Moving into Washington, DC

Hi everyone! I hope you all enjoyed a restful winter break. I write this week from Washington, DC (actually Arlington, VA, but close enough) as I am studying away this semester with Holy Cross’ Washington Semester Program. I have been preparing for over a year and I am so happy to finally be here!

A view of the Hall of Nations at the Kennedy Center

Two weeks ago, I started work as the education intern for the Washington National Opera at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Being able to work in such a beautiful building and national landmark is a dream come true, not to mention the proximity to world-class artists and performers.

There are 21 other interns at the Kennedy Center, spread out in various departments, and we meet once weekly for an arts management class and to work on our semester-long project. We are placed in groups and complete a gap analysis for the Kennedy Center — on our last class, we pitch a new program or initiative to a team of executives (just like Shark Tank). My group and I work really well together and I am excited to see work with them on a new KC program.

I work primarily at the Kennedy Center, but I am also able to spend time at the WNO rehearsal spaces in Takoma and office space at the Watergate (yes, THAT Watergate). In addition to my education colleagues at the Kennedy Center, I have been so welcomed by the team at WNO and I am excited and honored to work with them throughout the semester. I have never seen an opera before, let alone met most of its company, and I am so grateful for this unique opportunity to work behind the scenes with some of the nation’s best performing artists.

Check back in soon to hear about some DC exploring (and a visit from my mom)!

Wrapping Up the Fall Semester

Hi everyone!  I hope everyone has survived exam season and is officially home for the holidays. I finished up my two final papers on Saturday and just made it home in time for Christmas! The end of the semester really does fly by, with a variety of performances, projects, and events keeping me quite busy as Christmas quickly approached.

Christmas is definitely one of my favorite seasons here at Holy Cross. This year, the community celebrated withe the 41st celebration of Lessons and Carols. After Kimball’s beloved holiday dinner, featuring roast beef, mashed potatoes, and salads, students, faculty, and community members filled the chapel to celebrate the joy of the Advent and Christmas seasons. Different community members, from professors and students to coaches and administration, proclaimed various scriptural readings about the coming of Christ, in English, Spanish, and Mandarin. Additionally, the choir, orchestra, and organists shared music from many composers and eras to celebrate the season. But don’t worry if you missed it — here is the link to watch a recording of the live stream!

Looking ahead to next semester, I am excited to share that I will be participating in Holy Cross’ Semester Away Program to Washington, DC, where I will be interning with the Education division at the Kennedy Center. I am very excited for this opportunity to promote arts education and learn valuable professional skills in Washington!

That’s all I have for now — check back in soon to hear about my first few weeks in Washington!



Class Profile: “Pirates in Early America” Seminar at the American Antiquarian Society

Hi everyone! Hope you are all braving the cold weather we are having here in Worcester — it seems winter came a bit early! Luckily, I’ve been staying warm and spending most of my time in the library starting research for three major projects at the end of this semester. One of these is for my seminar at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, which I am profiling today!

Every fall, the American Antiquarian Society (AAS) offers an “American Studies” seminar for Worcester college students. This fall, the topic is “Pirates in Early America” and we are led by our wonderful Prof. Wilson from Connecticut College. There are only five of us in the class — and all girls! Each week, we are able to look at primary sources that are particularly relevant to our reading and talk to one of the amazing curators at AAS. I have really enjoyed being able to dive so deeply into one topic and have the opportunity to see so many interesting primary sources!

At the end of the semester, each of us will present and write a 20ish page paper on some topic relating to pirates, primarily using the sources available through AAS. Most exciting, the AAS will archive our papers to keep in their records — not quite being published, but very close! I am writing on the role of song both as it actually was on pirate ships and as the public imagined it to be, combining both my history and music majors into one project. While I still have some research to do, I am enjoying working with the American Antiquarian Society and I am excited to present on my topic at the end of the semester.

That’s it for this class profile on AAS. Check back in soon for news on the orchestra concert this week and Thanksgiving!



