This summer, I served as the Assistant Program Administrator at the Aspen Opera Center in Aspen, Colorado. My responsibilities included scheduling opera rehearsals and then communicating the schedule and any changes to students and faculty. This sometimes involved coordinating 100 people in 200 to 300 events a week but I felt prepared for the task because of my first-year experience at CCM. I arrived in Aspen ready to put what I had learned into practice.
My job felt like working on the spoke of a wheel — though I could not always see the hub of the wheel while scheduling, every spoke needed to be strong in order for the program to roll. While the faculty and students appreciated sound scheduling, the true reward of the summer was watching the wheel finally spin as students embraced opportunities to perform. Attending an Aspen Opera Center production of La bohème was one of these wheel spinning moments. I had seen the opera before, but this production was particularly vibrant because of the student cast. Singers played characters their own ages, which is not common in opera. Their ages and maturity lent themselves beautifully to the production’s drama. As I sobbed through La bohème’s fourth act, I knew I had contributed to something special.
Working at a prestigious summer festival allowed me to gain insight into how an art organization runs smoothly and efficiently. The Aspen staff and faculty responded to the inevitable challenges and changes of a summer season with grace and calmness, which allowed for seamless performances and exceptional student experiences.
Eventually, I would like to start a non-profit organization that connects people with special needs to opera. In Aspen, I developed opera operations acumen and learned how to better communicate with artists and teachers, both of which will prove to be invaluable in my future as an arts leader. I left Aspen more graceful, more focused and ready for my second year at CCM.