Welcome New Staff Member, Ross!

It’s a new year, and we’re delighted to welcome a new member to our 5HE team. Ross has been with us as an intern for some time now, and has made himself invaluable due to his excellent writing skills, meticulous nature, ability to take the lead on projects, guard-dog tenacity whilst keeping an eye on expensive equipment, and general willingness to say – Hey, I’ve got more time! What can I do? He’s also nerdy in all the right ways as you’ll see below (loves long walks on the beach and … proofreading), and because of that he’ll fit right in.

– Melissa

I don’t really know where I’d be without music.  In my younger and more vulnerable years in the wilds of New Jersey (the non-shore part, before you ask), I played the trumpet in every type of ensemble offered to me: concert band, marching band (concert band+legs), jazz band.  Yeah I was a band geek, and I’m proud to say it.

When I got to the University of Chicago, I realized that if I didn’t keep active with music, I’d go bonkers.  But at college my involvement with music also branched out in different directions.  From taking theory courses, I found that I didn’t just love playing music, I also loved thinking about it and trying to understand it.   I began to compose and took up playing the piano.  Perhaps most significantly, I realized that I love to write about music, because I felt like that was the most direct way I could help people understand how important music is and what an effect it can have.

After graduating with a B.A in music (surprise!), I…well I had no idea what to do, honestly.  But I thought that it would be really cool to learn how to work with musicians and help them handle all of the behind the scenes tasks necessary to put on shows and run a season.  My first sneak peak into arts administration was a shared internship between four Chicago music organizations: New Music Chicago, Third Coast Percussion, eighth blackbird, and Fifth House. As an intern, I did everything from folding programs and running merch tables to reaching out to new business partners to writing program notes, grants, press releases, and advertising content.  I was a support worker in the broadest sense, and I loved the fact that I could help so many people out.  Apparently, 5HE loved it too, because they decided to bring me on staff!

I really appreciate 5HE taking me under their collective wing, and I’m honored to be joining their team.  It’s rare to find musicians who are so universal in their programming, and I think that’s the best way to be, championing the new without discarding the old. I’d be hard-pressed to name a group that’s more dedicated to connecting with audiences (all audiences), and they approach everything they do with undying creativity.  Hopefully, I can contribute some sparks to their creative fire (or at the very least some really bad metaphors).

Aside from working for 5HE, I tutor 7th and 8th graders in Math & Reading, volunteer at a cat shelter, and play my trumpet in a free-jazz sextet (silenttoungueschicago.bandcamp.com).  I also enjoy skateboarding, reading, proofreading (seriously), and intending puns.

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