Fall Break and Professors’ Performances

Hi everyone! I am so excited it is finally fall here at Holy Cross — definitely my favorite season here on the hill! Classes are in full swing, and Dinand Library is busy with students studying for midterms and writing papers.  This weekend, Holy Cross is welcoming parents and families for Family Weekend, and we are looking forward to some good weather for fun fall activities (including a jazz ensemble concert on Friday night!).

This past weekend, Holy Cross welcomed alumni, family, and friends to campus for Fall Homecoming. The weekend was filled with fun fall activities and a home football game against Harvard. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend, as I was in Scotland for Fall Break visiting two of my close friends who are studying abroad for the year at St. Andrews. Although I was sad to miss homecoming, it was a great opportunity for a visit friends and take a bit of a break from academics!

My friends and I on College St (in St Andrews!)

Earlier this month, I was able to attend “Dickinson Songs,” a concert with Prof. Matt Jaskot featuring many of his own compositions. It is always great to see my professors active in their own fields and to see them accomplish great things. It was an amazing concert for all in attendance! This week, I am looking forward to the annual Mike Monaghan and Friends performance, featuring my jazz professor and some of his jazz friends. It is truly one of my favorite concerts of the year and I can’t wait to see it this Thursday!

That’s all my updates from the Hill for now. Check back soon to hear about my research for this semester!

Fall Gateways and Starting Junior Year

Hi everyone, and welcome back to Holy Cross! I am so excited to be in my junior year (although not sure how I’m old enough to be considered an “upperclassman”). Since 1/3 of juniors study abroad, our class has been reshuffled, but I am enjoying getting to know new people I haven’t met before, especially from Fall Gateways!

Like last year, I participated in Fall Gateways to welcome new students to Holy Cross. This year, I worked specifically with Transfer Student Orientation Program, learning more about their specific challenges adjusting to a new campus and helping them through their transition. The entire team, including first-year orientation leaders, became a very tight-knit group before classes even started. We had so much fun welcoming the first-year students on Move-In Day and guiding them through orientation programs — a great way to start the year!

The orientation staff, doing our signature “quiet coyote”

While a lot of my extra-curriculars remain the same from last semester, this year my Spanish class has a Community-Based Learning (CBL) component I am excited for. CBL is a unique program that allows students to both directly impact the community while also contributing a real-world example of topics related to a class. I am excited to work with the Worcester Public Schools Transition Program this year, where we organize activities and games for students — entirely in Spanish! This will be a great opportunity to practice my language skills with more native speakers and build relationships with members of the Worcester community.

That’s all my news from Mt St James for now — check back next time to hear about my new CBL site and fun campus activities!

Spring Fest and Looking Ahead to Next Semester

Hi everyone! I hope you all are enjoying the spring weather! I’ve just finished final exams at Holy Cross — an exciting and stressful week, always — and I am looking forward to a fun and relaxing summer! I will be returning to Worcester in early June to work as a Summer Gateways Parent Orientation Leader, and I am so excited for this opportunity to work with the parents and families of incoming first-year students.

My friend Meghan and I were front row for Jay Sean!

Before the stress of exams sets in, Holy Cross students celebrate the end of the year on the last weekend before classes end with a three-day event collectively known as Spring Fest (sponsored by Campus Activities Board). This year, my favorite part of Spring Fest was the Spring Concert on Friday night, where Jay Sean and Loud Luxury performed on our very own Freshman Field! It was a great way to end the semester and relax before exams.

My friends and I enjoying Spring Concert

Next semester, I am looking forward to taking a variety of different classes (including two seminars, so wish me luck). In the music department, I will be taking a musicology seminar with Prof. Waldoff and six other students. I will be fulfilling my common area requirement for language this semester, as well, with Spanish 301, Composition and Conversation. Finally, I will be taking the Historian’s Craft, a required writing course for history majors, as well as a history seminar with the American Antiquarian Society (AAS). Each fall, AAS sponsors a seminar for local Worcester college students and encourage the use of its wealth of primary source archives. This year, the seminar is entitled Early American Pirates, and I am looking forward to both the subject matter and research opportunities.

