This article originally appeared in the winter 2011 Harker Quarterly.
In early November, Greg Kastelman ’05 returned to The Harker School to run a workshop for instrumentalists and vocalists interested in pursuing the arts in college.
Kastelman is a public relations manager and booking agent with iCadenza, a company that works with young professionals, aiming to give them a strong start and skill set in creative fields.
Kastelman contacted Laura Lang-Ree, chair of the K-12 performing arts department, about coming to speak with the students.
Twenty-five students attended the workshop, and Kastelman emphasized throughout the workshop, “You create your own opportunities. Your career is what you create.” This goes for everything from finding a job to self-promotion.
Govinda Dasu, grade 12, said, “You can create your own job in the performing arts.”
Kastelman talked to students about the differences between conservatories and regular universities with performing arts programs. Susan Nace, a performing arts teacher at the upper school, says he took care also to say, “You don’t have to major in performing arts to be involved in performing arts in college.”
This point particularly resonated with Sean Knudsen, grade 10, who said that learning there are lots of options in the performing arts in college, even if you aren’t majoring or minoring in them, was “the most important thing I learned.”
From there, Kastelman branched into being involved in the performing arts without necessarily being a performer.
According to Nace, the students agreed that an interactive discussion about competition and collaboration was the highlight of the event, with Kastelman arguing that, while “competition is good for continued growth, collaboration is important, too.”
At the end of event, Lang-Ree said, “I hope that it gave our students a different way about thinking about their future lives in the arts, perhaps a new direction or a renewed commitment. The workshop got them to focus on their strengths and ambitions, and on ways of looking for a college that best suits those.”
Reflecting on the workshop, Payal Modi, grade 11, said, “I gained a lot of insight into my main question: ‘What really happens when people go off to college to pursue performing arts as a career?’”