Before the Downbeat The Symphony NH Blog

  • New Horizons

    Hello again, dear readers! It’s marketing intern Heather here flying solo as I reflect on some recent happenings within the Symphony NH family and look towards the near future here (with one month left for me, the end is in sight, sadly enough). If you’re like me, you’re still rubbing the tiredness out of your eyes after a well-deserved July 4th vacation — but with the Symphony as active as it is, reality beckons once again.

    Before I delve into the major fundraiser approaching for the intern team, I’d like to make a special mention of a recent departure in the Symphony NH family. Two weeks ago, our office said goodbye to an integral member of our team, Nick Adams, as he prepares for the next stage of his life and career at the Longwood Symphony in Boston. Nick’s formal title was Director of Operations, but for the interns, he was the captain of the ship, our beloved boss. On our busiest days, we saw him answer phone call after phone call, finish one task only to have a laundry list of others lurking in the shadows, and meet with Friends of the Symphony and customers alike to discuss big picture plans and small details while keeping everyone happy, barely having time for a break amidst the craziness and unpredictability that comes with an administrative management position. I never once saw Nick lose his patience with anyone or let the craziness keep him from doing his job, taking everything in stride and still making time for professional development with myself and my fellow interns once a week.

    If I forget everything Nick ever tried to instill upon me, I will always remember his key piece of advice upon departure: something along the lines of, “above all else, how you treat people will get you farthest in life.” Nick is level-headed, kind, accommodating, and warm, traits you could argue are essential to working in a people-oriented position where connections benefit the good of the organization and tether oneself to the roots of a community. Not to mention, Nick is clearly a dedicated family man; I can only imagine how much his big heart has touched the lives of his wife and his two daughters.

    We will certainly miss Nick’s presence around the office, but we wish him the best in his new position, and we know he will continue to impress and inspire those around him wherever he goes. If you’re reading this, Nick, I hope you accept my sincere appreciation for hiring me for this internship and having faith in me to fulfill my promises, however little justice these words may serve to that purpose.

    While you’re all busy drying your eyes, I ask that you make note of the upcoming Symphony NH Yard Sale on August 2nd at 93 Concord St. Tax-deductible donations are now being accepted at our office at 6 Church St. in Nashua for an event of gigantic proportions, which will include face painting for children, raffles, and more. Drop off your items now, and make sure to check out the great deals on the day of the event!

    As always, the Symphony thanks you for your continued support, and I thank you for taking the time to read my simple words.

    Musically yours,

    Heather

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  • For Sale: Wisdom (Priceless)

    Happy Tuesday, readers! It’s Tara writing from the Symphony NH office with another intern update.

    Two weeks ago, we began planning for our main group intern project, a yard sale fundraiser in August. Although all of us are accomplished individuals with some experience in event planning (both in our personal lives and from assisting with the Nashua Garden Tour and Noche Mexicana, for example), we have never taken on an event of this magnitude by ourselves before. The supportive staff at Symphony NH will be available to help us upon request, but ultimately the goal of this task is to make our own decisions, map out our own planning schedule, and independently organize the event.

    As one of the organizers of the yard sale, I of course have my fears about the outcome. What if rain dampers our plans? What if we’re lucky enough to have beautiful weather, but we still don’t receive enough business to make a worthwhile profit? What if something goes wrong, like if I were to drop a TV on my foot and have to visit the emergency room? (Before you laugh at the ridiculousness of that notion, it actually happened at a previous SNH yard sale). Taking on the yard sale is definitely a risk because our profits might not align with the amount of time and effort we devote to it, and with all risks comes the potential to fail.

    But perhaps failure can provide something even more valuable than success. No matter how much money we raise, the yard sale will still be a learning experience and an opportunity to bond within our intern group. After spending the upcoming months preparing extensively for the event by organizing a drive for donations, marketing the yard sale to SNH’s audience and the general public with promotional materials, and contacting all the necessary people to ensure that the day runs as smoothly as possible, I speak on behalf of all the interns when I say that we expect to feel a sense of pride when it’s over, even if the end result doesn’t match up exactly with our ambitious hopes. And if it does, then all the better – I’ll consider it a stroke of good fortune.

