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Working Girl in London

Savannah Valigura is a RETURNING Performing Arts Abroad Participant.  She was a Music Volunteer in Costa Rica a couple years ago and now she writes about her experience on the Music Administration Internship in England.

IMG_1902When you think of music in London, one of the first things that comes to mind is the Royal Albert Hall. Not only is it home to BBC Proms every summer, it is one of the oldest, and most iconic, theatres in the world.   Through my internship, with the largest classical music promoter in the U.K., I had the amazing opportunity to work backstage in this incredible space for a weekend. The show was Space Spectacular, and to give you an idea about how “spectacular” it was, there were over 200 moving lights, four sets of laser lights, and fireworks all set to the music of space.

As I was assisting our events staff, I got to help with set up, help the musicians/performers, with anything they needed, see how they set up the rigging for the lights (as 200 moving lights are definitelyIMG_1903 copy not standard for shows at Royal Albert Hall), assist the music librarian backstage, etc. In
this capacity, not only did I have full access to the building (which is a circular maze full of nooks and crannies just waiting to be explored, in your free time of course), I also had the opportunity to network with some of the premier musicians in the city and the staff of the theatre, making invaluable connections that I will be able to use for the rest of my life. After the day of “work”, I got to attend the show for free with a friend and experience all of that hard work brought to life in a show that was full of fun and excitement. As a musician, and a stagehand, this is the most magnificent theatre I have ever had the pleasure of working in.


As the marketing intern with Raymond Gubbay, I also got to work on a 6-day music festival at the famous Kew Gardens, seeing it through from the end of the marketing campaign, working onsite during the festival itself, and compiling the 50 page marketing and sales analysis after it ended. Walking over 10 miles/day during this time, this was yet another one of the most rewarding, and most exhausting, experiences of my time in London. Working so closely on this project, I really became a member of the team, with my own responsibilities and duties within the group.

Working onsite during “Kew the Music”, became the absolute highlight of my internship. With full access to the site, I got to see every facet of what goes into making a festival of this magnitude possible (every night was sold out with 8,000 people in attendance), from the management, stage, security, set up/tear down, marketing,DSC_0003
photographers/ videographers, etc. And by making friends with other members of the staff working there, I had way more fun at work than I ever thought possible. If there’s anything I will take away from this trip, it’s that the people around you can make an experience amazing even in the most grueling of circumstances (walking 10 miles in the pouring rain, for example).

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