‘Put[ting] their writing skills to work’
Sophomore literary arts majors at the Lehigh Valley Charter HS for the Arts held a press conference May 21 to promote their free stage concert at Musikfest as a part of ArtsQuest’s Marketing Musikfest program. The Marketing Musikfest program teaches students how to take what they have learned in their media studies class and use it in a practical, real-world setting.
During the press conference, students spoke about the concert showcase, “Charter Arts at Musikfest,” to be held at Plaza Tropical during Musikfest 2018. Each of the four acts will play a 40-minute set between the hours of noon and 3 p.m. at the Aug. 5 concert, each beginning at the top of the hour.
As student Rory Pelzel revealed, the performers will include Giana Lynn, a Philadelphia indie musician; Gretchen and the Pickpockets, a New England jazz, soul and rock fusion group; Zach Matari, a singer-songwriter, and his band, the After Parti; and the Mike Lorenz Trio, a Bethlehem soft jazz band.
The Marketing Musikfest program required participating students to select and book the acts, market the concert, produce advertising content, handle public relations, seek sponsorships and manage event logistics.
“As creative writers, it is very interesting to learn how to utilize our skills in a real-life situation to promote and produce a live event at one of the nation’s leading music festivals,” student Sofia Barbour said.
According to Musikfest Director of Communications Mark Demko, this is the first year during the program’s six-year history in which three high schools participated. ArtsQuest’s goal, similar to Barbour’s comment, has always been to enhance what students are learning in the classroom while providing them with an opportunity for real-world application.
“While we’re talking about musical acts and artists, performers who are usually considered stars, I’ve learned that the stars are really the students who take part in this program,” he said.
Charter Arts Public Relations Manager and media studies teacher Ann Gillette also values this program for the experience it provides for students.
“Working with Musikfest Marketing as part of our class allowed the students to put their writing skills to work,” said Gillette. “As literary artists, they are used to writing creatively. This class taught them how to take that creativity into a professional setting: writing press releases, media advisories, speech writing and scripting for their show. They also learned about effective communication with an organization such as ArtsQuest as well as learning how to communicate with professional artists and their management teams.”
Student Melanie Quackenbush spoke on behalf of her class when she closed the press conference, saying, “We’re so grateful to be part of the Musikfest Marketing program and we hope that you will all come and join at the festival.”