    I suppose my philosophical wisdom for the day is that you will never regret devoting 100% of your effort into the things you care about. Even if you fail, you will have gained beneficial experience and learned difficult (but important) lessons that unite over time to shape your resilience and maturity. I’m still working on embracing failure, and it’s likely that I will never stop working on it for years to come. But perhaps that process of acceptance, of coming to terms with disappointment, can give me the peace of mind I need to grow throughout the rest of my life.

    Okay, I’ll stop here before I start sounding like a cliché graduation speech. Stay tuned for more updates on the yard sale and make sure to set aside the first Saturday in August (the 2nd) for the event! In the meantime, start cleaning out your closets if you wish to donate and stay in touch with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for upcoming Symphony NH news.

    Musically yours,

    Tara

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  • Flowers and Fiestas

    Greetings fellow music lovers! It’s blog managers Heather and Tara again writing to inform you of June fundraisers well underway at Symphony NH. The summer haze hasn’t gotten to the interns yet as we prioritize a hefty volume of tasks for this season (did you see our kanban board on Instagram?).

    Tara: Diving right in, make sure you grab your sombreros, because it’s time for Symphony NH’s Noche Mexicana fundraiser at Margarita’s Mexican Restaurant!

    To be a part of this fun-filled evening, come to 1 Nashua Drive in Nashua on Tuesday, June 24th anytime between 4:00 and 10:00 pm. 15% of pre-taxed food and beverage sales from participating families, friends and supporters will be donated to Symphony NH so we can continue to share the gift of music with our beloved community. Guests can choose items from any of the menus, takeout orders included, and you can also call ahead for seating at (603) 883-0996.

    To ensure that your check gets counted toward the fundraiser, make sure to let the host at Margaritas know that you are there to support the event. You will also need to present a Fundraiser Handbill to your server when you finish your meal. These handbills can be printed off the Facebook event, or stop by the office to pick up a few for your friends. Another convenient option is showing the handbill on your smartphone! If you forget to bring a handbill, the restaurant will provide you with one at the host stand when you arrive; just let the host know you wish to participate in the fundraiser.

    Remember to join our Facebook event page and share with your friends! There might even be an added bonus for sharers of the event, or you could be a winner of a Noche Mexicana raffle on the night of the event. Stay tuned for details.

    Heather: Authentic Mexican food is great, but what if you’re looking for more ways to support your favorite arts nonprofit? The Symphony NH office is buzzing with activity right now as we prepare for our other June event biting at the heels of Noche Mexicana, the Nashua Garden Tour. This year’s Garden Tour takes place on June 28-29 from 10 am to 3 pm across several Nashua locations. The Friends of Symphony NH along with the office staff are working hard to make this Garden Tour better than ever with five beautiful homes, impeccable gardens, and plenty of friendly faces ready to welcome you.

    Tickets can be purchased for $20 at the first garden on the tour at 93 Concord St. in Nashua on the day of the event or $17 in advance at SymphonyNH.org or at the following outlets:

    -Symphony Office, 6 Church St., Nashua
    -Beckonings, 221 Main St., Nashua
    -Country Brook Farms, 176 Lowell Rd., Hudson
    -Topiary Florist, 165 Amherst St., Nashua
    -Carm’s Gift Shoppe, 707 Milford Rd., Merrimack
    -Fortin Gage, 86 W. Pearl St., Nashua

    And as always, make sure to RSVP on Facebook and share with your friends! You can even follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and be sure to tag our handle (@Symphony_NH for both) or hashtag Symphony NH (#symphonynh) on any event-related posts so we can see what our followers are up to. The Symphony cannot operate without your valued support, and we look forward to meeting as many of you as possible at our June events (we’re fairly easy to spot–just look for the set of twins!).

