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Oct. 17, 2015
By Brett Fredenberg, media relations assistant
Ally Hilden has accomplished a lot during her academic career at Northwest Missouri State University and in the University’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts, and last summer she added a life-changing internship to her experiences.
Hilden, a senior instrumental music education major from Smithville, Mo., was part of the counseling staff at Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan during its prestigious fine arts summer camp, which draws talented youth artists from throughout the world.
“It was an absolutely incredible experience,” Hilden said. “The students are unbelievably talented and it was a pleasure to work with them. The other staff was amazingly supportive and positive, which was a great work environment. The buildings were a blend of modern artistic work space alongside rustic cabins. It was a wonderful blend of nature and artistic expression. The support for artistic endeavors at Interlochen was overflowing and a beautiful thing to see.”
Hilden mentored 26 high school-aged girls throughout the duration of the camp, living in a cabin with them and a co-counselor. The campers represented a variety of artistic majors, including general visual arts, advanced painting, screenwriting, creative writing, filmmaking, ballet, modern dance and jazz saxophone.
Hilden also oversaw cabin activities, assisted the recreation squad by working with other counselors and rec directors to organize and supervise daily recreation activities, and assisted with office duties.
Hilden says the most important lesson she learned during the internship experience was to always be prepared but flexible. She says the bonds developed by the campers was evident during the program’s final campfire, and that night is among her favorite memories of the experience.
“We went down to the beach and had our awards ceremony, sang songs and released sky lanterns,” Hilden said. “We had 400 high school girls sobbing over each other by the end of the night. My favorite memory is seeing the close bond of my campers.”
Hilden aspires to be a band director. She wants to help students develop an appreciation for music and participating in a band. Hilden has a passion for developing musicians as well as young people.
“My dream is to be a part of a program that isn’t necessarily about being the best, but growing the most,” Hilden said. “I want my students striving to do better than where they came from, musically, artistically, and as people.”
Hilden said she chose to attend Northwest because it represented a home to her as a high school student. After participating in high school band trips and visits to Northwest, she could not imagine being anywhere else. Being surrounded by faculty and students who care about how people grow and develop, Hilden recognizes students are pushed to reach for the next level at Northwest.
During the last three years, Hilden has led the Bearcat Marching Band as a drum major. She also participates in Wind Symphony, Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble and Bell Tower Brass Quintet.
She says those experiences as well as her internship have proven to be invaluable preparation for her professional career.
“The great examples of students and faculty at Northwest push you to be better and to encourage your future students to do the same,” Hilden said.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468