Every year, before the starting gun goes off for the Will Rogers 5/10K Race on Alma Real, runners are treated to a National Anthem singer. Race organizers have announced that this year’s Fourth of July event will feature two local talents, Kate Hassett and Sierra Solum.
This will be Hassett’s second time performing for a local crowd. She did the honors at the Pacific Palisades Baseball Association’s Opening Day ceremonies in 2014. Her brother Jack, who is now a pitcher on the New York University baseball team, was a player and her father Jim was a coach.
Hassett has also sung the anthem at UCLA and at Harvard-Westlake, where she attended high school.
She grew up in Pacific Palisades and participated in the Kids Fun Run when she was 18 months old.
She started singing in first grade, and as a third grader, she told her parents she wanted to try opera.
She auditioned and was accepted into the National Children’s Chorus. A leading children’s choir of 800 choristers, between the ages of five and eighteen, the nonprofit is divided into a junior and senior division.
The chorus regularly appears at the Hollywood Bowl with the LA Philharmonic, at Disney Concert Hall and at Carnegie Hall.
Hasset said, “Through the Children’s Chorus, I was able to take a deeper dive into classical music. During that time, I learned music theory and conducting.”
The organization has conductor training partnerships with programs at USC and the Manhattan School of Music and has partnerships with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and UCLA.
Even while singing with the choir, which included three European tours, Hassett continued to take private lessons.
Her song of choice for “karaoke” night is “It’s Shallow” by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. But if a request is made for a classical number, she sings “Ave Maria,” which is the first classical song she performed.
During the pandemic, Hassett switched her interest from performing classical music to visual arts. This fall she will attend the School of Art Institute in Chicago to focus on painting.
She performed improv while at Harvard-Westlake—and she hopes to continue that interest in the vibrant comedy scene in Chicago.
The Hasset family, which includes Jim, Jackie, Jack and Kate, won the Fourth of July home decorating contest in 2012 and 2016.
Sierra is a veteran of the Will Rogers Run, beginning when her dad Mike pushed her in a stroller as he ran the 5K. “I have done the race several times on my own,” said the Corpus Christi School rising eighth grader.
Although she has performed the National Anthem at a school assembly, this will mark Sierra’s first public performance of that song. Asked what the biggest challenge might be on the 4th, she said, “The size of the audience.”
Routinely, between 2,500 and 3,000 people descend on the course on Alma Real, and the Kids Fun Run attracts hundreds of kids and parents.
Solum is active in theater, having participated in the CATS theater program in Rustic Canyon and has just finished performing in a production of “Grease.” She said that she likes to perform because, “I get a thrill from acting and providing entertainment to the audience.”
This summer she is attending a beach volleyball camp and also an enrichment camp at Louisville High School. And she loves to read.
One of her favorite books is “Six of Crows” because “I love the character relationships.” The fantasy novel follows six characters and is set in the city of Ketterdam, which is inspired by Dutch Republic-era Amsterdam.
Solum said that in the future, “I would like to learn to play the guitar and piano.”
In the meantime, make it over to the start of the Kids Fun Run, about 9 a.m., and listen to Solum sing the National Anthem.
The family, including dad Mike, mom Jennifer and younger sister Kaia, have actively supported the Palisades Americanism Parade Association and are members of Corpus Christi Parish.