We are pleased to welcome intern Hannah Parkins for the month of January. Joining us through our internship partnership with the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, Hannah arrived at a particularly busy and exciting time at ABS: “Bach’s Magnificat” (January 24-27) and “Bach’s Hercules” (February 21-24) are right around the corner! Luckily she arrived ready to work.
Tell us about yourself: Where you are from?
I am from Tacoma, Washington by way of a little town in Iowa called Newton. I moved to the West Coast when I was ten years old. Right now I reside in Oberlin, Ohio, where I attend Oberlin Conservatory and College in pursuit of two degrees in French horn performance and creative writing.
How did you become interested in music and performing?
It’s a funny story, actually. In middle school, I chose band class instead of orchestra because my sister played ‘cello. I had to be different. My mom was furious at the possibility that I might start playing drums, so she called the principal and tried to switch my classes. Luckily, there was no room in the orchestra. Instead of choosing horn, it’s almost like the horn chose me because, out of all the kids, I was the only one who could make a sound on the mouthpiece. I was eleven years old.
Do you have any favorite composers or works?
I am drawn to music, art, and literature from all eras. I absolutely love Bach, which is what drew me to American Bach Soloists in the first place. His work is timeless and diverse, absolutely rich with metaphysical meaning. I can listen to the ‘cello suites on an infinite repeat – it’s like reading a great book or reconnecting with an old friend; something new always unfurls from the music and moves me.
Other composers I enjoy are Brahms and Thomas Tallis, especially if it’s raining and I can soak up Spem in Alium. I also love the second movement of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1.
You had a choice of where to apply for your internship. Why American Bach Soloists?
I was looking for an opportunity to learn how an arts organization runs, and American Bach Soloists jumped out of the crowd—it presented itself creatively and passionately. I fell in love with the mission statement on the website about music as a human right and saw right away that the organization fulfills that promise of high quality music to their community. I loved that the educational philosophy of JS Bach was built into the organization’s core – ABS believes in educating present and future audiences, staying true to the musical heritage of historical cultures. The internship itself I knew would reflect these high standards, and I am not disappointed! I’m getting a blend of marketing, development and social media all within the first week.
What are your interests?
I am passionate about the arts and humanities. Communicating is of particular interest to me, and I believe that music and language are inseparable in their ability to transfigure people. I think the best way to effect change in the world is through the medium of the arts; they say what humans alone cannot. If we output beauty and love into the world, then there will always be an inspiration and a goal for humankind.
Tell us something we may not know about you?
I once saved a baby shark by tying a rope around it and lassoing it back out to the sea. I can pogo stick better than I can walk and wish that it were the preferred method of transportation in the city.
Have you learned anything unexpected or exciting in your first week on the job at ABS?
I have learned that everyone involved with American Bach Soloists – and I’d wager with any arts organization – is first and foremost an entrepreneur. Each member has her/his own specific role within the organization that contributes to its success. On top of that, each member is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to answering phones, executing mailings, networking, problem solving, scheduling, advising, and much more. From Don Scott, I learned that it is possible to be highly organized and efficient and still cultivate extremely meaningful relationships. From Steve Lehning, I learned that I should build my personal library before launching into the professional realm. From Jeff McMillan, I learned that a desire to help guide anyone in the right direction is essential, that being flexible is of the utmost importance when running an organization. From Carmen, I learned to be quick, positive, and refreshing despite unanticipated challenges. From Steven Spector, I learned to always back up my files in case my computer crashes.
As you can see, I’ve learned a great deal in the first week. What I am most struck by is everyone’s kindness, dedication, and passion for music. From what I’ve observed, this commonality is what really propels American Bach Soloists into the forefront of arts organizations and makes it the growing success that it is.