Director of Food and Nutrition Services
Regional Medical Center at Bayonet Point
Hometown: Ubly, Mich.
Education: B.S., Michigan State; MSA (Masters in Healthcare Administration), Central Michigan University
Married. Lives with husband, Jerry Flint.
Joyce Hagen-Flint is so passionate about singing that she starts every day with an early morning devotion—and then sings all the way to work. She finds it’s some of her best rehearsal time. Here, the former president of the American Society of Healthcare Food Service Administrators talks about how her musical involvement has grown over the years.
“I think I was three years old when I sang ‘Away in a Manger’ solo at church. And I often sang solo on Christmas Eve. For as far back as I can remember, I remember that I always sang.
Until I was too old and too heavy to carry, [when] Dad carried me to bed; he sang, ‘I had a dream dear, you had one, too. Mine was the best ’cause it was of you.’ He’d accompany himself on the guitar and sing me to sleep. Then I started singing with him and learned to sing with a guitar accompaniment.
My mother loved music and had a pleasant voice, but Dad—who played with a Dixieland band when he was young—played organ, piano, banjo, guitar, violin—everything. He played by ear and had perfect pitch. Now, he’s in an Alzheimer’s unit, but put an instrument in his hand and he’ll play. I can’t take ownership for my passion for music, it came from him and God; Dad made it part of life.
Starting at about the age of 12, I attended music and theater summer school and we put on two major musicals each summer in addition to variety shows each Friday. I also was active in the 4H Club where I grew up in Ubly, Mich. I won the regional competitions four times; then performed at the state competitions held at Michigan State.
I was a music major at Michigan State, then changed my major to human ecology and education with a minor in hotel, restaurant and institutional management. During college I worked in campus foodservice, but I was also lead singer and manager for a jazz combo band. We played parties in the cafeteria but also for frat parties as well as for weddings.
After college, I was assistant director for music of a variety group; we did shows as fundraisers for the Lions Club with as many as 200 people involved. One year we did 14 performances attended by 11,000 people in all. Busloads of people came from all over the state.
Now, I’m president of the Chancel Choir at my church, so it’s my job to keep the [all adult] choir organized. We sing a lot of contemporary and praise songs; I’m up front with a microphone and they follow my lead. Once a month, the deacons hold a service at a large continuing care retirement community (CCRC) complex near the church.
Here at the hospital we did ‘Regional Idol,’ a takeoff on ‘American Idol,’ for two years in a row—and recruited 12 acts. We had people buy tickets for the performance plus they paid $1 per vote. Each year we raised about $3,000 for the American Cancer Society. Each time I got to the final round. The last time the winner was a guy who did ‘Mustang Sally,’ while I did a song about the care we give to people—it was very emotional and brought tears to the eye. I couldn’t beat ‘Mustang Sally,’ but I enjoyed doing it. I enjoy keeping music in my life and using it in ways that bring joy to other people.”