Eighth Blackbird, Third Coast Percussion, Ensemble Dal Niente, and my time in Chicago.

Earlier today, the second year masters students of the Florida State University Arts Administration program had the opportunity to share their experiences about their internship to the first year masters students. It is with no question that we all had a great experience with our internships, regardless of the overall outcome. Even though we were only in the classroom for about 75 minutes, I have yet to truly explain about my experiences in Chicago. With that said, I was inspired to write a blog post about that time.

When I first started applying for internships, I struggled at finding an organization to apply for. The students were given a list of suggested names of organizations where previous students interned at. The problem was that none of the organizations were new music ensembles, nor new music emphasized. At the time, I was not sure what to do. One day, a few students from the Introduction to Arts Administration course watched a live stream of International Contemporary Ensemble‘s panel which featured bassoonist and Director of Individual Giving, Rebekah Heller. Based on the numerous community outreach and educational projects Heller mentioned in the panel, something clicked! From that moment, my goal was to find a new music ensemble that offered internship programs, or even create my own opportunity with one. As I was researching for internships, I realized one of my colleagues on Facebook was a former Eighth Blackbird intern. I contacted Amanda Gatt about my interest and shortly after, she connected me to the program director. From there, the rest is history and I was offered an Administrative Internship with Eighth Blackbird as well as Third Coast Percussion and Ensemble Dal Niente.

That summer, I moved into a townhouse apartment in Evanston, IL where one of my brother’s contacts suggested a place to stay. Evanston was a convenient location for me, because it was a place for me to relax after my shift was done in northern Chicago (not far from Wrigley Field). While it was a nice location, I barely had any sleep since I was too excited for the opportunity I had been looking forward to. Still managed with so much energy and inspiration!

My duties were in many areas of the arts administration field. They ranged from the basic office work/errands to more specific projects in development, operations, productions, marketing, and even assisting with a music video for Peter Ferry and Marc Mellits. This was helpful for me, since before the internship, I was not open to exploring other fields besides operations and production. After the internship, I had become more interested in development, due to the overwhelming responsibility you have for an organization (writing grants, updating databases, recruiting donors, renewing donors, etc.) From the perspective from an arts administrator, I would grade all three organizations an A, because of the amount of experience that I acquired through this internship. I am confident that with this experience, I will be able to go into the real world and fit well in the development field.

I will not end the blog post there. I still have to explain the artistic aspect of my internship “Wait, artistic?! That was not part of your responsibilities as an intern!” Well, you thought wrong, did you?

Along with the amazing experience internship, I was blown away by the overwhelming new music scene in Chicago. There were so many opportunities for concerts and performances to the point where I thought I was dreaming! I had the opportunity to watch a number of performances by Eighth Blackbird, Third Coast Percussion, Lakeshore Rush, Fifth House Ensemble (Fresh Ink), Contempo, and Matt Ulery’s Trio. I was also able to meet and spend time with a number of musicians like Lisa Kaplan, Marc Mellits, Chris Sies, Augusta Read Thomas, and caught up with a few friends including Ricardo Lorenz. I am most likely missing a large number of names and ensembles, but nevertheless, you are all included in my experience.

Through all of this exposure, something unexpected happened. During the spring, I slowly got back into composing. I stopped for a brief time, because of how overwhelming the arts administration program was. Nevertheless, I tried and tried. Around June, I was absorbed in the community and around then, I told myself that I was going to make a comeback in composing! Since then, I was able to finish a piece for solo violin and am currently working on a piece for Pierrot Lunaire ensemble!

Throughout this experience, I have come to the conclusion that once I graduate from Florida State University, I plan on moving to Chicago to further pursue my career as an arts administrator and as a composer. If it does not work out, I will plan on moving somewhere in the Midwest where I can work for an arts organization and stay in Chicago during my vacations!

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