Sue Buzzard is a violinist and Berklee alumna from the east coast who recently interned with The Monterey Jazz Festival in Monterey, CA.* In the second and final post, Sue evaluates what it was like living and Monterey and how the festival went as a whole.
Living in Monterey
- Complimentary Housing: Many thanks to Jim Costello, Monterey Jazz Fest board member who has contributed his residence in Pacific Grove to the past three interns. Staying there rent-free was an enormous asset.
- Proximity to the ocean: Gorgeous view for after-work walks
- Distance from housing to office/fairgrounds: Bring a car, or get a ride. You cannot walk or safely bike to the office or the fairgrounds, as it requires crossing the freeway. I carpooled from Pacific grove with both Rob Klevan and Jan Stotzer.
- Proximity to the ocean: Gorgeous view, but it gets cold since you’re by the bay. I thought all of CA was warm and sunny. That’s just LA. Bring a sweater.
- Preparation: All our prep made me feel prepared for everything, and as the week before the festival progressed, a steady sense of urgency grew all around me, bringing up my own sense of preparedness. I fed off of the collective energy of everyone, handling mini situations and putting out mini fires. When the weekend came around, I felt informed about possible situations and could tell my volunteer crew what to expect.
- Keeping calm: Everyone I worked with kept a cool head with me and everyone else. Even when a pressing situation presented myself and I didn’t know how to solve it, I never exploded or blamed myself. I sometimes moved extra quickly and responded curtly to persons, but I didn’t want to appear frantic.
- Learning on the job: What I loved learning, mostly, was how to interact with professionals in real life. I acted alongside persons who had been working in this field for ten, fifteen, twenty-five years. Watching them go through the motions the way motions are supposed to be done taught me more than any textbook. Watching verbal interactions between the press and Timothy taught me about courtesy and getting to a point quickly. Listening to Jan in the office talk about ticket distribution with Pam in sales showed me what was important in their world of customer service and satisfaction. More of this, please.
- Too many details: A lot of new things were in effect at the festival this year. A lot of new people were in charge in different departments, and with a change of personnel came a change of patterns. One new installment was a database system that I became very familiar with working under Bill. In pre-production, it was amazing for keeping everything organized. But when you don’t have enough time to organize everything into nice neat little piles on the database, it can become a hindrance. My frustration came from knowing when it was important to painstakingly label everything correctly, and when I just had to hand out documents, keys and badges willy-nilly. In the heat of the moment, when ten people are in line, you can’t take time to search through the system to find their name and credential number.
- Lots of new things: Tacking onto the details comment, the fact that there were lots of new things added to the stress sometimes. New computer systems, new methods of credential/press distribution, new water bottles – a lot of NEW stuff to adjust to this year. A lot of people come to the festival year after year after year, and when systems change it can cause unnecessary waiting and stress on them. They expect to be treated like old friends, and new workers don’t know this. Transition is difficult on a 50+ year establishment like Monterey. Not that the choices that people in charge made were bad, just difficult to deal with on top of the usual festival craziness. Being the new kid was fun in that regard, too, as I was regaled with tales of, “Y’know, LAST year we didn’t have all this crazy stuff….” In my personal opinion, adjusting to change is always difficult, and though at times I questioned why certain things were being done for the festival, in the end the ONLY thing that mattered was dealing with the difficult situation in front of you at the moment, not blaming its cause.
Next year people will be more prepared to deal with new changes and installments. I hope the new management does its best to listen to everyone’s feedback and use it to run an even better ship in 2012. All I care about, really, is everyone enjoying working hard together to put on a good show.
Good luck next year, Monterey Jazz Festival. I hope to return and experience it all again.
*Reposted with permission from Sue Buzzard
Read Sue’s Other Posts
Sue Buzzard is a warrior of the acoustic string music revolution. Following her studies in classical and jazz music techniques in her hometown of Buffalo, NY, she studied a plethora of violin sounds at The Berklee College of Music.
Sue graduated with a double degree in Violin Performance and Professional Music in the spring of 2010, and has since been performing and seeking more ways to bring string music to the masses through production and education. Sue is on faculty at The Rivers School Conservatory in Weston starting this fall, where she will teach Jazz Violin.
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