Editor’s Note: This article is part of “Spotlight,” a recurring series featuring CNMI personalities. To suggest a person to feature in this section, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s Spotlight moved to Saipan from Utah two years ago. While she may not be originally from the islands, she has made the CNMI her home, and has been bringing sweet music to the Marianas’ most precious gems, its children. Our melody maker—Katie Hoyt.
Hoyt came from the small town of Price, in Utah, where she was a young musical prodigy, entering and winning competitions, which eventually led her to receiving academic and music scholarships at the Dixie State University, under the tutelage of esteemed pianist, Dr. Nancy Allred.
“I was a big fish in a small pond as far as music was concerned, because there just wasn’t a lot,” Hoyt said. “My parents both were really supportive [when I was] growing up. They took me to my lessons. They knew I loved it and they went with it.”
“I was able to do a lot of competitions and do well. It was a lot of fun and we were able to travel. We would go further up north in Utah to compete in the big city in groups and solos, and then we would also go to California to perform at different venues that were there.”
From Utah, Hoyt flew to Saipan two years ago with her husband, Lane, who, at that time, had just gotten a job with the Public School System.
“My husband is also from the same city. We met each other in seventh grade. We have a lot of things in common, we sang together a lot in high school and then we both went off to the same college. We were two musical peas in a pod. He likes sharing music,” Hoyt said.
With her husband starting a music career teaching on the island, Hoyt had no clue what her career was going to be like. She initially worked as a substitute at William S. Reyes Elementary School, and then taught fourth grade for about five months.
“It was really tough for me teaching elementary school and I realized that music is my thing,” Hoyt said. “I missed it a lot. I realized that is where I can make an impact. So I decided, I don’t care if there’s no market for it. Whoever wants to take lessons, I’m going to give them. We have my husband’s city job. I’m just going to go with it.”
Her musical instincts paid off. Hoyt now has 35 students learning to play the piano, is a part of Friends of the Arts, and is even starting a youth choir.
“I fell in love with the people. The people are amazing here. They are my best students too. They look forward to recitals. We get to perform. It is good. I love Saipan and it’s becoming home for me,” she said.
Hoyt thinks the best part of living on Saipan are the children. “The children are amazing,” she said. “The children that I teach, I think they teach me. That sounds so cliché, but they teach me more than anything I’ve learned before I came here.”
Since moving to Saipan, Hoyt has adjusted and has become less of the “slightly stricter” teacher that she was back in Utah.
“I’m a more positive teacher now because I wanted to make sure I’m getting the kids and they shouldn’t have to change. They should be able to overcome certain obstacles that come along with music. If something’s not working for them, I figure out how to instruct them. It has been amazing.”
From saying yes to a Saipan adventure in 2017, Hoyt has finally found her niche here and, like many people who have moved to Saipan, Hoyt has nothing but admiration for the island.
“I love it here, and I love teaching. If I did this for the rest of my life, I would be extremely happy. I want to make sure kids have the opportunity to use music and as long as I do that, I am happy.”
Aside from private piano lessons, Hoyt also teaches private voice and flute lessons, and group piano and ukulele lessons. To know more about her, visit https://www.harmoniouslessons.com.