Adam Ouellet '16

To commemorate my final week in the Bay Area, I thought it would be fitting to visit one of San Francisco’s most famous (and haunted) landmarks: Alcatraz! Siting in the middle of San Francisco Bay, surrounded by frigid, tumultuous waters, Alcatraz Island was once home to one of America’s highest security federal prisons that held the nation’s most notorious criminals. While I didn’t see any ghosts during my time on Alcatraz Island (also called “the Rock”), the tour of the prison was compelling and spooky. Plus, the ferry ride across the Bay offered some great views of the SF skyline!

In addition to my little Alcatraz excursion, over the past week I attended a few concerts at Music@Menlo, a chamber music series in Atherton, CA. Like Music at Kohl Mansion, Music@Menlo hosts chamber ensembles from around the world and attracts patrons from across the Bay Area. However, while Music at Kohl Mansion’s season lasts from October through May, Music@Menlo’s main series takes place during the summer months. Since I haven’t been able to hear a performance at Music at Kohl, going to a Music@Menlo event was a great way for me to attend a performance that would be similar to one at Music at Kohl.

As I sit here at my desk on my last day at the Kohl Mansion, I can’t help but think about the plethora of insightful and eyeopening experiences that I have had in the last 10 weeks I have been out here. From spearheading a social media campaign to singing for the MAKM Board of Directors, my summer internship has been incredibly unique and highly personalized. Not only has my work taught me the ins and outs of PR and marketing for an arts nonprofit, but it has reinforced my love of music and broadened my understanding of the impact that music has upon the lives of people from across all ages and demographics.

I have also gained a new perspective as to what life is like on the West Coast! I would have never been able to take advantage of so many remarkable adventures had I just stayed in Massachusetts this summer. I am overjoyed that I decided to make the courageous move to live and work in an unknown place, which I have come to love.

I would like to thank the Holy Cross Summer Internship Program, my host family and parents, my Music at Kohl Mansion supervisor, coworkers, and all of the MAKM board members who helped make this summer possible for me. Going forward, I am confident that this internship will have been an essential building block for my future career.

When one thinks of San Francisco, one automatically imagines the Golden Gate Bridge stretching out across the emerald waters of San Francisco Bay, triumphantly peeking out of a cloud of mist. But when I got to walk the Golden Gate Bridge this past weekend, to my surprise there were no clouds to shroud the bridge! Instead, the skies were completely blue, providing a serene, unimpaired view of the San Francisco skyline. Therefore, I can comfortably say that the walk across the bridge was well-worth the bumpy bus ride across the city.

Aside from visiting the Golden Gate, I had the opportunity to attend the Merola Opera Program’s production of Tennessee Williams’ play A Streetcar Named Desire. Having read the play in high school, it was intriguing to see the suspenseful, tragic story transformed into an opera. Seeing this performance was another great way for me to become more acquainted with the musical scene here in the Bay Area.

If you’ve been following my blog, you would know that last month I had the pleasure of attending Music at Kohl Mansion’s Board of Director’s meeting. This month, once again, I was invited to attend the meeting, but this time they invited me to sing for them! Considering that MAKM is a chamber music series, I thought that German lieder would be most appropriate for the venue. I have provided video links of the two pieces I sang: Das Fischermädchen and Nacht und Träume by Franz Schubert. Check them out: and

Following my musical prelude, the meeting was quickly underway with several important topics to be discussed, including the upcoming Board of Directors retreat. The retreat was proposed as an exercise to facilitate team-building within the board and to encourage the brain-storming of ideas for MAKM’s future programs and vision. Not only will the retreat help the board explore significant topics like MAKM’s financial future and fundraising, but it will help form deeper personal connections between board members. During my time at MAKM, I’ve learned that what makes a small arts non-profit so unique is the personal connections that are created not just between board members, but between patrons and family-members and neighbors. In a sense, since Music at Kohl is so intimate and small, it fosters its own community, which is one of the most important goals of a non-profit organization. 

Greetings from the West Coast!

I can’t believe that the month of June has passed and July is already in full swing. It seems like it was just yesterday when I was anxiously booking my flight to San Francisco, preparing to cross the country for the first time. Now that I’ve visited most of SF’s tourist hotspots, I had the chance to explore a few neighborhoods that are off the map over the weekend, including the historic Russian Hill, famous for Lombard Street and its eight twisty turns, giving it the distinction of the being “the crookedest street in the world.” Following my precarious journey down Lombard Street, I ventured over to Alta Plaza Park, which offered some exquisite views of the city. At the time, the park was hosting San Francisco’s annual “Pug Meet-up,” an opportunity for pug lovers across the Bay Area to socialize their pugs with other pugs. The unexpected event was adorable and hilarious, featuring dozens of little pugs prancing through the grass.


