Music Director & Conductor
Anthony Joseph Lai
Anthony Joseph Lai is multi-faceted musician, Michigan native, proud uncle, and outspoken Millennial from the City of Dearborn. A composer, conductor, and singer-songwriter, he combines his experience in classical, jazz, and popular music to bring an eclectic style to the podium. He became the director of The Seaway Chorale and Orchestra in 2014.
Lai’s musicianship first began as a years-long idolization and imitation of The Beatles and other music of the 1960s. His palette expanded significantly when he attended Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn. There he discovered a love for classical music which lead to a long path of study into music composition and the art of conducting. The school remains his musical home, where once-mentors Randall Knight, G. Kevin Dewey, and Rick Goward became friends and collegues; Lai directs the Metropolitan Symphony Band and Studio 110 Jazz Orchestra, and teaches courses in music theory, technology, and history at the college.
Outside of the classroom, Lai’s musical endeavors are diverse. He has performed as a vocalist, guitarist, bassist, percussionist, and conductor throughout Metro Detroit and abroad. His work has led to many collaborations with other accomplished musicians, including Luis Resto (co-producer for Eminem), Jenna Irene Asciutto (American Idol finalist), Terry Brown (producer for Rush), and members of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Most weekends you can find him with The Phoenix Theory band, where his love for vocal harmony has found another home.
In addition to music performance, Lai is a writer of music in a variety of styles. Nominated as “Outstanding Classical Composer” in the Detroit Music Awards in 2017, 2015, 2014, and 2012, he has written music for concert halls, film, theatre, and television. His compositions and orchestrations have been performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Wayne State University Orchestra, Flux Quartet of New York, Sage Strings in Washington D.C., and the Boston New Music Initiative.
Lai earned an M.M. in conducting and a B.M. in composition from Wayne State University, and has continued his music studies at conducting symposiums at the New England Conservatory and University of Michigan. His musical style and taste can be heard in his 2021 album Take Me With You, where he combines his love of classical and choral music with his roots as a Beatles fan. Laced with woodwinds, strings, and plenty of vocal harmony, Take Me With You sums up his musical influences in an acoustic singer-songwriter package. His original music can be found anywhere you download or stream music.
Seaway Chorale's amazing director, Anthony Lai, promised the kids in our "Voices of the Young" choir that he would do the whip/nae nae dance if they did both performances in our Spring show well. He always follows through with his promises so here is the video..... He is such a great role model for these kids!!!