My first encounter with The People’s Music School was two and a half years ago, in the winter of my first year as a music student at Northwestern. For our chamber music class, my quartet had the opportunity to get in a van with our instruments and make the drive to the Uptown Academy where we performed some of Beethoven’s Harp Quartet for a full house of lively students. I remember that it was dark and snowing that night, but immediately upon entering the school, the energy in the building was bright and warm. A few people greeted us and they were excited to tell us what the school is about, its mission, how strong and wonderful the community is here, and I was instantly fascinated and drawn to this place.
When I was thinking about what I hoped to do with my summer this year, I knew I wanted to get some experience in arts administration, I knew I loved working with students, and I remembered that stormy night and how inspired I had felt by this organization’s purpose. Playing music is a huge source of joy for me, so working to share that opportunity with more people and families and building a community around that joy sounds exactly like a mission I want to devote myself to. When Natalie offered me the internship position and told me that I would be able to help at the Back of the Yards camp for the first four weeks of the summer, I was so excited that I would be able to work with this organization and also with its students.
While I was at the Back of the Yards camp, I spent most of the day interacting with students, whether sitting and talking with them while they ate breakfast and lunch, engaging in the classes with them, playing along with my violin, and sometimes even helping to teach the violin and viola classes. I got to know a lot of the students really well, and each individual was so dynamic and full of life that every single day was so different, and I loved that. By the end of the four weeks, I was so sad to say goodbye, and I told them I will visit them once the school year starts. 🙂