July 4, 2013 by Sarah Nicholas
I’m not one to usually brag, but I think it’s fair enough to say I have the best summer internship of everyone I know (Tough crowd: there’s several Congressional interns on Capitol Hill, a National Geographic grantee spending her summer scuba diving, a financial intern in Singapore, an oil industry intern in the U.A.E., a NASCAR intern, and an entrepreneur in Texas…) Within ten seconds on any social media site, I can glimpse familiar faces with international monuments, celebrities, or life-changing experiences. I only wish they knew what I was up to, interning at the Wolf Trap Foundation, America’s only National Park for the Performing Arts, just outside of Washington D.C. in Vienna, VA.
Every intern considers themself – if only momentarily – honored to be doing the most mundane work; coffee runs, hours at the copier, answering phones and checking mail are seemingly more glamorous when you’ve jumped from “volunteer” to “intern” status. Sure, my job has its routine activities. And what is among the less routine, you might ask? Watching the next generation of opera stars in rehearsal, getting caught in the rain at a Temptations Concert, running into Steve Martin in the office lobby. Not to mention being able to snag front row Ke$ha tickets and meet power players in the entertainment industry.
I’ve had some cool jobs (note to my new readers: I interned last spring at the Kennedy Center, where I watched ABT rehearsals, wrote regular emails to the office of Renee Fleming, partied with a Supreme Court Justice [RBG] and ate more cupcakes than humanly feasible), but this one blows it out of the water.
The staff, “my team” – basement opera dwellers of the Wolf Trap Foundation, is kind and caring and gentle. They’ve delicately plucked the finest singers, stage directors, opera craftsmen (and interns!) from all over the country, potted us and watered us, and are finally kicking back to watch it all bloom and blossom before their very eyes. We don’t work normal office hours – 6 day weeks are regular, and being home before 7 is a blessing. We don’t work regular jobs either, though; while there’s emails and meetings and discussions, there’s also practice rooms and artistic tax lectures and a library chock full of DVDs and CDs and scores and books for music lovers (cough cough to a friend who is interning in a legal library this summer). There’s rehearsals where you can be mesmerized, lost in 1920s Paris, and there’s birthday cake for every single birthday (with a company of 90+, we’re having two or three birthdays a week!). Cast parties always beat out happy hour.
My summer has flown by and it’s hard to believe that it’s already July. We’ve got no less than a dozen shows upcoming in the next few weeks, and it’s all hands on deck to keep sailing smooth. It’s not over until the fat lady (actually, pretty skinny, attractive college grads) sings and the red curtain falls.
Until next time!