Whether it’s performing with friends on Broadway or helping others write songs, Leroy Hyson ’19 is ready to follow the music
Music has always been a part of graduating senior Leroy Hyson’s life. So much, that the first “toy” his dad got him was a pair of drumsticks.
It wasn’t surprising that the Gaithersburg, Maryland, native decided to major in music at Towson University. What surprised Hyson was the sense of family that TU provided him.
Hyson chose TU because he felt it could be a home for the next four years, and he says his experiences more than lived up to his expectations.
“TU is a place that is constantly saying ‘here is an opportunity to grow, an opportunity to learn and an opportunity to be more of a leader,’” he says. “On this campus I really found a community; I can’t go anywhere without seeing someone who’s impacted my life.”
Hyson experienced his biggest sense of family through the Towson Trills. He formed the a capella group during Move-in Weekend his freshman year with Aaron Bayne (they met at the Welcome to TU talent show), Katie Sacha and Harmony Reichert (his roommate introduced them after the first weekend trip to Target).
The Trills experienced a story straight out of the movie “Pitch Perfect.” They won the International Championship of Collegiate A Capella Mid-Atlantic Regionals and competed in the Finals on Broadway in both 2017 and 2019.
Reaching the finals two out of three years is pretty impressive, especially for a team with just seven members. Most a capella groups feature 12 to 20.
“To be considered one of the Top 10 a capella groups in the entire world, it’s just crazy,” Hyson says about the Broadway experience. “Over 450 groups competed this year.”
With several members of the team graduating, the Trills will no longer be a TU organization. That’s bittersweet to Hyson, especially after all the support the group has received on-campus.
One of their biggest fans is President Kim Schatzel, who has had the Trills perform at several of her sponsored events. That led to other campus bookings and even getting hired by the Towson Chamber of Commerce.
And while Hyson says the Trills won’t see one another every week as they did on campus, the group has become his second family.
“We’re going to stay a family and we’re going to stay like this the rest of our lives.” Hyson says with a laugh. “Our kids will know each other.
“Our goal was to leave a legacy and inspire people to create. We want to encourage people to create their own path.”
Hyson has already launched his post-TU career. He’s starting a professional song-writing and demo-recording company called Next Level Music and hopes to meet with people who have a dream, an idea or even a sketch of a song.
He wants to help them take that song idea to the next level, whatever it may be.
“Whether it’s an artist who wants to go platinum, or a mother who wants to write a song for her son. I want to help people achieve that,” Hyson says of his business venture.
While starting new business can be frightening, Hyson has faith not only in himself, but also with the education he’s taking away from TU.
“My education has taken me to a level that I didn’t know existed,” Hyson says. “I can educate people on what they’re doing. I can say something sounds good, and then explain it in an educational way. It’s a whole different level of instruction.”
Hyson has always wanted to help people tap into their musical ability. He teaches both voice and songwriting at the Music Space in Towson.
But he has been helping people find their voice since high school.
His first student was a woman he went to church with, who admitted she was scared to sing in public. So he worked with her, teaching her pitch and how to control her voice and how to gain confidence in her singing.
After months of working together, there was a moment during a worship when the church congregation started singing a song the two had worked on. The woman ran to join Hyson and sang with him, loud and proud.
“She was on pitch and she sounded great,” Hyson recalls. “Seeing that growth, that’s unreal to me. I’ve been able to see that repeatedly with my other students. I always tell my students my goal is to see them reach their goal. That’s my ultimate purpose for all of this.”
But that doesn’t mean Hyson isn’t helping himself too. After helping others write songs and working on songs to sell to other people, a friend suggested that he take a crack at singing his own words.
When he started college, Hyson never dreamed of releasing his own music. Now, after performing on Broadway with the Trills and getting his face out there through his many TU accomplishments, he’s ready to go as far as his voice will take him.
“This is exciting because I love performing,” he says. “And I learned how to love performing here.”