Allie Gurland is a fourth-year Music Industry major. For her last co-op, she spent sixth months working at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. The nation’s premier performing arts center hosts hundreds of events a year, including the Kennedy Center Honors and presentation of the Mark Twain Prize. Although her co-op experience has come to a close, she is continuing her work with the Kennedy Center, working with guests of honor for select events. We recently sat down with Allie to catch up on her co-op experience and beyond:
Tell us about your experience at the Kennedy Center. What did your day-to-day responsibilities look like?
I worked in the Shared Services Programming Department at The Kennedy Center, which programs all of the jazz, hip-hop, classical, contemporary, comedy, and special event shows. Every day was different, which was one of the things I loved so much! On some days I’d work on the advance of shows which includes booking travel, hotel, and hospitality for artists and creating backstage lists, itineraries, artist passes, and anything else needed to make the show happen. On show days I’d do anything from organizing dressing rooms and going on food runs to wrangling artists and acting as their point person. There were also random days when I was an assistant stage manager or a guide for a DC Public Schools Choral Festival. No two days were the same and it was so much fun!
Were there any particular shows that were memorable?
My favorite show that I worked on was a comedy group called Baby Wants Candy. It was the first show where I was actually in charge backstage and the group was there for four shows over the course of two days, so I really got to know them and spend time with them. The show was a completely improvised musical, and the actors were so funny and talented. I’d never seen anything like it! Other highlights were a book talk by Questlove, a Lea Michele and Darren Criss concert, and The Mark Twain Prize for Humor, where I got to spend 48 hours wrangling Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer from Broad City. They were all so nice and a pleasure to work with!
How was living in Washington DC? When you weren’t working, what were some aspects of the city you enjoyed?
Living in DC was so fun! My favorite spot to hang out was Georgetown because it’s so cute and charming and has a lot of great food and fun shops! I also took advantage of the monuments and all the free museums. The National Portrait Gallery was my favorite.
How did your co-op relate to your majors or current courses you’re taking? Were you able to take what you learned in the classroom and apply it in the field?
As a Music Industry major, I was able to bring a lot from my courses to The Kennedy Center. It was cool to sit in meetings and be able to understand all the talk about PROs and unions and other things we learned about in Intro to Music Industry. In general, it was helpful having the necessary vocabulary to understand and communicate in the fast-paced music environment. I’m applying a lot of what I learned at The Kennedy Center to my current Performing Arts Administration class.
What would you tell another student interested in co-oping for the Kennedy Center?
The Kennedy Center has a fantastic internship program with openings in so many great departments like programming, education, development, and production. They’re not in the co-op database so feel free to reach out if you want to know more about the program or my experience!