    Musically yours,

    Heather and Tara

    Bring a handbill to Margarita's on Noche Mexicana to support Symphony NH.

    Bring a handbill to Margarita’s on Noche Mexicana to support Symphony NH.

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  • Learning the Ropes

    Allow us to introduce ourselves: we’re Heather and Tara Hardy, two of Symphony NH’s newest interns for the summer (and the only set of twins to have ever worked here!). As native Hudson residents, we graduated from Alvirne High School and are currently attending New York University in Manhattan as Music Education students.

    Heather: Today marks our fourth day in the office and our first day as blog managers. In this first work week, our supervisor Nick has definitely kept us busy with a variety of tasks. For example, this past Friday we both assisted the SNH staff at the Symphony NH Chorus “Song of Celebration” concert. I manned the box office for most of the evening, managing ticket sales and directing singers to their rehearsal space. It was definitely crazy during the pre-concert rush as concertgoers lined up patiently to buy their tickets, but seeing the robust turnout gave me greater insight into the impact of Symphony NH on our local community and just how supportive New Hampshire residents are of the arts.

    Tara: In the meantime, I checked tickets at the door and handed out programs to concert attendees. I also had the unique experience of turning pages for the Chorus’s accompanist, Roderick Phipps-Kettlewell. Normally I have always been the one at the piano bench, so having an outsider’s perspective was all at once intimidating and interesting. At first, I was worried that I would mess up and ruin the entire performance. But as the concert progressed and I became more comfortable in my role, I noticed just how passionate the accompanist was when he played – an observation that reminded me of my own love for clarinet performance. Knowing that everybody in the concert hall was there for the music made me appreciate the opportunity to be involved in the event.

    Heather: Another part of our job at the Symphony NH office is performing administrative work that is usually behind the scenes. For example, we recently archived past event programs for the Symphony NH website. While the data entry itself was a bit dry, seeing pieces the Symphony has performed that I already love allowed me to make connections to the multi-faceted field of Music Education. The pieces I studied in my Music History classes do not have to disappear from my mind — I can be appreciating this music for years to come in a future career or as a Symphony NH concertgoer. It’s amazing to me that pieces that were enormously popular hundreds of years ago are still relevant today, kept alive by arts supporters even in our relatively small state. And might I mention, this is some heavy duty repertoire–pieces that require a demanding ensemble to execute them successfully. Symphony NH certainly steps up to the challenge, and does not disappoint.

    Tara: We can also make connections to our field of study through the professional development opportunities given to us at the office. Every week, Nick asks us to find blogs and articles relevant to our future careers, and he spearheads a discussion amongst the intern team on how we can translate those writings into advice for our own lives. Hearing anecdotes from his personal experience on topics like resume building and the job hunt after college is both motivating and useful; I try to soak in as much information as I can, since such advice rarely comes without a price in today’s world.

    Heather: But what would an internship be if the professional development aspect was isolated from the actual work? Nick emphasized that our work here is not running out for coffee and mindlessly making copies (although even that is a necessary evil at times). We receive professional development every time we sit down to do our jobs. For example, we’ve done a lot of work marketing for our upcoming Nashua Garden Tour in addition to Noche Mexicana, a night of food and fun to benefit SNH at Margarita’s. Emailing businesses, calling potential advertisers, and walking around Downtown to hang up posters get me thinking about my role as a band teacher someday trying to “market” my music program to a school board, alumni trustees, and the entire community. As funding for school arts programs unfortunately sees heavy cuts across the nation, we need skilled administrators and directors advocating efficiently for their programs and striving towards innovation with the resources available to them. It’s a lot of work, some of which isn’t visible to others, but there is still a plethora of opportunities for creative thinking and inspired work. When I feel like I am making a difference, my passion for the arts can only bloom.

    Tara: With all of these opportunities for professional growth come the chance to gain a great deal from this internship, both in terms of skills applicable to our intended career paths as well as completely new experiences in marketing and communications. We both hope to learn as much as possible this summer, and we’re excited to see what the future holds as we begin work on our intern project. Stay tuned for more updates!

