The Daily Gazette
The Locally Owned Voice Of The Capital Region

A summer I won't forget

I have always thought of myself as a musician; a lover of all instruments, an arts appreciator and all together, a songwriter. And although I am considered a “music industry” major at the State University College at Oneonta, I feel as though my real life education had not truly begun until this summer.

As a senior, like all music industry majors at SUNY Oneonta I was required to participate in a “music related” internship in order to graduate. Being more of a musician than anything, the idea of working “for” something music-focused and working “on” something music-oriented are two different worlds. I was not entirely looking forward to any internship. But I knew what I had to do.

I put my guitar down for the summer and walked into Proctors.

On my first day at this historic, Schenectady theatre, I was surprised at the overall livelihood and positive vibe of the place. It should be noted that I have never truly had an interest in Broadway musicals or anything of the sort. I had been in plays up until 7th grade, but once I decided to switch from acting on the stage to playing the electric bass in the pit orchestra, I quickly changed from reading the script to reading the music. I had a feeling the staff at Proctors would see through this, until I walked into my interview with Sara Hill, marketing manager at Proctors.

From the moment I started talking to Sara, I felt as though I was talking to a long lost friend rather than an interviewer with me under her microscope. Her overall calming tone and down to earth personality instantly pulled me into her world. Not only did we bond about being true music lovers at heart, we connected over musicians we enjoyed, places we’ve been and reasons for supporting the arts.

It is safe to say that Sara Hill has made my experience at Proctors an absolute pleasure. She was and still is the breath of fresh air I looked for to motivate me to dive into this internship and see it as an opportunity to learn and experience, rather than to sit around every day for 3 credits.

At Proctors, I took pride in my title as the official “West Side Story" street team coordinator. In that capacity, I oversaw marketing and distribution of heralds, postcards, hand fans and other promotion materials for "West Side Story" at Proctors. As I had never been in charge of any sort of team before, this was an experience I will value as my most satisfying at Proctors. Although I was overwhelmed at first, it became extremely rewarding.

From personally running around the Capital Region delivering materials, to making phone calls, to handing out hand fans at Jazz on Jay in July on days the heat led me to believe I wouldn’t make it to tomorrow – it all has been quite the trip.

Thomas Mann once famously put it, “I’d rather experience life than to write 100 stories.” With my experience at Proctors I couldn’t agree more; although songwriting is my true passion and something I cannot help but pursue. Without experiences with wonderful people in wonderful places, songs and life would simply be a meaningless story.

Special thanks to Thom O’ Connor (Marketing) at Proctors for his hilarious insight, selfless acts of kindness and genuine personality; Deb Wyszomirski (Human Resources) for her constant and positive attitude, helpfulness to the street team and her lovely smile; Tim Walton (IT) for being a wizard on the computer and one of the most friendly and caring people I’ve known -- and, of course, the entire "West Side Story" street team.

Words cannot and will not describe how grateful I am to each of them.

Twenty-one-year-old Mark Lombardo, originally from Latham, attends SUNY Oneonta as a music industry major. He’s putting the music industry on notice: After his experience at Proctors, he’s about to hit the high notes on a journey to an illustrious career!

To learn more about Proctors, click here.

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