The View From Alta Plaza Park

But aside from the pug hilarity, whether it has been writing the monthly newsletter or updating social media, my internship at Music at Kohl Mansion has continued to provide me with an abundance of learning opportunities. This week I had the chance to sit in on another education committee meeting, where we discussed the committee’s strategic plan for the next few years. One of the major points that was explored was the expansion of MAKM’s educational programming across the Bay Area. While in previous years the education committee has focused on providing programs for K-12 students, the committee would like to expand the program by sponsoring classes for adult amateur chamber musicians as well as educational programming for seniors. By siting in on MAKM’s education committee and Board of Directors meetings, I’ve become inspired by the goals of the non-profit world, which include remaining aware of how the organization serves others and understanding what the organization’s impact is upon the local community. Going forward, whether I decide to enter the world of non-profits or not, I know that I would like to choose a career that serves others in some way or another.

Next week I plan on attending another Board of Directors meeting. I’ve even been invited to sing a few pieces for them! I’ll let you know how it goes!

Hi Everyone!

I’m officially halfway done with my summer internship!

This past weekend I got to do some more sightseeing in the Bay Area, which included riding an infamous San Francisco cable car. I’ll admit that traveling up and down SF’s steep hills was a bit precarious at times, but the views were spectacular and well-worth the slight rise in blood-pressure. Once I disembarked from the cable-car, I walked along Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco’s historic fishing district. Despite the plethora of crowded shops and wandering tourists, the views of San Francisco Bay and Alcatraz Island from the wharf were breath-taking. Due to San Francisco’s vast geographical size and significant historical past, there are endless sights to see here. I’m hoping to squeeze in as many as I can in the next few weeks!


Fisherman’s Wharf

Meanwhile, at MAKM I worked on honing my marketing skills. Every month, MAKM sends out a newsletter to each of its patrons advertising subscription prices and the upcoming concert season lineup. This past week I assisted in constructing the newsletter for month of June.* Even though the concert season doesn’t begin until October, it’s important to advertise the season throughout the summer to acquire new patrons and spread the word. In addition to writing the newsletter, I created an official Twitter account for MAKM. Over the past few years, MAKM has been working to attract more young adults to their chamber series. As a 21st century college student, I understand the significant impact that social media sites, such as Twitter, have on the lives of young adults. Hopefully the new Twitter account will help advertise MAKM’s season to a younger audience. Check it out:

Overall, I can’t believe how fast the time is flying by here. Maybe it’s because I’ve yet to have a good amount of down time or maybe it’s the fact that almost every day has been sunny and pleasant. Whatever it is, I know that I’ll certainly miss this place when I’m gone.



Greetings Everyone!


After the sweltering heat wave last week, the Bay Area has finally cooled down. However, the chilly weather didn’t prevent me from visiting Half Moon Bay and seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time! Since the water was freezing, I was restricted to only looking at the Pacific, rather than actually swimming in it. Perhaps I will brave the icy water and take the plunge another time. Over the weekend, I also got to attend a nail-biting Red Sox vs. Athletics game across the bay in Oakland. Even though I was outnumbered by Oakland fans, I proudly donned my Red Sox t-shirt and cheered on the reigning World Champions.


Half Moon Bay

Once again, my week at Music at Kohl Mansion proved to be eye-opening, filled with plenty of learning experiences. After mailing out almost 600 subscription packets last week, the ticket orders for the 32nd season began to come in, meaning that MAKM had to start marketing itself across a variety of news outlets for the upcoming concerts. Since MAKM’s patrons come from all over the Bay Area and beyond to attend their world-class chamber music series, MAKM must advertise itself in multiple different newspapers and websites to target their diverse audience.

In addition to writing advertisements and learning a few marketing skills, I had the privilege of sitting in on MAKM’s Education Committee meeting. The Education Committee is the group which plans and organizes MAKM’s family and children’s programming in local schools. A prominent question that the committee discussed was why the arts are becoming less appealing to children. Some of the committee members explained that it was because arts education in both public and private schools is being slashed. Others stated that it was because parents are not cultivating an appreciation for the arts in their kids. One person said that it was because playing music is not as popular or “cool” as playing a sport in school. All of these insightful suggestions offer credible answers to the question. Whether or not the problem is solved in the future, I’m incredibly appreciative to my teachers and parents for introducing me to music. Without music, not only would my childhood education have been profoundly depreciated, but I would not have found my passion in life.

As another action-packed week comes to a close here on the Peninsula, all of you must be starting to wonder when things will begin to slow down for me and there won’t be any more sights to see. But I haven’t even seen the Golden Gate Bridge yet! So I’m confident there are several eventful weeks still ahead.

