As a freshman of Antioch college, this first Co-op experience has been enlightening to say the least. For this spring term, I have been staying in Bridgeport Connecticut and am working with a music/education nonprofit called Your Time To Shine. I am the third Antioch student to join this delightful team of compassionate people trying to make a real difference in the lives of children. Although the time that I’ve been here has been a pre-season for the youth program, including program preparation, I’m also gaining experience in the field of theatre and production.
The base of operations for Your Time To Shine is the Sacred Heart University Theatre in Fairfield Connecticut. This theatre is relatively new but is starting to gain recognition and support from the local community. A variety of shows and concerts have taken place while I’ve been working here. Famous comedian Kevin Nealon performed a couple weeks back. Personally not all of his jokes were my taste, but the audience really enjoyed the show. Famous Grammy award winning jazz pianist Eddie Palmieri, and his band performed a few days after, and it was absolutely phenomenal. Whenever there isn’t a show the theatre usually has movie showings. Not first run movies but still good films, the recent line up has been Luca, Cruella, and Bellfest. I’ve learned a lot about pre-show setup and use of stage equipment, and also how to run movies on a giant projector. This will be where the kids come to learn music and perform once the program starts. Here is the website where you can learn more about the SHU Community Theatre https://shucommunitytheatre.org/
As far as my work towards the Your Time To Shine program, I’ve started my work on updating their social media. First I created a Tiktok account for them. If you would like to support that page, search Your Time To Shine on Tiktok, as of right now there are 12 videos and 4 followers. On that page I upload clips of live performances from past years. Another task I was given before hand was to sort through all of those clips and organize them in Dropbox.
The people I work with are amazing. My two main bosses Matt and Joe, who interviewed me for the position, both worked for 30 years at the Apollo theatre in NYC. Both of them are also pretty musically talented. Joe is also an incredible photographer (he took the picture of Eddie Palmieri I shared below). In their time at the Apollo they met numerous celebrities, Barack Obama, Robert Downy Jr, Stevie Wonder, Peewee Sherman, and many more. I’ve spent much more time with Joe, he whistles all the time. Another person who is a part of the program I’ve been working with is the tech wizard named Tim. He’s an awesome guy, very intelligent and laid back, genuinely a very great person. He’s taught me some tech stuff, like how to operate the stage lights and how to run movies. He also happens to be incredibly musically talented.
Even though my time here hasn’t been exactly what I expected it to be, I’m still glad I came and am grateful for all the learning experiences. Covid was a large part of the reason I wasn’t able to meet the program participants. But by this summer things should be back in motion completely. I definitely recommend this co-op to anyone who is interested in working with kids and music in the future. You’ll meet plenty of great people and have a wonderful time.