Article by Anthony, a graduate student in the MAAA program at SPEA. During the previous academic year Anthony served as a Graduate Assistant at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater and will work at Cardinal Stage Company in the Fall. He is currently interning with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra in Denver, CO. Check out his first and second posts about interning with the CSO.
My internship is officially finished, 281 hours over two months clocked, logged, and worked. Now is the time for bold internal reflection on my tenure at the Colorado Symphony. Or I could just casually talk about what I did and learned. Either works.
What I appreciated most while at the Symphony, was that I was only given real work, never just sent on coffee runs or tasked with truly superfluous tasks. It might be hard to tell whether or not an internship will ever devolve into a bad stereotype or stay above the fray, but it was far more rewarding to hand in a project that meant real progress than to make a lone walk to Starbucks (or Caribou Coffee in Denver).
In terms of what I was tasked with doing, here’s a rundown. Since Tessitura is the industry standard software for most major symphonies and operas, I spent a significant amount of time doing online training courses and learning ‘Tessi.’ Working in Tessi, I was expected to do establish, clean up, and reconcile patron accounts, meaning I spent many useful hours becoming familiar with a program I will be using for several long years. In addition, I assisted one of the team members in planning several donor events throughout the season, getting firsthand experience in event planning. But what took up most of my summer was a true development experience, researching and contacting local businesses for potential sponsorship of an upcoming event. Beyond these three examples, I worked with everyone in the development department and met with several other members of the orchestra administration.
My last takeaway, was how invested the whole orchestral team was into the organization. Everyone understood why they were doing what they were doing, that the mission was to bring music to the Denver metro area and Colorado. That was truly refreshing, after the past few years of argumentative offices combating musicians, to see both everyday with genuine smiles on their faces. I encourage anyone looking into internships to take the time, look into where you’ll spend the next two months, and understand who they are.
P.S. Seriously, the west is a gorgeous place, and I encourage everyone to visit.