Now in its fourth year, the Geneva Music Festival annually brings internationally acclaimed musicians to the Finger Lakes region with the goal of entertaining, inspiring and nurturing a lifelong appreciation of classical music. For Stephanie Kenific ’17, who is spending the summer interning with the festival, the program has done all of that – and more.
“I didn’t have much background in classical music, but seeing the passion during each performance was enough to draw me in,” says Kenific. “I’ve also gotten more experience with the type of writing expected in magazine articles and press releases, and I’ve learned how to ‘pitch’ a story to media outlets.”
Kenific has met and interviewed a number of the musicians, as well as organizers, and has attended the festival’s concerts this summer. She says her perspective has changed the more she’s gotten to know the musicians.
“The ones involved in the festival in particular are extremely passionate and dedicated to their careers, and it’s been so refreshing to be able to witness that. I have a lot of respect for all of these people,” says Kenific.
She was also pleasantly surprised by the festival’s commitment to the community; each year the GMF provides free concerts in local schools to expose children to classical music. “The people involved with Geneva Music Festival are a really a wonderful bunch of people. Everyone is kind and giving, devoted to charity in one way or another, and just totally pleasant. It’s an honor to work with them in any capacity.”
A double major in English and public policy, Kenific plans to be an English teacher and hopes to play an active role in a teachers’ union. However, she has always been interested in communications and creative writing and is enjoying the opportunity to learn more about that field.
“It’s also just been wonderful to meet so many people from in and around the community in which I live, work, and study; now I have a lot more professional contacts,” adds Kenific.
She worked in the Colleges’ Office of Communications as a student writer throughout her first year at HWS and gained experience interviewing people for single articles. The internship, she explains, has provided the experience of working on a long-term project, as well as “honing client-type relationships with people.”
While working in communications over spring break, she was assigned an article about the festival and the artists from Geneva who participate in it each year, including its founder. That article appeared in the June/July issue of Finger Lakes Woman and was the springboard for her internship with the festival this summer.
“When I elected to stay in Geneva over the summer, that’s when the work really took off,” she explains. She has since been reaching out to media to pitch article ideas, in addition to other writing projects for the GMF.
“My job in Communications overall is a blessing, because I am always coming into contact with interesting and inspiring people I wouldn’t otherwise have met. It’s all about making connections to me,” says Kenific.
On campus, she is the president of the HWS Coalition for Educational Equity, vice president for the English country dancing club, student liaison for the English department, member of the community building committee, a campus peer minister and will serve as pasta royalty for the 2014-2015 academic year.