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A watercolor painting of Tanglewood by Rebecca Patterson ’17, who served an internship there over the summer.

Senior Previews Her ‘Dream’ Career at Tanglewood


Working at her Tanglewood internship this summer, Rebecca Patterson ’17 of Framingham, Mass., stared just a little too long at renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma one day, while she was out and about as part of her duties on the music center’s campus. He responded with a wave and a smile.

The occurrence was just one small piece of Patterson’s memorable experience: She now aims for a career at Tanglewood, and with the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO), which makes its summer home there.

A double major in arts management and fine and performing arts, with a concentration in music, Patterson loves classical music. The music venue presents classical, popular and jazz concerts from June to Labor Day.

“I want to work there forever,” Patterson said. “I love Tanglewood. It’s beautiful. I loved being able to stay after work and listen to the best symphony orchestra in the world. I loved my staff. We made a great team! I loved the volunteers. They were all so passionate about this place.”

She enjoyed multiple responsibilities over the summer, which included helping to run weekly lunches for Tanglewood Music Center Fellows, and serving as the first point of contact for Boston Symphony Association of Volunteers, more than 500 strong.

“I really liked helping people with their questions, and making their lives a little easier, especially our volunteers,” Patterson said.

She first set foot on Tanglewood just over a year ago, as part of her participation with the Berkshire Hills Internship Program (B-HIP). As a B-HIP intern, she worked for the Pittsfield Office of Cultural Development.

Patterson enjoyed her B-HIP experience.

“I got to know Pittsfield and was exposed to a lot of art in the Berkshires. I loved working on Third Thursdays and on the First Fridays Art Walks, and I got to practice a lot of the office skills I used [during B-HIP] at Tanglewood.”

Now back at MCLA for her senior year, Patterson serves as a resident advisor (RA) in Berkshire Towers’ Honors Floor.

She’s also focused on securing her dream job; working for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, possibly in education. Patterson will take what she learned over the summer from Tanglewood’s education department, and the various programs it offers, as she writes her honors thesis on “Youth Engagement in Symphony Orchestras.”  

“I love this organization,” Patterson said, “and I'm going to apply for every job they have available when I graduate.”