Sunday, May 17, 2009

For several weeks in May, Rivers seniors embark on self-directed independent study projects that can involve anything from volunteering at a soup kitchen to, in one case, earning a rocketry certification. Over the next few weeks, we will be periodically checking in with a handful of students to learn more about their experiences. Today, we hear from Kate Voorhes, who is interning at the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

I've been working at the Symphony for a week now, and I finally know my way around. I've practically memorized the subway map so taking the T in every morning is a breeze. I've learned the location of every Starbucks and Whole Foods near me. I love working in Boston because the number of resources are unlimited, and every time I walk down the street I get excited because I'll be going to college here next year (Tufts Engineering).
Every morning at the BSAV I have mostly been doing office work like filling binders, making and laminating name cards, and making phone calls, etc. Most of the time, it's pretty mindless
, and after a few hours of performing the same exact motion again and again, I can start to feel my brain melting a bit. But I know that all the work I'm doing is essential to keep the BSO running smoothly and to bring in profits. Just on Friday, the other intern Carly and I were filling red velvet pouches with fancy gold pins that said "50 years BSO" for all the 50+ year patrons of the BSO. We made about a thousand bags, and were rather tired of it halfway through, but we knew how much they would be appreciated by the elderly people. We thought about how most of them would probably wear the gold pins every day and treasure them, which kept us filling the pouches. The other day, Carly and I learned how to do a "mail-merge," which is apparently the new and efficient method using Excel and Word for doing mailings and other useful office things. I'm not that fast at it, but the idea behind what you can accomplish in just a few minutes was amazing. Instead of copying and pasting names and info to name cards, we took a list of a few thousand people from Excel and transferred all their info onto a Word template to make a badge/namecard for each one. It was cool, and saved a lot of time.
The best thing I've found is that I can hear the Pops practicing from my desk. The music is so upbeat and when it blasts through the loudspeakers, it allows me to listen to live concerts without paying. The other day I got to sit in for a while at a Pops Closed Rehearsal
because Sabine was "on duty" for the event. Before going inside Symphony Hall, I was backstage and watched the entire Pops orchestra and chorus file on stage before me. It was crazy. The other day, I rode the elevator up to the BSAV floor, and one of the principal violinists started making conversation with me and joked about how hilarious it was that I didn't know where anything was. I didn't even realize he was one of the musicians until I recognized his photo in the hallway.
I'll be sure to bring in my camera this week to take pictures of the Symphony and what I've been working on so I can post them here!

-Kate Voorhes

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