By Amy Boland

For Natalie Cunningham , a senior music education major at Miami University of Ohio, an internship at Bands of America helped her discover a career. Natalie interned with Bands of America in the summer of 2001 as an event coordinator. Currently, Natalie is applying to graduate schools to further her education in the special events industry.

“I was excited to get the internship because I loved participating in BOA’s events while I was at high school, ” says Natalie. “I wanted to learn and discover what happened behind the scenes at a non-profit music organization that promoted the great world of the arts.

“My internship with Bands of America was a great experience for me because it led me to decide to become an arts administrator. What helped me become successful with this internship was my music education background from my undergraduate work. I knew what music teachers wanted out of a Bands of America event and I tried to help them reach their goals of producing great bands in their schools.

“I learned many new and exciting things by interning as an event coordinator. I contributed to designing a web page specifically for volunteering at the events. I planned itineraries for three major events hosted by BOA and Drum Corps International. I attended staff meetings and wrote letters, documented meeting minutes, and designed event signage. Most importantly, I also got to run events during the Summer Symposium, which were the two picnics for over 2,000 people each, held during the week of camp.

“The Bands of America mission is ‘To create and provide positively life-changing experiences’ for performers, teachers, parents, and communities,'” says Natalie. “This mission has been reinforced in my life; I would like to give back to future students, parents, teachers, and communities a positive life experience in the world of music by becoming an arts administrator. I would not have discovered this career if it weren’t for the Bands of America internship.”