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Arts Blog | Interview with Amanda Mason

Interview with Amanda Mason

John Berbrich: I understand that you’ve recently been hired by the St. Lawrence County Arts
Council. What are your responsibilities there?

Amanda Mason: Yes! I was recently hired as SLC Arts new Programs Coordinator. As
Programs Coordinator I am in charge of our various events throughout the year as well as our
inaugural North Country Arts Festival. From creating the foundation of the event itself, to
booking musicians and artists, I am very hands-on when it comes to our programs. I just
graduated from SUNY Fredonia with a degree in Music Industry as well as Arts
Administration—so one of my main goals as Programs Coordinator is to create more events that
are more inclusive to all the arts, including music. I think that a lot of the time, the performing
arts are overlooked when it comes to art forms, because they are not some kind of physical
inanimate object that you can buy at an art sale. In my new role at SLC Arts, I want to create
more inclusive events as well as opportunities for all types of art.

John: Are you a musician?

Amanda: I am a musician! I play the Baritone Saxophone, and I also sing as an alto/tenor. I am
currently trying to learn how to play the Ukulele as well as the piano on my own. In high school
I taught saxophone lessons to younger students, took saxophone lessons at Crane, as well as
participated in Crane Youth Music’s summer camp. I was frequently in All-County Band and
All-County Jazz Band throughout Junior High and High School. The last eight years I have
played in Jack Kelley’s Little Big Band with my brother, and in college I played as a part of the
All-College Band.

John: So, how does one organize something like a music or arts festival? What needs to be
considered?

Amanda: There are a lot of different pieces that are involved in planning an arts festival. Firstly,
you want to be inclusive of all types of art forms, so you have to come up with ideas for events
that do that for the community. Then you have to go through the process of booking the location
you are envisioning having the events at, as well as take weather conditions into account. Once
you do that, you have to reach out to the various artists and musicians that you would ideally like
to participate in your festival, gather all of their information you need, and keep in constant
communication with them to answer any questions they may have, as well as officially confirm
they will be there. After you get the ball rolling on this, you then have to look for businesses to
sponsor your festival, so that you can have the funding you need to purchase merchandise, pay
bands, pay for sound and equipment, advertising and marketing, as well as having catering if
necessary. The day of the event, you can only cross your fingers that everything goes to plan!

John: So you learned all this at Fredonia?

Amanda: I learned a lot of things regarding Music law and copyrights while at Fredonia through
my classes; however, I had learned a lot of the Event Coordinating on my own through my
Musicality Fundraiser I put together when I was in high school. In Seventh Grade, I put together
Musicality—a Music Fundraiser full of performances, booths, vendors, raffles, etc.—in order to
prevent the budget cut of Parishville’s music department. I held Musicality 5 years in a row, and
donated over $14,000 to the Parishville-Hopkinton music department, saving the department from being cut. While at Fredonia, I was the elected Event Coordinator and Vice President of the Music Industry Club at Fredonia. Through these positions, I coordinated a multitude of
different events centered around different themes, genres, locations, and different types of
ASCAP and BMI licensing. Having an important role in the club, I worked directly with
organizations, performers, and campus. So I learned a lot from being so hands-on with events
since I was twelve years old.

John: What events have you planned for the near future?

Amanda: Well, I am currently working on putting together SLC Arts inaugural “North Country
Arts Festival” happening throughout September, which has a bunch of events incorporated into
it. These events include: Potsdam and Canton PorchFest, the Ives Park Concert Series, Artist’s
Studio Tour, Remington Arts Festival—as well as a completely new concert series I’m putting
together at Windy Point Stables in October called “Songs at the Stables.” All of these events and
dates are listed on SLC Arts Facebook page, Website, and will be in our festival booklet!

John: You sound busy! Any other big events in mind for the far future?

Amanda: In the future, once SLC Arts has their new Arts Center and the North Country Arts
Festival is over, I plan to put together a Coffee House music/poetry/comedy hour hosted in the
arts center. We will also host various art workshops, rehearsal spaces for bands, a gardening
space for those who have a green thumb, while showcasing different art pieces from the area
such as through our upcoming exhibit—the Creative Partner Showcase. Next summer we also
hope to put together an Arts Day Camp for the local youth to enjoy and explore different types of
art mediums.

John: Thanks, Amanda. Enjoy the rest of your summer.

Amanda: Thank you for your time, John, and thank you for helping to spread awareness of the
local arts! Help keep music and the arts alive in our community!

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Amanda Mason, 22, is from Parishville, New York. Recently graduated from SUNY Fredonia
with a degree in Music Industry, minoring in Arts Administration as well as
Communications—she discovered her passion for music at a very young age. She adopted a
stray kitten and named him “Crookshanks” in reference to her favorite book series—Harry
Potter—as well as started a new hobby of collecting Vinyl Records. When not doing something
music-related, she loves spending time with her family and pets, playing basketball, and road