Hi there! I’m Thea Miller, my pronouns are they/them/theirs, and I’m overjoyed to be serving OIGC as the organization’s first intern! I’ve just finished my sophomore year at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. I am a double major in music and French studies, and my primary research interests are in gender identity politics in medieval French music and literature. I am able to work for OIGC at no cost to the organization through the Praxis program, which offers stipends for all Smith students to pursue work at unpaid internships during their academic career.
When casting about for internship opportunities early this year, my first and greatest hope was for an internship at OIGC. The organization has done so much for my family and for me personally over the years by uniting three generations through our love for music. I will never forget what it felt like to sing alongside my mother and grandmother at one of OICC’s first concerts—the connectedness I felt with my family and other members of the choir. And I certainly can’t forget performing in an OICC concert shortly after graduating high school, with Terrance stopping the concert to call me to the front and have Sophie Gardner present me with a huge balloon that read “Congrats, Grad! You did it!” on either side.
I have been searching for the best way to repay all of that kindness, and this internship is it. I joined the team hoping to bring clarity, organization, and openness to OIGC’s administrative operations, and I am happy to report that I am making progress on these three goals. Since my start several weeks ago, I have organized the majority of the organization’s online files, and may move to physical files in the near future. I am also in the middle of collaborating with Sophie on a revised handbook for OICC: a guide for new and returning members that will orient them to the standard protocols and developing traditions of the choir. And because of my background in musicology, music history, and social justice, I will be conducting research and likely consulting with Terrance on the culture of gospel music and how to maintain the utmost respect for that tradition as members of an interfaith choir. I will (hopefully) be developing handouts on these topics for the organization’s overall benefit and posting them in a place that all choir members can easily access.
I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to work for and with OIGC this summer. I associate myself strongly with the organization’s mission. I believe in the power of music to bring people together regardless of differences, be they differences of race, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, religion, or a host of other identity quotients by which we relate to others. My experience with choirs has been varied, but I have found that the less homogenous the group, the more effective and enriching the learning environment for the singers. I appreciate OIGC for its approach to diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality. I am excited to do my part to advance this mission over the summer, and to meet and learn from wonderful people along the way. Hopefully everyone will be seeing my face around rehearsals and events—I am more than happy to talk about how I will be spending my summer at OIGC. Until then, be well!