Festival inspires with music; internships
Some (not all) of the kids who volunteered, or interned, or shadowed at the Festival.
The new state-of-the-art light and sound system inside the Robinson Pavilion at Anyela’s Vineyard did more than produce beautiful music for the Skaneateles Festival this summer. It helped create greater opportunities for students and stronger links between the festival and the Skaneateles Central School District.
A group of student interns and volunteers had close-up real world exposure to sound engineering while also meeting some of this country’s best classical and jazz musicians.
Five students had paid internships, and were able to do quite a bit of shadowing in the industry while also being paid to help pull off logistics for the festival in its new venue. Three were from Corey Riley’s music technology class at the high school; the others were recruited from the High School Jazz Band roster. Riley has been active in developing courses in sound engineering in the high school since joining the district as middle school band teacher in 2014.
This summer, Riley was hired as a technical assistant by the Festival to support the extra work needed to run the Robinson Pavilion’s more elaborate sound and lighting system. He also became an additional bridge between the festival and the school district.
“The Skaneateles Festival and the Skaneateles Education Foundation both want to connect students more with shadowing opportunities,” he said. It couldn’t get much better than having famous, talented musicians right here in Skaneateles to work, listen to and talk with through the month of August. Students worked with Riley and visiting sound engineers at all Saturday concerts. In addition, “one student was assigned per week to help the festival’s recording engineer with recording,” he said.
As in other years, many other students joined in to help with set up, seating, parking, and general operational duties like signage, he said. Nearly all musicians themselves, the students were able to soak in the experience of being with talented people who have developed a wide range of successful careers in music.
A large student crew was on hand to help and to listen when international star and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis brought the entire Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra to the new stage at Anyela's. Students met the nine-time Grammy winner and heard the show in an up-close and personal way. The 15-piece ensemble included top soloists and arrangers. Marsalis, the MC as well as lead performer, blended a lively history lesson of jazz into the concert.
Riley said for the Wynton Marsalis concert, he and the students were there to “ensure we had everything that Wynton Marsalis’ sound engineer needed.” With other groups, as with Time for Three, students were able to shadow Riley as he ran sound.
“The students spent time shadowing me at the mixing console and helped with tasks like microphone set up and tear down,” he said.
“These guys were amazing,” Riley said of the Time for Three musicians. “They were very friendly and gracious with the students. Joel, the tour manager, took the time to work with the students and show them the ropes. The picture was taken after the group signed autographs for the audience members. The venue was empty, everyone had left and all the work was done. The musicians stuck around to take a picture with the kids and to encourage them to continue to play their instruments and to be involved in music making! A very cool experience.”
Paid summer interns included: Matt Oliver, Ben Blackwell, Alex Van Riper, Alex Flannagan, Jonathan Niebuhr and Ethan Goldstein. Will Johnson was a student volunteer. A number of alumni helped with the festival in the same capacity. Three students who shadowed the recording engineer were Ben Blackwell, Matthew Oliver and Alex Van Riper.