By Rhonda Apple, Pentagram Staff WriterAugust 6, 2013
JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - Some high school students spend summers hanging out with friends, on vacation, or working part-time jobs. Michelle Stroberg spent part of her summer working with The United States Army Band through Arlington Public School's Professional Related Intern/Mentorship Experience, or PRIME program, July 9-26.
PRIME is an internship program for gifted high school juniors and seniors, placing them as unpaid interns in professional organizations for the opportunity to learn more about their areas of interest.
Stroberg, 16, plays piano and guitar. The rising junior at Yorktown High School has been busy working with various elements of "Pershing's Own," since her arrival at the band's headquarters, Brucker Hall on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.
Master Sgt. Lorrie Brown, oboe section leader and Stroberg's mentoring supervisor, was responsible for developing and overseeing the student's learning plan during the internship. Brown said the learning plan is somewhat tailored to the interests of each individual.
"When I interviewed Michelle, she was interested in learning some of the band's logistics and the things that go on within running an organization," said Brown. "I had different mentors from all the elements in the band take on that [mentoring] role, so she gets a better breadth of experience and input from different people here."
Stroberg received one-on-one instruction from musicians, observed performances, rehearsals, shadowed technicians, spent time with the band's public affairs staff, and worked in the band's library and supply. She observed full honors at a military funeral and conducted research assignments.
Stroberg said it was impossible to choose one particular experience she liked best during her internship with TUSAB. "I'm glad I got the chance to see all the different aspects of The U.S. Army Band and gain experience in a lot of different areas that I didn't know about before [coming here]," Stroberg said. "It's also been interesting seeing how everyone works together."
During her internship with the band, Stroberg said she observed The Concert Band and The String Quartet rehearsals. "I shadowed the sound engineers at the Twilight Tattoo. ... I also got to shadow them at [The U.S. Army] Orchestra concerts," said Stroberg. "Getting to see the concerts was fun. They're very polished performers."
Stroberg particularly enjoyed working with the sound engineers. "There are a lot of things that go into making a performance happen, most people don't know about. It was interesting to watch [the sound engineers]. They told me how they have to be careful where the microphone is in relation to the person speaking. If they want music to stand out, they amplify [instruments] a bit more and it would almost sound like two instruments playing," she said.
She also liked working with the band's public affairs office. "I phoned public broadcasting stations to get the contact information so the station could be sent the DVD of the band's holiday concert," Stroberg said. "I also enjoyed working on the staff duty and front lobby reception desk answering phones and helping during Alumni Week."
The student said it was meaningful to attend the Guam wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns with the band and enjoyed assisting the videographer at the Association of the United States Army luncheon at the Army-Navy Country Club.
"Master Sergeant Brown has been very helpful, willing to spend a lot of time and effort with me and help make this a good experience. Everyone here was willing to help me and let me come to events. This has been a new environment and I've never experienced anything like it before ... it was interesting to learn about it all," Stroberg said.
"I can definitely say that this is absolutely one of the best high school interns I've been asked to work with. She's really conscientious, quick [to learn] and very mature," said Brown.