I’m Ben Cornillie, a senior at Grand Valley State University, majoring in Advertising/Public Relations, and I was the Public Relations intern with the Grand Rapids Symphony for the summer of 2016.
From the start of my internship at the end of May through the beginning of August, I really enjoyed my time with the Symphony. I liked the laid-back but energetic attitude of the office and the symphony employees whom I got to know well over the course of the internship.
During my time with the Grand Rapids Symphony, I learned a lot about public relations, non-profits, symphonies, local media and sunburn. Seriously, so much sunburn.
As part of the internship, I helped set up and work the D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops concert series, which provided hands-on experience with event management and moving tables. Though it was a lot of work, getting to watch the Picnic Pops concerts, which opened with the Classical Fireworks in July, followed by Music of Queen and the Music of The Beach Boys, definitely was one of the highlights of the internship. I really enjoyed the work I was given and had a great time with the other interns.
The Picnic Pops, which wrapped up with the Music of David Bowie and then a special appearance by Boyz II Men, had a profound effect on my experience in the office. I learned what it takes to create, promote and manage a large-scale event. I created many different events on local media calendars to promote the series along with helping create and promote the concerts on the Symphony’s social media outlets.
Outside of Picnic Pops, I did work that mostly concentrated on the symphony’s new music director, Marcelo Lehninger. I was there for the first press conference announcing the appointment and was present for many of his photo shoots and interviews during the summer.
One of the benefits of being the public relations intern was that I was involved with, and participated in, media interviews and events for the Symphony. I was in radio and TV stations, newsrooms and sets for photo shoots, which got me out of the office and a provided a lot of great experience.
Overall I enjoyed my time with the Grand Rapids Symphony and learned a lot. Now that I’ve completed my internship, I feel much more prepared for the future and employment after college. The Symphony internship gave me a lot of varied experiences that I can apply to future jobs.