In the meantime, I am beginning to search for internships for the Washington, DC Semester Program and I am spending lots of time at the beach! Check back in soon to hear about Summer Gateways!

Jazz, Academic Conference, and Orchestra

Hi everyone! I hope you are enjoying the more spring – like weather we have had in Worcester! It has been a busy couple of weeks, but luckily we had a small break beginning on Holy Thursday through Easter Monday (one of the many benefits of going to a Catholic school!) The week prior to Easter I performed with the Jazz Ensemble, and the week following was Academic Conference featuring the Holy Cross Orchestra!

Our jazz concert this year was one of my favorites (and apparently an audience favorite as well). We performed a variety of interesting repertoire, including “First Love Song” which I was most nervous for (it featured a minute-long piano cadenza right in the middle!). Luckily, “First Love Song” and the rest of the performance went well and everyone seemed to enjoy it as a last send-off before Easter break.

Students in the orchestra came back a bit early from Easter break for our dress rehearsal on Easter Monday evening, but it was helpful preparation for a difficult program! In addition to Tchaikovsky’s 5th Symphony, we played a student composition by Matthew Pinder ’20 called “In a Timeless World.” I had never played a composition with the composer himself, so it was a neat experience to be able to ask him questions (and sometimes criticize his composing) during rehearsal.

We performed as part of Holy Cross’ annual Academic Conference, a day when classes are cancelled  and students who have been working on semester- or year-long projects present throughout the day. Our performance was part of several others, including WRATH, a play based on The Iliad by Liam Prendergast ’19, dance performances, and several academic presentations. The conference (and our performance) was overall a success!

Now it’s back to finishing up classes and trying to make it to exams. Check back in soon to hear about Spring Weekend and exams!

Music and the Jesuits, Prepping for Orientation, and Battle of the Bands!

Hi everyone! I hope you’re enjoying the spring weather (on most days)! Spring is certainly in full swing here at Holy Cross — all the snow has melted, students are considering which classes to take next semester, and most are hard at work in libraries (sometimes outside!) in this last big stretch of the semester before Easter break. Luckily, we have had a few fun events to help balance out the last big push in the semester, including Music and the Jesuits and Battle of the Bands!

Two weekends ago, members of the Holy Cross and broader Worcester communities gathered in St. Joseph’s Memorial Chapel to hear a variety of musical works somehow related to the Society of Jesus. The event was primarily overseen by Prof. Daniel DiCenso ’98 and his “Music and the Jesuits” seminar, who delivered spoken lessons to give context and meaning to each musical work. Nearly every ensemble on campus  were part of the show as part of our ongoing celebration of the College’s 175th anniversary. It was a wonderful event that did justice to the incredible legacy of the Jesuits in both music and education as a whole — great job everyone!

My friends and I enjoying the nice weather at Battle of the Bands (Photo: Emma Grugan)

Just yesterday, in a different but equally enjoyable musical event, eight Holy Cross student bands took part in our annual Battle of the Bands, sponsored by the Campus Activities Board (CAB). In addition to bragging rights, the winning band gets to open for the big Spring Concert (this year featuring Jay Sean and Loud Luxury) on the last weekend of classes. After a beautiful afternoon of great music, dancing, and free pizza on Kimball Quad, SCONE was named winner of Battle of the Bands for a second year in a row! We are all excited to see them in two weeks for Spring Concert!

SCONE celebrating their Battle of the Bands win

I am also excited to announce that this past week I was selected as a Fall Gateways Transfer Orientation Leader for the fall of 2019. I am very excited to continue working with the amazing Gateways team later this year and for the opportunity to work with new transfer students!

