Minsuh Choi ’23

Classical Uprising, Portland, ME

This summer, I had the opportunity to work as an arts administration intern at Classical Uprising, with Emily Isaacson ’04, the Artistic Director and the Founder of the organization, and Emily Southard, the Managing Director. Classical Uprising is a classical music organization based in Portland, Maine, that creates immersive classical music experiences for everyone to enliven, strengthen, and connect communities. Its three major programs are Oratorio Chorale, a symphonic chorus in its fifth decade that performs five programs and 16 concerts a year; Portland Bach Experience, which presents inspiring classical performances that tears down barriers and challenges preconceived notions about classical music; and Horizon Voices, a youth music education program and choir ensemble.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Carnival Concert and Community Celebration.

During the first month of my internship, I worked on-site putting together the Portland Bach Experience June Festival, a two-week-long festival full of immersive classical music experiences including full orchestral performances, intimate salons in art galleries or with brunch, outdoor concerts with beer tasting, interactive music games for children, and a family-friendly carnival. Throughout the festival, I was in charge of social media marketing, managing the Facebook and Instagram accounts, advertising events as needed to boost for ticket sales, documenting behind-the-scenes moments in rehearsals and performances, promoting partnerships with venues and local organizations, and creating wrap-up posts for each event.

One of my major responsibilities was enhancing donor relations and engagement. After wrapping up the festival, I wrote personalized thank you letters to the donors and board members. In addition, I created a special video summarizing the festival along with statistics and audience feedback to convey our gratitude. Moreover, I was able to learn invaluable skills in managing donor relations and individual giving, an integral part of the development of nonprofit organizations.

After the festival ended, I worked remotely, leading a project to launch the travelling exhibit of Thanks in Variations, an open-air sound installation that premiered in Portland. I wrote a grant proposal to fund the initial costs; assembled a list of potential partner organizations and venues; and created proposal materials including a webpage of the exhibit, a one-page spec sheet, and drafts of outreach emails. What was truly exciting was connecting with administrators and artistic directors of museums and art organizations around the country to gain insight and meeting potential collaborators; through this process, I developed the ability to clearly communicate my vision and persuasively pitch my ideas to industry professionals.

Having pursued a career path in arts administration for quite some time, my internship with Classical Uprising truly offered me a holistic perspective of this field and I feel ready to take my career to the next level. Especially, working with supervisors who genuinely cared about my professional development, I was able to get a firm understanding of how a nonprofit organization operates as well as the daily responsibilities of an arts administrator. I am truly grateful to Classical Uprising, the ’68 Center for Career Exploration, and the Kraft Family for providing me with this amazing opportunity.