Interlochen Center for the Arts, Interlochen, MI
Interlochen Center for the Arts is a campus of concert venues and academic buildings dedicated to the performing arts that serves as a camp during the summer and a high school arts academy during the academic year. This summer, I worked during the camp season and, for several weeks after the camp ended, as a member of the patron services staff. My internship involved providing hospitality and customer service for audiences at both camp performances as well as road shows for professional touring artists, setting up and monitoring events in the various venues and executing various tasks related to performances, such as preparing programs and organizing tickets.
My specific day-to-day responsibilities varied depending on what type of event occurred and where it was located. For example, at camp events I generally served as the house manager, welcoming parents and other campers, answering questions and enforcing venue-specific policies related to seating and personal items. Some venues were outdoors or had other non-standard protocols, such as the film center, at which my primary job was to make popcorn for the audiences. The other main component of the internship was road shows, where artists such as Bonnie Raitt and Darius Rucker performed in the 4,000-seat Kresge Auditorium. These events attracted large outside audiences and required the team to set up a security perimeter and maintain it throughout the day. Once the event started in the evening, we would each be assigned different positions around the venue, either continuing security work at certain access points or helping address individual concerns for the patrons.
One of my projects was being a specialist for the World Youth Symphony Orchestra (WYSO). This meant that I worked at all of the WYSO concerts and served as an extra layer of leadership between fellow staff members and the senior management. At first, this meant learning more about the procedures for these concerts and helping guide my coworkers. However, by the end of the summer, I was left to lead these concerts (along with the other WYSO specialists) without the direct guidance of my supervisors.
My work in patron services has strengthened my abilities in customer service and interaction with other people, both customers and staff. The job was highly collaborative, especially when setting up for road shows, and I had to learn to rely on my colleagues due to the scope of the work. I was sometimes confronted with uncomfortable situations in dealing with displeased patrons, specifically around the tightened security measures, and this required a balance of amiability and efficiency despite some patrons being unhappy.
This experience has exposed me to the various responsibilities associated with working at a large concert venue and performing arts campus, which I am considering as a career path after my last year at Williams; and I would like to personally thank the ’68 Center for Career Exploration and the Class of 1972 for providing me with the opportunity to work at Interlochen and immerse myself in great music for the summer.