years later with a Ph.D. in Depth Psychology.
Do you continue to compose? If so, how do you balance that with your psychotherapy career?
My soul passion will always be music. One reason why I chose Jungian depth psychology as my psychology orientation is because this type of psychology really honors creativity and the arts. So yes, I do still compose. I just recently finished a 20-minute film score for a film that will be shown at the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia. I have done several scores for the National Park Service over the past few years. Scott McRae (my business partner in Los Angeles) and I still run a music rental company called Janen Music, and the main part of the catalog contains the music from my Christmas CD “Christmas Fantastique.” My interests are so varied now; I keep my hand in a lot of things. My first book just got released, published by Routledge in the United Kingdom: “Ancient Egypt and Modern Psychotherapy: Sacred Science and the Search for Soul.” I am very excited about that; I have one other book just about ready to release and another I am currently working on (on music!) – so, a lot is going on.
When did you move to Canada? Why did you make that move?
I met Cindy, my present wife, while in the master’s program in psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute. We hit it off right away, and I proposed to her in Egypt while taking a boat ride on the Nile. It was more practical to move to her home, since she was, at the time, still raising two young children, and it was important that they be close to their father.
I officially moved here in 2011. I just acquired my Canadian citizenship in December 2016 (it takes awhile). But, of course, I am still an American as well, as I have dual citizenship. It worked out well, although I do miss my California home and friends, and, of course, the music scene is very different here. I am, however, closer to my family here on the East Coast, so that is a plus.
What are the most significant trends in your life that have led you to where you are today?
Right from the start, I was searching for a connection to soul. When I was very young, I found that connection in nature, in my fantasy world, in music and in my mother (as most little boys do). When I was at Shenandoah, I found my soul connection mostly through music and composition, but when I met Janice, much of it transferred to her. While in Hollywood, the same connections continued, but they were often disrupted due to the complications with the music/film business and such. There were some difficult times in there, which is why I probably started to lean toward finding my soul connection through spirituality, metaphysics, etc. Janice’s illness certainly did open my eyes up to many, many things. I felt a very strong compulsion to spend the rest of my life investigating those deeper things about living and being a human being. My work with other people, and helping other people through that work, has been an incredible experience for me and very fulfilling. As I said earlier, my “real” soul connection will always be through music, but there are many other things that give me a taste of the divine – loving Cindy and her loving me, nature, working as a psychotherapist, composing and listening to music, etc. – none of these things may be the moon itself, but rather the reflection of the moon in the pond, but it is certainly good enough!
If you mean by “trends,” the major turns in the path that led me to where I am, I would say it started with my acceptance as a composition major at Shenandoah. My study with both Will Averitt and Tom Albert had a huge impact on me: personally, creatively and professionally. Meeting and marrying Janice, was a major turn that all led to great things: the move to Hollywood and my success there. Janice’s illness and subsequent death, also opened up my eyes to things I probably never would have looked at with the same depth and awareness. Then my marriage to Cindy, my leaving my home and career of 30 years, to start a new life and career has certainly been a major turn in the road!