Stay tuned!


Welcome back!

Today officially marks the end of my second week here on the Peninsula. I’m sure that I’ll be flying back to Massachusetts before I even know it, preparing to return to Mount Saint James and bracing myself for the never-ending season that is the New England winter. But alas! Since I’m here for eight more weeks, I plan on soaking up as much California sun as I can get without an ounce of remorse.

Speaking of the sun, this past weekend I spent the majority of my time enjoying the steamy weather in the Bay Area by attending a free concert in Golden Gate Park and spending the day at Northern California’s largest amusement park. But now that my sunburns are starting to show from waiting in endless lines for roller coasters, perhaps I spent a little too much time basking in the sunshine (it reached 100F in San Mateo!)

Apart from my free time outside of work, my internship at Music at Kohl Mansion has kept me busy with a variety of engaging projects. Since MAKM is currently preparing for its 32nd concert season beginning in October, I was assigned with the task of assembling subscription packets to be mailed to approximately 600 patrons along with writing a press release announcing the upcoming season. In order to complete these projects, I had to become acquainted with each individual artist. This proved to be an intriguing task considering the fact that the approaching concert season will feature an eclectic blend of musical ensembles, including piano and string quartets and a collection of musicians from the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. This week, I also attended MAKM’s monthly Board of Directors meeting, where I introduced myself and observed the proceedings.

Since MAKM’s concert season does not take place during the summer, I thought that it would be a good idea to familiarize myself with the musical scene of the Bay Area by attending a few musical events. This past week I was given the incredible opportunity to hear the San Francisco Symphony perform a Beethoven piano concerto and a riveting symphony by Shostakovich at the world-famous Davies Symphony Hall. I also had the privilege of attending the San Francisco Opera’s performance of Verdi’s La Traviata, an epic story about love and loss that left me speechless.


Davies Symphony Hall

Overall, as I sit here looking out my bedroom window at the sun as it sets over another eventful day, I think it’s safe to say that I have finished settling in to my new surroundings. I’ve started to become accustom to the twenty minute bike ride (uphill!) to the Kohl Mansion and I’ve even begun to select my favorite lunch spots in the area. I’ve also started to become familiar with my coworkers and have finally stopped having to ask where the supply closet is.

I’d say that it’s already starting to feel like home!




Hello Everyone!



Considering that it has been a week since I arrived at San Francisco Airport with nothing but my luggage and some hopeful expectations, I thought that now would be an appropriate time for me to introduce myself. My name is Adam Ouellet: singing enthusiast, music and history double major, lover of chocolate, and small-town boy at heart. This summer I will be completing a ten week internship in PR and marketing at Music at Kohl Mansion, a nonprofit organization that presents an annual chamber music series featuring artists from around the world in Burlingame, CA. For the month of June, I will also be working at Carlstrom Productions, an event management and production company located in San Mateo, CA.  Before I begin, I would like to extend my gratitude to the Holy Cross Summer Internship Program for giving me the incredible opportunity to explore and learn more about my career aspirations this summer.

This past week I have spent most of my time acclimating  to life in the Bay Area. I must admit, it hasn’t been difficult adjusting to the  weather here on the Peninsula (there is no humidity!) In my free time, I’ve gone for scenic bike rides, eaten sour-dough bread (San Francisco is famous for it), and gone canoeing along the canals in Foster City, a quiet suburb approximately forty minutes south of SF.

On Monday I began working at Carlstrom Productions, where I assisted in researching possible speakers for an upcoming corporate event that the company is working to produce. As a passionate musician, I was given the task of finding a speaker who uses music and the arts to inspire creativity and teamwork in the business world. This intriguing task proved to be rather eye opening, in that it was fascinating to see how different speakers used music as an inspirational learning tool. For example, one speaker discussed the power of improv in jazz and how it could encourage innovation and quick-thinking.

During my time at Music at Kohl Mansion, I spent most of my time organizing and categorizing the 30 years worth of concert programs that MAKM has featured. I also began researching the bios and photographs of the artists who will be making an appearance in the next concert season beginning in October. The Kohl Mansion is a gorgeous venue for chamber music, featuring Elizabethan style architecture and a Great Hall that is an intimate setting for concerts. I’m extremely excited to be working in such a beautiful space this summer.


Kohl Mansion 1







The Kohl Mansion





All in all, my first week was a success! I’m sure there are going to be a couple of bumps along my ten-week journey, but I’m comforted to know that all of you have come along for the ride. I plan on providing weekly blog posts, along with pictures from my various experiences. Let’s see what next week has in store!