Emily Rigsby ’20 helps make music accessible for children in Walla Walla, WA

My name is Emily Rigsby and I will be a senior Music major at Whitman in the Fall! This summer I have had the wonderful opportunity of working with the Walla Walla Symphony through the Whitman Internship Grant. From replacing dozens of strings on children’s violins, organizing individual schedules for music camps, meeting Walla Walla public school music teachers, and enjoying listening to classical music all day, working in the Symphony office in downtown Walla Walla has kept me busy! I am happy to work in an office with several Whitman Music major alumni and learn and grow from their experience!

Before I started my job with the Walla Walla Symphony in June, I didn’t know what to expect. I had no idea how involved I would become in the Walla Walla community and how many incredibly people I would meet. The Symphonies’ mission is to bring music to as many people as possible in the most accessible and affordable way. Often times people are put off by programs like Symphonies because tickets, programs and subscriptions to see classical music performances aren’t affordable to everyone interested. But as one of the Walla Walla Symphonies’ goals, they want to have as many people as possible to get involved in their programs and opportunities and this blew me away!

I was able to get first hand experience working with several of the Symphonies free and accessible programs for children over the summer. The first program I worked for this summer was a free program called “Rock Camp” for students in public school between the ages of 11-18. The camp hosted 45 students from around Walla Walla that attended all the different schools in the valley. The week long camp was taught by music teachers specializing in all different types of music and brought tons of energy and good ideas. Students were able to take free music lessons on instruments of their choice and other classes spanning wide topics like Recording or World Drumming. It was a pleasure getting to know so many wonderful students from Walla Walla and teach them some skills and knowledge from my own musical background. At the end of the week the students put on a large concert in Washington Park performing all the pieces that they worked on at Rock Camp. I was blown away at their talent and enthusiasm. Some students had more music training than others, but every group that performed at Rock Camp did incredibly well. I was proud to have been able to watch so many students use their creative skills and passions.

Experiences like Emily Rigsby’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 Mitzy Rodriguez


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