Coffee in one hand, bike helmet in the other, and a pounding chest accompanying my steps up the stairs and through the door, I enter the building which houses the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music Office—my destination. In the entryway, I observe a row of potted and hanging plans which are thriving, and which contribute a feeling of vitality to the space. It strikes me that these plants might begin to embody the Festival and what it’s about: artistic vitality and community nourishment. Despite their apt symbolism, my mind moves away from the plants as I enter the actual office space, and am greeted by the open, energetic, and passionate Festival staff. The sense that something important is happening here is immediately apparent. This is where the countless hours of corresponding, writing, designing, and collaborating pass during the days leading up to the Festival. This is where the Festival resides in anticipation as the new music buzz spreads through the Santa Cruz community and beyond while orchestra musicians, composers, and guest artists across the world prepare for their travels and rehearsals. This is where the Festival staff coordinate those many activities with incredible grace—and I get to be here as it all happens.
I’m Sienna, a 23-year-old literature graduate student, dancer/choreographer, and most presently a Fellow through The Humanities Institute Public Fellowship Program. Through this program, I have the exciting opportunity to work alongside the Festival Staff, assisting them in a myriad of ways before, during, and after the Festival—witnessing and being a part of Festival processes from the administrative level to the moments at which they are brought to fruition. During this time, I will be blogging about these processes, getting inside scoop on various Festival projects, and reflecting on the performances from my own background in literary and performance arts, as a way of documenting and sharing my experience as a temporary production assistant. Follow along with me!