Summer Centered: Grace Coberly '21 Shares the Benefits of Music
The music and linguistics double major has taken on two internships in the Chicago music world this summer.
Rather than spending the summer getting one foot in the door of Chicago’s musical field, Grace Coberly ’21 (she/they) decided to get both in. Funded by the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities, the double major in music and linguistics is splitting her time between a position at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and another at The People’s Music School.
Luckily, Coberly is well acquainted with at least half of the work she is taking on, as this is the second summer she’s interned with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. At Lyric, she’s working in their PR department, specifically for the Lyric Unlimited (LU) division, which performs community outreach and educational programming for the historic opera house.
“I’m writing all of the press releases for the season’s mainstage operas, proofreading brochures and programs, and scanning and archiving old newspaper clippings,” she said. “I also have a few long-term projects with LU—a collaborative 2000-word article on LU’s youth programs and a collection of testimonials that I’ll gather from participants in EmpowerYouth, one such youth program designed for minority students from Chicago’s South and West sides.”
The educational tilt of Coberly’s work at Lyric pairs well with her second internship on the north side of the city with the People’s Music School’s summer camp. The People’s Music School values the transformative and ordering effect of music on young lives and, consequently, is dedicated to sharing it with as many individuals as possible.
“I do whatever needs to be done: set up for events, organize crafts, and so on,” she said, describing her responsibilities. “The most valuable work I do there is assisting class instructors. I’ve helped with composition, bucket drumming, and experimental performance classes.”
The rising junior was drawn to both of her positions by each of the organizations' respective commitment towards spreading music to Chicago communities. Furthermore, her dual internships have exposed her to a series of uses for her musical passion and major.
“I really value the music education I’ve received at Haverford so far, but due to the philosophy and small size of the music department, I haven’t learned much about the ways in which I can apply my knowledge to a career,” she said. “This summer, I get to experience two artistic fields while leaning on a background of extensive music education to contextualize my work.”
Not only has Coberly relied on her two positions to inform her studies, but she’s also been able to learn more about each by juxtaposing it with the other.
“They’re very different environments to work in, but they’ve taught me the same thing: a workplace is shaped by the people who work there,” she said. “I’ve grown very close with my coworkers and fellow interns thanks to our common interest in sharing music with the world.”
Coberly’s two internships have helped her realize a commitment to pursuing the more communal aspects of a career in a musical field.
“I hope to go into music education or arts administration, so this combination of internships has been absolutely perfect for me,” she said. “While their differences are valuable, I’ve also been reflecting a lot on how these jobs intersect. At their cores, both organizations intend to bring music into the life of the average person. I’ve found my passion in doing just that.”
“Summer Centered” is a series exploring our students’ Center-funded summer work.