Violist who played for royalty coming to Destin library

Savannah Chastain
CAROL HAYES

In the world of music, Carol Hayes has seen it all. A viola player for the United States Marine Corps Orchestra for 22 years, Hayes has performed in prestigious venues for kings and dignitaries. Her next stop is Destin library.

“I performed for a state dinner for king Hussein of Jordan" during the administration of Gerald Ford, she said. "It was the first official event for the Fords."

She explained that performing was not always second nature to her, as she got nervous before playing in the presence of nobility.

"When I saw them walk in as head of state for the first time I thought, 'Golly if they can walk in and be so confident then I can sit behind the viola in the safety of the orchestra!' "

Hayes began her musical journey at the age of eight when she picked up her first instrument, the violin.

"In childhood, my neighbors played violin and I wanted to do it also," she told The Log.

 With private lessons and hard work, Hayes became an elite musician as she explained that the qualifying requirements for the Marine Corps Orchestra are set extremely high.

"The members of the Marine Corps Band are pre-trained," she said, "and all of them have college degrees, some even have doctorates."

Originally from northern Indiana, Hayes moved to Destin in 1996.

"I had enough years to retire, and had visited a friend who had a condo in Destin, and thought, 'Oh my goodness, this is a gorgeous place!' "

Now an active community member, Hayes is offering a free workshop with The Friends of the Destin Library on Friday, Feb. 14 at 3 p.m.

She will share stories of her musical career, and perform a few examples of her work on the viola.