Thanks to the Canada Summer Jobs program,
Kendra Litwin joins the Edmonton Opera team this year as an Arts Administration
Assistant. Designed to provide students experience within their field, the
program enables not-for-profit organizations like ours to employ young people
and further their professional development. This summer, Edmonton Opera has also welcomed Connor MacDonald to the team as a Production Assistant through the same program.
We asked Kendra to share some insights
about her summer as Arts Admin Assistant. Read on to discover how this
enthusiastic young professional sums up her experience at Edmonton Opera!
How did you hear about the job posting at Edmonton Opera?
I’m a music student at the University of Alberta, and the Voice Department had shared the job posting with its students. I was chatting with a friend of mine in the Voice Department about having difficulties finding an interesting summer job related to my field, and she told me about the opportunity with Edmonton Opera.
What did you
know about the organization beforehand, and how did that factor into your
decision to apply?
I didn’t know
much about opera before applying – I had been to a couple of Edmonton Opera’s
productions, but that was it. Because of my inexperience, there was a small
part of me that was actually hesitant to apply, and I questioned if I could do
the job, knowing so little about opera. Thankfully there was another part of me
that wanted to try something different, learn new skills, and grow personally
educational background and your career interests.
up my Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance this year, after which I plan to
enter Bachelor of Education After-Degree program. That being said, after
working with Edmonton Opera this summer, I’ve gained an interest in the
possibility of pursuing arts administration as a career.
How has working
as the Summer Arts Admin Assistant honed your skills, and what new
possibilities have you discovered?
This summer I
have refined many of my existing administrative skills such as communication,
organization and filing, and educational programming, as well as garnered new
experiences in contract creation, personnel management, community building, and
so much more. I’m looking forward to acquiring training on our database system,
and have discovered more about what work in arts administration might look
like, should I choose to pursue it.
What do you
like best about working with Edmonton Opera?
office cat certainly brightens my day. In all
seriousness, I’ve loved seeing a new side of what goes into a production. In
the past, I have been a part of pit orchestras, musical casts, and helped out
technical theatre assistants, but never really had the opportunity to see all
of the behind-the-scenes administrative work that goes into a production. It’s
been a truly incredible experience for me to be even a small part of it all.
do you think initiatives such as the Canada Summer Jobs program are? How do
young people and arts organizations benefit?
programs like this are incredibly important! They present an amazing opportunity
for students to get involved in organizations that they are interested in, work
in a field related to their study, and gain applicable skills for when they
graduate and enter the professional world.
most arts organizations are not-for-profit organizations and initiatives such
as Canada Summer Jobs provide funding for some much-needed help in the summer
to prepare for the upcoming season. It also gives the organization a very
unique opportunity to reach out to younger generations and to have a direct and
unforgettable impact in the personal and professional development of students.
opinion, how does opera impact the Edmonton community?
Edmonton is a
fairly arts-heavy city: we have the one of the largest Fringe Theatre Festivals
in North America, a number of music festivals in the summer, and visits from
performance companies like Alberta Ballet and Broadway Across Canada. Opera is
one more facet of the rich arts culture present in Edmonton, and one that I
wish more people would take the time to discover and experience.
believe that participation in any form of art is good for the soul, whether
you’re watching a play at Fringe, going to the Art Gallery of Alberta, seeing
the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra perform, or attending one of Edmonton Opera’s shows
this season. Artistic expression is a catalyst for personal development: it
provides discussion points and stimulates necessary cultural engagement on an
individual and societal level.
I have had the
chance to see firsthand just how invested Edmonton Opera is in building
community within the city. From planning outreach events in schools and
universities, to taking up residence at a few local Farmers' Markets this
summer, they are constantly trying to be present in our city. They create
educational opportunities by inviting schools to the final dress rehearsal of
each production, and provide curriculum-based activities for teachers to do
with students to help them understand the opera more. Edmonton Opera is an
organization that tries to be as accessible and present in the community as
possible. Opera is an incredible art form: the stories presented are fantastic,
the sets and costumes are absolutely gorgeous, and they often have a very
applicable moral or a critical issue to be discussed.
thoughts you’d like to share?
here at Edmonton Opera have been so great – the people here are incredible, and
I’ve learned so much. This upcoming season will be awe-inspiring, so I would
really recommend to anyone even a little bit curious about opera to attend one
of our productions.
To learn more about the Canada Summer Jobs program, visit the Service Canada page or view the 2016 News Release.