Monday, November 2, 2015

Guest blog: Graduate Assistant Katie Woodford reflects upon her performing arts experiences

Here at Sangamon Auditorium, we are fortunate to be a vibrant part of a public university, interacting with college students alongside the public.  I asked our current graduate assistant, Katie Woodford, to reflect upon the experiences she's had so far with us, and she offered up the following thoughts:  

Throughout my life I have witnessed and participated again and again in the beauty of the performing arts. Whether singing in the children's church musical at a young age or watching a professional production as I grew older, theater performances were always special and important in my life. Throughout my high school and college career, I have enjoyed watching shows at the Sangamon Auditorium. With such a generous student ticket price, Sangamon Auditorium has made it possible to experience spectacular, high quality performances during the course of my college years. Then while pursuing graduate school and an assistantship to pay for this higher education, I was pursued by Sangamon Auditorium for a marketing position. I was thrilled with the opportunity and following the interview process, eagerly awaited my possible selection for the Graduate Assistantship at Sangamon Auditorium.

Now I am the marketing Graduate Assistant for the Sangamon Auditorium and have the opportunity to see the other side of fine arts. We work diligently to promote our shows to specific target audiences while still pursuing overall awareness and knowledge on the expansive array of shows offered by the Auditorium. In addition, I work with many different individuals with a passion for their work and for the importance of culturally diverse offerings. This environment has allowed me to develop as a business woman, performer, and audience member.

I began this season attending the Metropolitan Opera Rising Stars Series event in September. With my new position, I felt I should expose myself to the various presentations Sangamon Auditorium offers.  While I have tons of experience in vocals, opera has never appeared in my repertoire. I took my seat, sat back, and thought, “let’s give this a try.” By intermission I was nearing a state of total awe. The four vocalist sang beautifully and powerfully (without microphones might I add) in a language that meant both nothing and everything to me. Concluding the evening with classic pieces from legendary Broadway shows, the audience erupted in true graditude for such a spectacular evening. From the very beginning to the very end I was blown away with the beauty, control, and power these individuals brought to the stage.

Without Sangamon Auditoriums focus on student involvement and opportunity I would not have pursued this type of event. Investing in the students of UIS now allows for the development of loyal customers in the future. We will one day be (as many like to remind us) “in the real world” and will seek out opportunities of entertainment and beauty in the performing arts. With the fond memories we built during college, many UIS alum will attend and become loyal audience memebers of Sangamon Auditorium. The truth is, few college students had as many opportunities to experience the stage as I did growing up; however with the help of Sangamon Auditorium, UIS students, young children, and experienced veterans can begin and continue to receive and appreciate the true magnificence of live performing arts.

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