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Sue Bush
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Meet The B-HIPs: Rebecca Wehry And Vivian Reed

By Jen Thomas
02:36PM / Monday, June 25, 2007

Vivian Reed is a B-HIP intern. [Photo by Jen Thomas]
The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Berkshire Hills Internship program, known as B-HIP, drew 13 college and graduate student interns from around the globe to its summer session of the arts-based Berkshire region internship program. www.iberkshires.com invites our readers to "Meet the B-HIPs" and discover what the program and our region offers to those with a love of the arts.

North Adams -Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts seniors Rebecca Wehry and Vivian Reed are exploring "Creative Pittsfield" this summer, but the two fine and performing arts majors are approaching their projects with very different perspectives.

As Berkshire Hills Internship Program interns at Pittsfield's Colonial Theatre, the music students are taking an active role in the cultural renaissance of the city.

Rebecca Wehry

A Pittsfield native, Wehry, 20, said she never noticed how much art was a part of the community before she began working at the theater's marketing department.


B-HIP intern Rebecca Wehry [Photo by Jen Thomas]
"I don't remember any arts growing up here, but this internship has opened my eyes to a lot of things in Pittsfield," she said. "I've lived in Pittsfield my entire life and I always hated the downtown area, and now, it's amazing to see all this culture that's been brought here."

Originally a mathematics major, Wehry recently changed her concentration to music (flute), but she's still not sure what she wants to do after graduation. With a willingness to try new things, Wehry dove into the arts management internship as an opportunity to see if it was a right fit for her.

"This arts stuff is new for me. My internship isn't going to decide what I'm doing with my life, but it's a great experience," said Wehry. "They're trying to toss me in everywhere, but I've mainly been helping out with marketing and education."

At the theater, Wehry tackles many different tasks involving theater and performance. She also assists Manager of Public Relations and Education Jessie L. Virgilio to develop an education program to attract youths to the theater.

"A lot of it will help get youths into the theater. If they check it out, maybe they'll like it and come back," she said.

With no background in theater or arts management, the internship is a challenge, but Wehry said she's already learned a lot about herself.

"I just know the environment I'm in, I enjoy," she said.

Wehry has been playing the flute since the fourth grade and said she knows that, no matter where life takes her, she wants to end up working in the music business.

"In the future, if I do take an arts-related job, I want it to be in a music institution," she said. "Even if I'm not playing myself, I'd like to be working with other musicians."

Wehry's ambitions include traveling across the United States and hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. While her career path may not be defined, she is certain of she will have a traveling "companion."

"If I could do anything, I'd want to be in a traveling band," she said. "I'm not sure if that will happen, but I know I always want to play my flute."

Vivian Reed

Working with the Colonial Theatre's Executive Director David W. Fleming, Reed, 20, gets valuable insight into what it takes to be in charge of booking artists for a venue, a career path she'd like to follow.

"I would like to work at a music venue and decide who gets to perform there," said Reed. "I've been told I'll come out of this internship knowing enough to be a booking agent at any size venue and that's exciting."

With a real love for independent and underground music, Reed hopes her experience in Pittsfield will translate into a career booking bands in small "indie" clubs.

"What I really love is knowing what the best music is. I would love to be in charge of a venue that people come to and think it's the coolest thing ever," said Reed, who is originally from Orange.

Working on small projects at the Colonial, Reed said she's just learning what it takes to be a booking agent.

"So far, I've done a project getting all the information from artists contracts for upcoming shows and I just started sorting out some promotional materials from people who want to perform there," she said. "I'm learning a lot about the logistics of going through the process of actually booking an artist. I know creatively what to do, but now I'm learning the business side of it."

At MCLA, Reed is a fine and performing arts major with a double concentration in arts management and music (voice) and an English minor (broadcasting). With such eclectic interests, Reed said she wanted to put all of her skills to good use. B-HIP channels all of her energy into more practical education.

"When I heard about where I could be placed and how specific [the internship] could be to what I wanted to learn, it was a no-brainer," she said. "I'm really doing it and I can see the real-life issues that come up. It's close to what I learn in the classroom, but it's not in theory anymore; you're really doing it."

Reed has no limitations when it comes to location for her career, but she does want to explore the music scene "just to see what's out there." No matter the venue, Reed said she thinks she has a real talent for running non-profit organizations.

"I always liked non-profits because I feel I'm a terrible business person," she said. "I'm not so good at making money, but I'm really good at saving it."

As she enters her fifth year of college, Reed is keeping her goals in sight at all times.

"This is the plan: While I'm still in school, I'm going to track down a job as close as possible to what I want to do," she said.

Jen Thomas may be reached via e-mail at jthomas@iberkshires.com or aty 413-663-3384 ext. 28.

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