2008 marks the third summer of our internship program, which gives college students hands-on participation in operations, decision-making, and the continued evolution of Rush Hour in its mission. We are fortunate to have four intelligent and energetic young people with a passion for live music and community building with us this summer, thanks to generous funding from the James S. Kemper Foundation.

I’ve asked them to respond directly to a few questions, and now I’d like to introduce them to you here, via their own words and thoughts.

Nick Feder, rising sophomore at Sarah Lawrence College
Ian Ford, rising senior at the University of Chicago
Louise Geraghty, rising senior at Connecticut College
Megan Kingsbury, rising sophomore at the University of Chicago

(L to R) Louise Geraghty, Megan Kingsbury, Ian Ford, and Nick Feder

(L to R) Louise Geraghty, Megan Kingsbury, Ian Ford, and Nick Feder

On any given RH work day, what is someone most likely to find you doing?

Nick: I’m generally sitting in front of my computer working on the website, editing podcasts, editing photos from the concerts, and making posters. And eating.

Ian: I mainly help out with the financial aspect of Rush Hour. The organization has many expenses and revenues, and part of my job is to help keep track of them all. I track all of our wonderful donors, and make sure to help thank them at the end of the process (Because it can’t be said enough: Thank You!) On concert days, you probably won’t find me at the reception with the other interns, because I’m “hiding” in the back making sure the artists have everything they need.

Louise: I am most likely engaged in a battle with Microsoft Word or e-mailing someone about information for the program.

Megan: Well, I’m rarely sitting at the intern round table! I’m usually out and about-spreading the word about Rush Hour with brochures, shopping for supplies or meeting with sponsors and volunteers.

What are your other hobbies and interests?

Ian: I have been playing music for most of my life, and still find time to practice my two instruments, bass and piano. I also play chess and do a lot of biking. I like the bike more than the CTA, so on most mornings you can find me on the lake path heading out for another day at Rush Hour.

Louise: I like clothes, singing, playing violin, and ethnomusicology.

Megan: I’m always practicing and performing with “Off-Off Campus,” an improv and sketch comedy group. I also enjoy dancing, running and cupcakes.

Nick: I suppose my biggest hobby and interest is food. (Ask anyone in the office- they can attest to that.) During the summer, my TV (among other things) becomes my main hobby and interest. During the school year, I’m the musical director of Sarah Lawrence’s all-male a cappella group, “Vocal Minority.”

What is your favorite thing about Rush Hour?

Louise: The music! I love that all of my work goes toward hearing a great concert every Tuesday.

Megan: I love standing at the back of St. James during a concert and watching the audience react to the music-some people bob their heads with the beat, some people have their eyes closed and these perfectly serene smiles on their faces-each person becomes involved with the music in their own way, which is great to witness.

Nick: My favorite and, in my mind, the most pervasive aspect of RH is its accessibility-even in the office! The senior staff has included the interns in a lot of the decision making for this season. To have that kind of access, even as an intern, is really exciting and challenging.

Ian: I have been very impressed by the music. Before I applied, I had no idea it would be this good. Rush Hour brings in world-class musicians on a weekly basis, for free! This is something I am usually happy to pay good money for. This organization is truly committed to an extremely high standard-only the best.

Why did you get involved with Rush Hour?

Megan: Rush Hour seemed like the perfect way to gain hands-on experience with an arts organization-and it really is!

Louise: Rush Hour’s approach to the concert experience in emphasizing their accessibility seemed quite unique and something in which I would like to partake.

Ian: A job in the music world was too good to turn down. I’m a music lover, and the opportunity to explore this as a possible career path was very exciting. When I interviewed with Rush Hour in April, and I easily recognized the worth of the organization. They do an amazing job of making great music accessible to all, in a day and age when it really isn’t.

I’ve never been on the administrative side of an organization like this. Having been to many classical concert series around the city, I was only granted access to the performance and nothing else. I was really interested in how things worked and what it took to put on a series of this kind.

Why is classical music important to you, and why do you think it is important for people to have access to it?

Ian: I grew up playing classical music; it is a part of me. More than that, though, classical music is an important piece of musical history and culture. We should all listen to and even study the works of the great geniuses in music, and many of these greats came from the era of “classical” music.

Nick: Classical music stimulates the brain in a very specific way that many people are not used to. It’s an experience that many ought to have but don’t either because it’s not immediately accessible to them or because it often carries the notion of being “intimidating.” Accessibility is important because the experience can change those previously conceived ideals of what classical music is all about. So in that sense, it’s a two-way street: the performers have to make it accessible and those listening should be open to a new experience.

When I think of my earliest exposure to classical music, I think of Wagner and Looney Tunes and how perfectly the music fit to the cartoon struggles. With further access to the music and educational resources, people can discover that maybe Wagner’s feelings and experiences may not be so far from Bugs Bunny’s. Classical music can communicate shared emotions without the frames of a language or time period; it ties us all together.

Classical music is important to me because I really like listening to it and playing it. It’s important that everyone should be able to access it simply because I think it’s great music: something that everyone can enjoy if they are given a way to listen.

What’s next?

Nick: I was just writing a friend from school saying, “The future is so sublime!” I can’t really tell you what’s next but I can tell you music will, of course, be a part of it. I’m chuggin’ along just fine. So, we’ll see!

Megan: I’ll be starting my second year at the University of Chicago…so my future plans include studying.

Ian: In the future, I hope to graduate from college. Other than that, my only real long-term goal is to someday have enough money saved to buy a big, beautiful Steinway piano.

Louise: I am entering my senior year at Connecticut College, where I will (hopefully) graduate in May with a double major in music (concentration in ethnomusicology) and art history. I am currently investigating funds and programs to travel after graduation to do research on hip-hop and Islam.

We are currently searching for interns for fall 2008, winter/spring 2009, and summer 2009. If you are interested with an internship with Rush Hour, please contact me for more information at julie@rushhour.org or 773.338.9480.

– Julie Hutchison

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