Summer of Magic

1 Aug


This past summer, I had the opportunity to serve as the Major Gifts Intern with American Ballet Theatre. I was awaiting a summer full of intense learning of the non-profit performing arts sector and being involved with one of New York City’s most cherished institutions. As the days were counting down until my first official day in the historic 890 offices, I knew I had the opportunity to be surrounded by ballet during my experience working within the development department, but my expectations were greatly exceeded during this exciting and thrilling new adventure.

My magical summer of 2018 consisted of attending numerous captivating ballet performances, including the ever-enchanting Romeo and Juliet, catching glimpses of dancers warming up will touring the backstage of one of the most iconic landmarks in New York City, watching the interactions between gracious donors and accomplished dancers, and working numerous events on the majestic and classic Grand Tier lounge at The Metropolitan Opera House.

My first day at ABT was perhaps my favorite day while serving as the Major Gifts Intern. Taking place on the Grand Tier Lounge of the Metropolitan Opera House, The Golden Circle Luncheon, an annual event which honors some of ABT’s brightest stars, was about to begin. As the sun beamed through the floor to ceiling windows in the Grand Tier lounge over-looking Lincoln Center Plaza, the atmosphere was full of excitement as some of ABT’s most generous donors and beloved dancers graced the lounge all in support of the strong and focused mission of ABT. I had to opportunity to hear Executive Director, Kara Medoff Barnett and Principal ABT Dancer Daniil Simkin give inspiring and aweing speeches to the intimate balcony of loyal patrons. I was beyond impressed with the scale and design of the event, and how welcoming and passionate the staff and donors of ABT were to me on my first day. This was the ultimate welcome to ABT as I soaked in the magic of working at the historic Metropolitan Opera House while celebrating the tremendous fundraising efforts of ABT and an incredible and sensational 2018 Met Season.

Moments of complete awe, such as my first day with ABT, encompassed my entire summer. From hearing the piano music playing from the summer intensive rehearsals while I walk to my desk or passing by legendary ABT choreographers in the Met cafeteria, I absolutely enjoyed being around such creative and passionate individuals. What makes ABT such an amazing organization is not only these intimate moments, but the attitude and undeniable dedication that every staff member, dancer, audience member, student and employee obtain.

Working for ABT has taught me that with a strong and clear mission statement, nonprofits can soar and make enormous change in the world while providing endless inspiration for all. By working within the Major Gifts office, I had the special opportunity to witness the amount of generosity loyal patrons give to ABT to make these magical moments happen. From tracking ticket purchases to connecting dancer sponsors with their ballerina, there was no shortage of meaning from any task I performed. Whether I was working in the office or engaging with donors post-performance at the Met, I felt that my unique experience with ABT has provided me with the tools and skills I need to succeed in my professional career.

As my internship comes to a close, I will take away extensive knowledge about what it means to be a part of a team who makes magic happen for more than 300,000 individuals each year. I am so fortunate to say that I have worked for one of the most hardworking arts organizations not only in New York City, but in the world. I will cherish every lesson I have learned, from what it means to cultivate a new donor base from ticket sales, to understanding the signature personality of a Petipa ballet. I will take these meager and extensive lessons with me wherever I go, and always remember my time with American Ballet Theatre; the summer I saw magic come to life.

Margaret Farrell

Major Gifts Intern

Summer 2018

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