Tuesday 3 October 2017

Month One in the Life of an Intern

Rachel Haddon joined CMM on 4 September 2017 as our first ever Intern. Over this academic year's work in industry, organised by Rachel through the University of Leeds where she is studying music, Rachel will share every aspect of CMM's work on tour, in the office and at events. She'll experience a little of everyone's job and use her own skills to further CMM's mission. She reflects on the first month below:

Month One - Finding My Feet

Hello everyone, I’m Rachel and this year I’m working as an intern for CMM. This will form the third year of my studies for a music degree at the University of Leeds – an optional ‘Year in Industry’ – and I will return to Leeds next September to complete my final year. I live near Hinckley in Leicestershire, and travel over on the train each week for the two days I work in the office. I am extremely grateful to a local couple for very generously providing me with accommodation and food while I need to be over in Bromsgrove.

My first couple of weeks in the office were a chance for me to ‘find my feet’ and get to know the other office staff, whilst still doing work that was useful. My first task was to edit the oboe parts (I am an oboist!) for the then up-coming Scotland tour of Barnabas. This made sure that all the important musical phrases were going to be played as the tour backing track did not contain all of the parts. This was quite time-consuming, however it refreshed my knowledge of how to use the Sibelius notation software – as I don’t study composition at uni, I’ve not really used Sibelius since I left school – and so hopefully now I’m reminded of how to use it, I will be quicker in the future!

I also started work designing a new audience programme for Roger’s musical Stargazers, as, to quote the man himself, ‘There aren’t many shopping days until Christmas!’, and this is the musical that the CMM choirs will be performing over the Christmas season. After finishing a provisional draft of this programme, I also started work on Away in a Manger and Rock. This is a job that I have enjoyed as it’s great to think that something I’ve designed will be distributed to all the audience members attending performances in the future!

The highlight of this first month definitely has to be the Scotland tour of Barnabas. I was initially incredibly apprehensive, as the prospect of 10 days away with a group of people that I didn’t really know and in an unfamiliar environment was terrifying – in fact I was so nervous that on the Friday we left, I really didn’t want to go at all! There was no backing out however, and I can now honestly say that the experience was one in which I felt that God was showing his hand as my fears were gently proved wrong.

Yes, there were lots of new people to meet, but the team made me feel welcome and valued from the moment we met and this helped me to relax into the week. The environment was indeed unfamiliar, however the places we visited were located in some beautiful areas, and it was great to be able to explore the surroundings with other members of the team, which doubled as a way to build friendships.

Another thing that worried me was where I fitted into the team musically. It’s all very well to be able to sit down and play a Shostakovich orchestral part, however that style of musicianship is very different from the ministry of CMM. I was unsure of my ability to adapt to the different approach as I have always been very reliant on ‘the dots on the page’, and therefore the thought of improvising during the Planned Spontaneous Happenings was extremely daunting. To start off with I found it really hard to be surrounded by musicians who seemed to be able to improvise for anything, when I was standing there not really knowing where to start. However, as the week went on, I found that I was able to start playing during these times, and I feel that maybe this is God leading me onto a path that I never thought I would walk down. Of course, it is still early days, but I look forward to seeing if this is something that God wants me to develop during my time with CMM. To quote Rhoda from Barnabas: 'Just trust and obey!' - a simple message that I think we can all learn from.

All in all, the trip to Scotland enabled me to explore and develop my faith and musical gifts within a supportive environment of fellow Christians, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of it. I would therefore like to say a big thank you to the members of the team on the tour for including me as part of the family right from the beginning, for supporting and encouraging me during the week, and for all the fun and laughter we had – I have been left with some wonderful memories, and I look forward to sharing with you again at future events.

A great action shot from the rehearsal at St James' Church, Lossiemouth!
View of the River Spey from Aberlour, one of the beautiful areas we visited.
 Read about Month Two

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