    Musically yours,

    Heather and Tara

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  • A Home Run for Colla Voce

    From guest blogger Amy DeRoche, Symphony NH Chorus President and Colla Voce member…

    The email came out of the blue. Can Colla Voce sing the National Anthem at the May 17th Red Sox game? It’s New Hampshire day at Fenway and we’d like you to come. Well, it was a no brainer. Sing at Fenway? Yes! We sent off our reply, and for the next week, we watched the weather like hawks. Rain was predicted and had us worried.

    Saturday morning finally came, and we woke to sunshine and an absolutely beautiful day! We received our instructions of where to meet, and before we knew it, we were waiting at gate D to be let in for sound check.  We were led inside the ball park and down a dark tunnel. All of a sudden, we emerged in the sun and were greeted by the green grass of Fenway Park. We were brought down to the field, and just like that, we were standing behind home plate!

    Right away, our phones were out, taking as many pictures as possible of the home of our favorite team and of each other. Every moment needed to be savored. We were given instructions on how things would happen that night, and we sang the National Anthem to test the microphones. Immediately we were greeted by cheers from the seats above. Tours were being held in the stadium, and we were a hit already!

    After sound check, we were released and spent the afternoon in Boston. Everyone was buzzing with excitement about the game that night and of being able to actually stand on the grass at Fenway. Six o’clock came, and we all regrouped outside our appointed gate. We met our Fenway ambassador and were led to the Fenway green room along with Miss NH and other valued members of the NH community.

    Then it was time to go. We were put in order of appearance and marched out on the field. The excitement was in the air, and the game was sold out. We were about to sing in front of 35,000 New Hampshire Red Sox fans! The next few minutes were a blur. We walked out on the grass, got our pitch,  and were off. Our 90 seconds of fame was upon us!

    After it was over, we received many wonderful compliments. They ranged from fans attending the game to Red Sox executives who told us just “how special” our version of the National Anthem was. It will truly and forever be one of the most special days for the members of Colla Voce.

    Colla Voce is presented on the jumbotron at Fenway Park as they sing the National Anthem.

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  • Aca-WOW! Spring Sing Success

    Let’s start off by saying if you missed this concert, you really missed out. The excitement, the singing, the dancing, and the crowd going wild… Derryfield School was the place to be.

    Almost at full capacity, the Derryfield School Performing Arts Center was roaring with applause. Every performance had the audience dancing in their seats and clapping away to the music.

    Host Mike Morin from WZID’s “NH in the Morning” kicked off the night with Colla Voce, the chamber group from our own Symphony NH chorus, who warmed up the audience with their upbeat performances. Following them, Peking and the Mystics (former Beelzebubs members) took the stage and brought the audience back with some oldies and left big smiles on their faces.

    Champions of the October a capella festival competition, Voices of the 603, West High Blue Knight Chamber Choir amazed everyone with their vocal talent as they bravely sang, Brave by Sara Bareilles. Redline, a Boston-based a cappella group, blew the roof off the place with their versions of recent hip-hop numbers. Redline had the entire audience waving their hands in the air like they did not care.

    This concert sounds amazing, right? Well…that was only the first half. Yes, there is more.

    Starting off the second half was the vibrant, the lovely, the gracious, Profile Chorus. Profile Chorus is an award-winning women’s a cappella show chorus based in the southern New Hampshire area. These ladies had us toe-tapping and then brought us down for a beautiful, heart-warming, final song.

    Last, but certainly not least, our headliner of the night was the Beezlebubs. Tufts University’s all-male a cappella group brought the house down. Each song brought a different emotion to the audience. One performance, soloed by their bass singer, gave you the chills throughout your body as he hit those astonishing low notes. The performance made you yell out in excitement like you were in church yelling out, “Amen!”

    The concert was like no other and certainly not something you will ever forget. Next time, be sure to join in the fun!

    - Emily Colon (Spring 2014 Intern)

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