Name: Eve Murphy
Class Year: 2022
Major: Music and Sociology
Hometown: Rockland County, N.Y.
Internship Organization: Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia
Job Title: Intern
Award: Otto and Gertrude Pollak Fund
It may seem like the Avenue of the Arts—the center city cultural district—has been frozen in time. The many performing ensembles of Philadelphia have waited to return to their theaters until it is safe for the arts community. The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, a 33-member professional ensemble led by Music Director Sir Dirk Brossé, a founding member at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, will return to the Perelman Theater in the fall but for the summer, they’ve ventured out into the suburbs for a series in Stoneleigh, a natural garden.
I applied for this internship because I’ve tried my hand at a lot of different work in nonprofit arts administration and was really glad to find an opportunity to work with such a distinguished orchestral ensemble. And I was particularly interested to be part of this new concert series and the transition into a new performance season at the Kimmel Center.
I’m working with ticketing and patron management software for the first time and managing data which will enable this organization to demonstrate its resilience from the difficulties of the past year and a half. This means having to juggle the confines of the software with the idiosyncrasies of customer service, for example, weighing in seating preferences while I fulfill season subscriptions. Box office work can really fly under the radar. Even after working for a theater for many years, I had never thought about how many aspects of ticketing need a human touch even in today’s age of technology.
I’m continually touched by the enthusiasm for the arts that you find in patrons of a place like the Chamber Orchestra. At the concerts in the garden, I’ve been handing people their seating assignments and getting to experience such excitement for the return to live music. I talk to patrons on the phone who may tell me they lost their spouse since our last performance, or that they’ve moved addresses always following with how much they are looking forward to hearing their favorite composers in the upcoming season.
And I’m learning about what it takes to make that happen from behind the scenes. I get to be a piece of the puzzle—whether it’s importing data, posting on Facebook, or creating bar graphs about past season revenues for the big board meeting. Does it cost more to buy everyone umbrellas or to reschedule the concert in the event of rain? It’s not always glamorous. But I’ve always found that mundane work is made more rewarding by the end prospect of contributing to a rich arts community. So, getting to be part of the garden concert events along the way has been a great motivator.
I’ve also felt very fortunate to be able to come into the city to work in a real office after a summer of remote work. I’ve gotten to find new small coffee shops and read in Rittenhouse Square Park and learn these new skills face to face, in a way I would’ve previously taken for granted.
Visit the Summer Internship Stories page to read more about student internship experiences.