As one of nine MCLA students who participated in this year's Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) conference in New York City, Gary Noke '10 of Concord, Mass., gained more than professional insight into the world of arts administration. Through networking with experts in the field, he landed an internship and a focus on his career in arts management.
While at the January conference, Noke met Tony Miccoci, a New York City booking agent who has his own production company. According to Noke, Miccoci was "very inspiring as he talked about his business and how he got into it. He showed me that that's an area of the arts I want to go into. It kind of just went from there."
As a result of the encounter, Noke served a Berkshire Hills Internship Program (B-HIP) internship with Miccoci last June. There, he not only interned in the New York City office, he traveled to St. Paul, Minn., where he worked with youth from Kenya, Africa, who were members of a performing arts school in Nairobi.
"I took them to and from engagements. I learned about having a close relationship with clients, getting involved and believing in the work that you're presenting. It was a great performance. The kids were great. But you really have to believe in something to make it happen and to really make other people enjoy it, too," he explained.
As a booking agent, "You have to have your hands in everything," Noke said. "You really have to be thinking about the arts, where you can put your shows 24/7. It's definitely a full-time job."
Noke is pleased with his MCLA education.
"The arts management program is amazing," he said. "I'm really happy with it. It really opened up a lot of doors for me that would not have, otherwise. I'm in love with my professors. They're the greatest sources I've ever had. They pushed me and drove me to get where I am today. The program really is a stepping stone for students who are going through the fine arts and arts management program to meet people and to get into the field.
"It's a tight-knit program and the only one in Massachusetts or New England. It really is a great program for kids who want to join the arts community," Noke said. "I really owe a lot to my professors and the opportunities that they provided."
Although his "biggest dream" is to become a professional musician, Noke also wants to work in the arts community. "I love the warmth and the camaraderie in the arts." A musician who plays the drums and guitar, he wants to become a booking agent or a tour manager for musical performances.
"I'm definitely starting on the more business-oriented end. I'm not working my way up as a stage hand. But what I love most about the arts is you can do anything you want in it."
Noke, who majored in arts management, graduated in May. "I was definitely scared, graduating," he said. "But I had B-HIP and the internship in New York to look forward to."
Noke and Miccoci are negotiating a continuation of Noke's internship for another six months. "We're definitely trying to work towards me going back to New York. He definitely wants me to come back."