Andrew Hanson, a sophomore majoring in Environmental Science with a minor in Vocal Performance, is the Lead Intern of The Vail Series.

His journey began with a deep appreciation for the arts even before he set foot on Denison’s campus.

Hanson followed arts-related organizations on social media when he was freshly accepted into Denison. The Vail Series quickly caught his attention.

The Vail Series was a gift to Denison thanks to Mary and Foster McGaw, in honor of Jeannie Vail. And as it was intended, their generosity was meant for the arts to be shared with the Denison community. This endowment has allowed The Vail Series to host well-known artists like Yo-Yo Ma, Bobby McFerrin, and Terence Blanchard, and up and coming stars, to enrich the cultural experiences of the Denison community, bringing artists not only to the stage, but often into the classroom. And this generosity has been shared to our community audience members as well.

Working for the Vail Series offers a unique opportunity for students to not only attend concerts but also to actively participate in its behind-the-scenes operations.

As a freshman, Hanson dove headfirst into being a Vail Series staff member.

He attended meetings, engaged in marketing efforts, and volunteered as an usher. This involvement allowed him to learn the intricacies of different roles within The Vail Series.

The Vail Series operates with a dynamic team structure. This year, at its core, ten interns handle various responsibilities, from social media management to ticketing, production, and ushering. Rounding out the team is approximately 40 general staff members who assist with every activity.

Posters, banners, and social media campaigns flood the campus in the two weeks leading up to concerts. The Vail Series team even places their promotion cards inside restroom doors, turning every space into an opportunity for promotion.

The goal is clear: make the arts accessible and intriguing to everyone within the community.

Marketing plans this year are organized in part by Carrie Emerman ‘26, one of two Marketing Interns. The uniqueness of each Vail Series concert requires tailor-made marketing approaches.

“Marketing for one of [the concerts], included a roll-out keyboard where you play the notes on the floor. You make noise using your feet,” Emerman said.

From creating sign-up sheets to wrapping tape around popsicle sticks for poster placement, every detail is considered.

On concert day, the Vail staff ushers, scanning tickets, handing out programs, greeting people, and assisting as needed. The production team helps with sound checks, video setups, and recordings, making sure that every performance runs smoothly.

This is the job that both Emerman and Hanson fell for.

“The day of the concert is definitely my favorite,” Emerman said. “It’s so fun to talk to the community. They love that we do this.”

For Hanson, one of the most important lessons he has learned through the Vail Series is the significance of making people feel appreciated. Whether it’s the audiences, staff members, or the artists, saying “thank you” goes a long way in fostering a sense of community and enthusiasm.

Our next Vail concert is the preeminent and best a capella group in the world, Take 6, Thrusday, October 26, 7:00 p.m. Swasey Chapel.

With 10 GRAMMY® Awards, 10 Dove® Awards, 2 NAACP Image Awards, a Soul Train Award, and more, Take 6 (Claude McKnight, Mark Kibble, Joel Kibble, Dave Thomas, Alvin Chea and Khristian Dentley) continue to bring extraordinary vocals to their worldwide audiences.

Heralded by Quincy Jones as the “Baddest vocal cats on the planet,” these six virtuosic voices unite in crystal clear harmony, against a backdrop of syncopated rhythms, innovative arrangements, and funky grooves that bubble into an intoxicating brew of gospel, jazz, R&B, and pop.

With praise from such luminaries as Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Brian Wilson, Ella Fitzgerald, and Whitney Houston, the multi-platinum selling sextet has toured across the globe, collaborating across genres, and is recognized as the pre-eminent a cappella group in the world.’

Tickets are free for Denison students, faculty, and staff. A limited number of public tickets are available for $20.

September 26, 2023