Interning at the Grand Rapids Symphony's Picnic Pops: Tablecloths, tunes and good times

By Emma DeWitt - Grand Rapids Symphony intern -

Approaching the end of my junior year at Calvin College, I still did not have an internship under my belt, and I was starting to feel apprehensive going into the summer. I had just switched to the strategic communication program the previous year and was unsure of what I could do with such a broad major.

Having a deep love and appreciation for music, I felt blessed to accept a public relations internship with the Grand Rapids Symphony for the summer of 2017.

Throughout this internship, I learned about public relations, marketing tactics, effective writing techniques, and successful production set-up. I was given the opportunity to sit in on a few meetings with the marketing team, an in-office interview with Marcelo Lehninger, and a television interview with a few of our guest artists. These opportunities gave me a diverse experience with the Symphony and allowed me to participate outside of my cubicle.

GR Symphony 2017 Picnic Pops Volunteers, Interns The summer season at the D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops series began in July with the Music of ABBA on July 13-14, followed by the Music of Chicago on July 20-21, and my personal favorite, Women Rock, on July 27-28. The summer series ended with the Classical Fireworks on Aug. 3 followed by Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán on Aug. 5, bringing in diverse crowds who were enthusiastic about the Grand Rapids Symphony’s performances at Cannonsburg.

With the Picnic Pops concerts, I was told that the summer internship was unique and my work would be much different than it would, had I worked during the fall or spring concert series. This was no lie – I think I did more manual labor than I anticipated.

Although many concert days were long, tiring, and sweaty – Michigan summers are too hot for my liking, I found myself not minding the work at all because of the wonderful staff, fellow interns, and eager volunteers at my side. There was no lack of laughter and engaging conversation to help pass the time as we placed what felt like a couple thousand rolls of table cloths on the tables in front of the stage, among other tasks.

The people involved, myself included, were genuinely happy to be contributing to putting together a wonderful experience for guests at the Picnic Pops. I truly enjoyed the work we put into bringing these concerts together, and I am thankful for what I learned. I know the knowledge and experience I gained will follow me in future endeavors I may have post-graduation.

We welcome and encourage comments. Please note that your comment will be sent to our team to be approved prior to posting. You may not see your comment post right away.