UC Theater Internship Program Music Alumni Success
This story is brought to you by The UC Theater Taube Family Music Hall.
The UC Theater internship program has been incredibly successful in helping young people find work in a field they love, since its launch in 2015. Over 80% of interns find work in the industry afterwards. Having graduated from a 9-month, donor-supported program called Concert Career Pathways.
We recently spoke to former students about the impact the program has had on their lives.
Rebekah Gonzalez, 2019 graduate
“When I told my high school counselor that I wanted to go to music school, he said, ‘You know, you’re very unlikely to be the next Celine Dion.’ It was the first time I had spoken this dream out loud and I immediately regretted it. Where I come from, there are only two steps to real success: becoming a doctor or a teacher.”
Rebekah found refuge in the UC Theater Concert Career Pathways (CCP) program three years ago. His dream of working in the live music industry was embraced by the staff at UC Theater as they spent nine months nurturing his passion through rigorous training in the industry, alongside 21 others. interns.
As a multimedia and development intern, Rebekah gladly spent her weekends and spare time at the concert hall, working alongside industry professionals to photograph live concerts, develop and execute fundraising strategies. funds, shoot promotional videos and create compelling emails.
At the end of the program, Rebekah hadn’t just landed a job as a digital content producer at iHeartMedia, but she has also acquired a close-knit family of peers and teachers, supporting her to this day as she continues to grow in her career.
“After I graduate from the program, I finally feel like I’ve finally caught up with my dreams.
Joshua Sifuentes, 2018 graduate
Joshua had just started the show with his eyes set on his dream career in music production. His goal was to join the union –– not only to satisfy his passion for music, but also to support his family with a personal income at the age of 18.
“My family’s money problems got to a point where they could no longer provide, so I decided to step in and start working more. Since trying to provide my family with the money they need. This is what drives me to get as many jobs as possible.
With the support of CCP, Sifuentes discovered that he didn’t need to choose between being financially stable and being happy – he could have the best of both worlds by pursuing a career in a field that brings him joy, surrounded by of a community of friends and colleagues. Since graduating from the internship program four years ago, he has held a constant position as House Manager for the La Pena Cultural Center in Berkeley. He also landed jobs as a lighting technician and electrician., in collaboration with Local 16, the stage workers union.
131 trainees and growing
Over the past five and a half years, UC Theatre’s Concert Career Pathways program has guided 131 people through a rigorous vocational training program, enabling young people to break into the industry well equipped with work experience, tangible practical skills, killer resumes, and professional connections –– not to mention a whole network of supportive mentors who work to ensure that all participants get relevant employment opportunities after graduation.
After completing the program, many trainees are encouraged to continue working at the site to advance their training. Following. And they take on mentoring roles for new interns. These graduates stay because they really love the environment created at UC Theater. They are able and able to find employment elsewhere, but they stay to help build the thriving UC Theater community.
RJ Wilks, 2021 Graduate
One of our recent graduates, RJ, worked as a stagehand at UC Theater and also worked at the Stern Grove Festival, Noise Pop’s 20th Street Block Party in San Francisco, UltraSound Audio, San Francisco Symphony, Taylor Street Production and August Hall. RJ had access to these companies through his affiliation with The UC Theater.
“Since graduating from the CCP program and working at UC Theater, I have become entangled in a large network of kind people working in the Bay Area music scene. I regularly get concerts from my production managers and support colleagues who have vouched for me and want to see me get the kind of opportunities that I’m interested in. Without the CCP program, I wouldn’t have the community and the practical tools to be a part of making the magic of live music happen. Being greeted so warmly at UC Theater only made me want to stick around to preserve the environment in which I flourished for future cohorts!
UC Theater Education Director Shakeea T. Smith spoke about RJ, “Right from the start, RJ exhibited a ‘stretch it out and grab it’ attitude. Their motivation to just be accepted into the program was unmatched. Months before applications opened, RJ reached out to our department. education to make sure they were on our radar They wanted to make sure they had a chance Once RJ accepted we learned that RJ had moved in with a friend closer to the UC Theater. shows commitment and dedication For someone who recently graduated, our program of accomplishing so much in so little time shows me that they are ready to climb this mountain and go the extra mile. RJ certainly has a bright future, RJ never ceases to amaze me.
Monica Motta, 2020 graduate
Starting her internship two years ago, Monica Motta focused on working in production, but suddenly became passionate about fundraising. Monica rose through the ranks from development intern to associate and finally to manager.
“I never imagined that within two years of graduating from college and the CCP program, I would be carrying the title of Community Development Manager. I was nervous with each of my promotions, wondering if I was ready, but all the staff at UC Theater encouraged me and knew I could do it. UC Theater is a great place to learn and grow and it’s gratifying to see that I can now help other interns, who were like me, find their passion in the music industry. This year I’ve been able to double our monthly donors, dramatically increase show donations, and raise the most money we’ve ever had on GivingTuesday.
Over 80% of CCP graduates go on to pursue careers at other venues including Another Planet Entertainment, East Bay Center for Performing Arts, California Shakespeare Theater, The Fillmore and many more. The CCP offers attendees a diverse range of transferable skills that extend far beyond the music industry – interns are hired in jobs ranging from grant writer to set designer, teaching assistant and tour director. .
David M. Mayeri, founder and CEO of The UC Theater, launched the first CCP cohort as a pilot program known as the ‘Youth Advisory Board’, a year before opening The UC Theater, alongside the former director of education, Robyn Bykofsky. Mayeri’s goal of breaking down barriers in the music industry has come true. Graduates of the program can share their stories now and for years to come about how they are living the lives they envisioned. Passion combined with effort, diligence and patience have paid off for many Concert Career Pathways attendees.
If you or someone you know is interested in participating in the Concert Career Pathways program, please email Shakeea T. Smith, Director of Education at [email protected] Donations to support the program can be made at The UC Theater website.
This story was written and paid for by The UC Theater Taube Family Music Hall, whose mission is to present a dynamic range of live performances to advance the appreciation of music, culture and education in the Bay Area.