Elsa Hager ’20 Organizes Annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Walla Walla Symphony in Walla Walla, WA

My name is Elsa Hager and I’ll be a senior this year at Whitman! I declared a psychology major as a sophomore and planned to minor in music. My interest in music eventually became a second major and over the past few years I’ve began looking for ways to further incorporate music into my academic and professional life. I spent last semester studying music in Vienna, which was a wonderful experience. There were so many amazing musical opportunities available and I felt inspired to immerse myself in the Walla Walla music scene upon returning to the States. I reached out to Nathanael Fleming, a former Whittie and talented vocalist, who, up until last week, worked at the Walla Walla Symphony (he has since left to pursue a graduate degree at the San Francisco Conservatory and we are very excited for him)! Nathanael and I put together a summer internship plan with the help of the symphony’s wonderful CEO, Leah, and here I am working at the Walla Walla Symphony!

My main task this summer is to run the symphony’s annual Rock n’ Roll Camp. This week-long free camp provides local children with music lessons as well as unique classes such as recording, guitar tech, and world drumming. The camp is open to kids entering grades 7-12 and is geared towards the kids’ varying interests including rock, pop, classical, and metal. The kids also form bands and put on a concert as a culminating project. The concert is free, open to the public, and will take place at Washington Park on August 10th at 5:30pm, so if you’re in the area, feel free to come by! We’ve even arranged for food trucks to be on site.

Because the camp does not take place until August, I have mainly been processing camp applications and working on side projects during my days at the office. My current challenge is sorting through the symphony’s Lending Library. We rent out a number of instruments of various shapes and sizes (mainly strings and winds) for free. It’s a wonderful program, especially because such instruments can be very expensive and growing children need to switch instrument sizes frequently. However, someone needs to update the library database, sort through all the instruments, order repairs, and track down the various violins that have gone missing over the years. This task has fallen on me and, while it has certainly been a challenge, there are perks, such as playing with the tiny 1/8th size violin as pictured!

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the symphony so far and I look forward to the rest of the summer!


Experiences like Elsa’s are made possible by the Whitman Internship Grant, which provides funding for students to participate in unpaid internships at both for-profit and non-profit organizations. To learn how you could secure a Whitman Internship Grant or host a Whitman intern at your organization, click here or contact Assistant Director for Internship Programs Victoria Wolff

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