In the meantime, I will be spending most of my time in the library and in Brooks Concert Hall rehearsing for both the jazz ensemble concert on April 16 and the orchestra concert on April 24. Check back in soon to hear about both of these musical events and more!

SBIP 2019: Pearisburg, Virginia

Hi everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your spring break (if you had one!). As some of you may know, I was lucky enough to spend my spring break in Pearisburg, VA as part of Holy Cross’ Spring Break Immersion Program (SBIP), an alternative spring break program for students to immerse themselves in a completely different community. I loved getting to know the people of Pearisburg as well as the students I traveled with, and I found out some exciting news while I was there!

Similar to my trip to Glasgow, VA last year, my time in Pearisburg was marked by a wonderful sense of community from both the residents from the town as well as the other Holy Cross students with whom I lived and worked.  Even though I knew none of the 8 other students who traveled to Pearisburg with me, aside from two informational meetings before our trip, we are now best of friends, bonds forged through living and working and reflecting together for a whole week. We are looking forward to many reunions together!

My group and I on a hike near our site! (Photo: Kara Cuzzone)

One of my favorite aspects of SBIP is that while we do complete some service work for the community, such as painting, yard work, and construction, the focus is immersion in a new and different culture and lifestyle. We were shocked by the generosity of the residents of Pearisburg and loved hearing about their different experiences and lifestyles living in rural Virginia.

My group and I painting the hallways of the local library (Photo: Federico Sorcini)

Also, while I was in Pearisburg, I was notified that I was accepted into the Washington, DC Semester Away Program for the Spring of 2020. I will be living and working in Washington DC, working full-time at and internship as well as taking a public policy seminar and writing a full thesis. I am very excited about this opportunity to live and work in DC especially during an election year!

Check back in soon to hear about my SPUD site and preparing for a Music and the Jesuits concert at the end of March!

Denis McDonough and Little Women

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all enjoying this (relatively mild) February! We did have one snow “afternoon,” as campus-sponsored events after 3PM were cancelled this past Tuesday for the safety of the community. Luckily, for many professors (and perhaps unluckily, for many students), most classes, at least, went on as planned. These past weeks also saw a visit from Denis McDonough, President Obama’s former Chief of Staff, an eight-show run of Little Women from the Theater Department, and more!

On February 6, the McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics, and Culture brought Denis McDonough to campus to speak to students, faculty, staff, and members of the community on the ongoing refugee crisis. Rehm Library was at capacity, and students (including myself) stood in the doorway, peered through the glass windows, or stood on the adjacent staircase to hear his meaningful talk. McDonough served as President Obama’s Chief of Staff from 2013-2017 and has been a trusted advisor close to the Obamas. A Minnesota native, McDonough spoke about his own family’s experience sponsoring refugees into the United States, as well as a recent trip to Jordan visiting a refugee camp there. His comments were both disheartening, at the state of the crisis, but overwhelmingly promising as he inspired listeners of all ages to engage and continue to be men and women for and with refugees specifically.

The whole cast delivered an amazing performance!
(Photo: Liza Goodman)

The past two weeks, the Theater Department offered an outstanding adaptation of Little Women–it was so good I attended shows both weekends! Student-actors had been preparing since September, and many arrived on campus early in January in order to make final touches to the show. All actors were well-suited to their parts and performed wonderfully; Catherine Zachary performed a particularly outstanding Jo. Most astounding was the costuming, as each dress and suit was beautifully sewn and stayed true to the time period.  It was certainly an astonishing show–congrats to all! 

Aunt March (Liza Goodman), Amy (Corinne Heffernan), Meg (Megan Siebecker), Marmee (Samantha Sweet), Jo (Catherine Zachary) and Beth (Sadie O’Connor) on stage. (Photo: Liza Goodman)

Additionally, this past week I took my first science exam in college for my Biology of Addiction class. It is certainly different than writing papers and learning music, but I am learning a lot! Check back in soon to hear about a contemporary music concert and final preparations for Spring Break Immersion!