HSVS and College Preparation

Thomas Goedecke writes this week's blog. Thomas is a member of the Houston Grand Opera High School Voice Studio, and plans to major in music next year when he heads off to college.

I have been blessed to be apart of the Houston Grand Opera High School Voice Studio program, and to be a student at a performing arts school, and a student to some of the best musicians in the city. But even with these resources college preparation is a difficult task. The first and foremost thing that high school students need to find out is who they are.

It is not necessary to have the next 15 years planned out, but find out what excites you, what makes you happy: will it be something you want to make a career out of, or avoid it in fear of your passion becoming nothing more than work. Or if your undecided thats ok too, but you will know what kind of experience you want to have for the next four years. The second thing is applying for the colleges that match your needs. For me, it was a school with excellent composition and vocal programs. And finish with applications as soon as you possibly can. This is essential if you would like to keep your sanity.
Thirdly is to keep a detailed agenda, down to the last minute. Rehearsals, recitals, auditions, application due dates, scholarship dates, college visits, concerts, and performances are just a fraction of the things that are going to be bombarding you during senior year, and to have when and where these things are at your finger tips is really important.
Finally, forget about having too much of a social life. Keeping up with your studies is important and when your applying for colleges, you simply run out of time. Though keep in mind a night out is important, but just don't allow more improtant things, more urgent things to fall apart because of it.

Two Non-profits at Once

This week's blog is from Jessica Ford, the HGOco Assistant, who writes about her experiences working for two non-profits of different sizes at the same time.

Since I have started my journey toward a career in arts management, I have often been advised to gain as much real-life experience as possible, because what I need to be successful “can’t be learned in some book”. Taking this idea to heart, I decided to spend the past six months as an intern for two non-profit companies: Houston Grand Opera (HGO) and Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation (FWCRC). As the months have rolled on, I have come to realize how invaluable the opportunity to work simultaneously at two very distinct non-profits has been. Each job has taught me different things about myself and my abilities, and about the non-profit sector.
FWCRC is a non-profit concerned with home-buying assistance for low-income families in Fifth Ward and other areas of Houston. One of the major projects that has been blooming for 10 years is the development of a small community theatre and library complex in Fifth Ward. My job at FWCRC is to help with the realization of that dream. There are several differences between the two companies, but I have noticed similarities in the environment and some of the procedures in the two companies. For example, while HGO is a large non-profit company with 100+ employees, FWCRC only has 10 employees including the CEO. However, the HGOco department works like a small nonprofit company. The camaraderie shared among my coworkers and me is very similar in each company. There is so much work to be done that every employee helps carry the burden, especially if one particular employee seems overwhelmed. I have noticed within both companies that coworkers regularly advise each other on different projects because it helps achieve the overall goals. However, at HGOco, the work is more specifically delegated to particular positions. At FWCRC, I have helped with marketing a major project, dabbled in a little development work, researched random facts pertaining to anything dealing with building theaters, and other things. Because FWCRC is so small, I have also had the opportunity to participate in board meetings, help prepare for the annual audit, and participate in various planning meetings. I do recognize that even though I am an only an intern in both companies, my opinion matters. I am never given menial busy work in either job, and I am often asked my advice on certain projects that we are doing. This fact surprised me more so in HGO because it is such a large company. But, there seems to be a mutual respect among all departments. There are so many people from various departments who come to my immediate boss for advice pertaining to their work. It is truly a collaborative effort.
Of course, the clientele that each company serves is different as well. Although FWCRC is focused on assisting low income families, a group that I am really determined to work with, I am really impressed with all of the programs and initiatives that HGO has to reach out to all communities, particularly families and communities who have never been exposed to opera. I also enjoy the direct community interaction that I have had with the elementary school project and the Blues Project at HGO. At FWCRC, I have not yet been able to go out into the community. I know that I will be able to become really involved with the community once the Deluxe Theatre is open in Fifth Ward. It’s just nice to be able to connect with the people that will benefit from the hard work that we do.