Being the Director of Center Stage for the University Program Board has been the most challenging, fun, and rewarding experience of my JMU career so far. I knew when I joined UPB as a freshman that I eventually wanted the title of Director of Center Stage. I thought, how cool would it be to put on events for thousands of students? And how incredible would it be if the students that attended these concerts talked about them for years to come? When I was hired in the Spring of 2013, I couldn’t wait to get my feet wet and start planning the next year’s events. Of course, I had to wait. But now I look back over the past two and a half years I’ve spent with UPB with nothing but pride.
I’ve learned so much, not only about the music industry, but about leadership and who I am and want to be as a person. While working in this position, I’ve learned the ropes of creating the survey that gets sent out to the entire student body, taking their feedback and making offers to artists, and I’ve successfully overseen the day-of-show production of concerts in Wilson Hall and the Convocation Center. I’ve also learned to lead a committee of roughly thirty creative individuals in planning and executing these events, from deciding which artists we think would sell more tickets, to choosing positions to work the day-of-show, down to the colors of the tickets and figuring out what the artists want for lunch when they’re at JMU. I’ve challenged myself as a leader and have learned a lot about working in a professional setting, including communication, time management, organization, and problem solving skills.
There is a lot of work that goes into being the director of some of the largest events on campus, but seeing all of 1289 seats in Wilson Hall filled for Sammy Adams, or hearing the drumming of hands against the chairs at Convo when Macklemore was here last spring makes the job worth it – because JMU students love good music, just as much as you want to deliver it to them. It is honestly the most rewarding thing I have ever done, and when the lights go out and an artist takes the stage, everything just makes sense. I encourage everyone who has ever had music industry or event planning experience to challenge themselves and apply for this position!