Viola! Learning About The Smith Center’s Melanie Jupp

Every year, The Smith Center brings the performing arts alive for tens of thousands of school children, and Melanie Jupp, assistant program manager in our Education and Outreach Department, helps this happen. She’s a true dynamo!

Jupp, a native of Henderson and alumna of Green Valley High School, was interviewed by the Orange County Register about a musical program – Viola Workout – that she participated in as an undergraduate at Chapman University, where she majored in psychology and minored in music. The viola camp is a two-week intensive residency held in the gorgeous alpine resort town of Crested Butte, Colo.

We always love seeing our colleagues recognized for their hard work and accomplishments, such as in the article you can read here. We also asked Jupp a few questions of our own:

How was it to be featured in the Orange County Register for your participation in Viola Workout?

It meant a lot that my former professors asked me to participate in the piece. I went to school with so many incredibly talented musicians and the Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music continues to produce stronger, more accomplished musicians each year, so it did take me by surprise a bit since I’m not pursuing a career as a musician. Participating in the Viola Workout did prepare me for success in my own ways though, so I’m glad I was able to share the positive experiences I had with the program.

Please tell us about your experience with the program.

The most unique aspect of the Viola Workout is that it is about growth as a musician and also as a person. My former professor Robert Becker is adamant about the fact that being a musician is about more than spending hours in the practice room or being able to always play in tune and make a phrase. He wants that, but he also wants his students to be well-rounded individuals who can apply their life experiences in everyday situations and in making music.

Taking students up to Crested Butte every summer is his way of reinforcing this and offering his students the opportunity to gain some new life experiences. So even though it is two intensive weeks of practicing and performing, there’s also a heavy emphasis placed on getting out and exploring. I never would have guessed I would go to music camp and be expected to participate in fly fishing class, but I did, and now I stand a chance at being a somewhat successful fly fisherman. We were always encouraged to actively participate in life, as long as it didn’t pose the threat of a broken arm or finger.

How did Chapman University prepare you to work here at The Smith Center?

Prior to my freshman year at Chapman, I accepted a work-study position as the music librarian for the Orange County Youth Symphony Orchestra (OCYSO), a pre-professional orchestra for high school students, which has been affiliated with the Chapman University College of Performing Arts for more than 40 years. I eventually became the General Manager for OCYSO and worked very closely with professors and administrators within the College of Performing Arts, so it ended up preparing me for a career in arts administration in a roundabout way. Through a combination of hard work and a little bit of luck, I started working at The Smith Center just a few months after graduation. It has been the perfect fit for me.

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