Performing Outside the Box
Typically, music majors have an end-of-the-year performance, and business majors write a strategy capstone or a business plan. As a double major in business management (with a concentration in accounting and finance) and music (with a concentration in voice), Symes wished to combine her two passions in the “most effective way.” She wanted to “break new ground” and do something that had never been done before. She chose to professionally record a CD, complete with photo shoots, graphic artist, CD release party and cabaret-style show to showcase her hard work. To satisfy all of the business department requirements, she had chapters in her ethnography focusing on the business aspect of the project.
The Clarence Hodson Prize, a grant for $2500 presented to Symes last spring by the fine arts department, helped her to make her capstone so spectacular. The process was “exhausting, but incredibly rewarding,” and took a year and a half to complete, compared to most music students, who plan and complete their senior recitals during their last semester. Her advisors from both departments, Joseph Bauer and Jonathan McCollum, worked closely with her and gave her the encouragement and push she needed to complete such an intensive project. Symes also worked with catering, the Gibson crew, lighting, and students.
Normally senior recitals involve students singing on stage with a standard spotlight, but Symes chose to “create a more night club feel” as she sang popular Broadway and modern songs. Symes “had never had a show of my own before,” so the entire experience was new and exciting for her.
When asked what advice she would give current and future W.C. students Symes said, “start planning now. If you want to do something big and beyond the generic capstone, start planning now.” Symes herself knew what she wanted to do from the beginning and came to Washington College “with big plans.” She added, “If I didn’t come in with it planned out I wouldn’t have been able to have done it. There’s no way.”
Now that her capstone is complete, Symes can finally focus on her job hunt. She may go into finance or she may take a more creative route after graduation, but ideally she wants to merge both her business side and her creative side just as she did her capstone. Everyone at W.C. is excited to see what her next step will be.
—Zoë Schneider ’15