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Isabelle Fenton ’24 explores passion for the arts through Lyric Opera of Chicago internship

Isabel Fenton ’24

Isabelle Fenton ’24 never wants to box herself in.

“I’ve always wanted to avoid pigeonholing myself into being just one thing,” said Fenton, who is majoring in English, with a concentration in literary studies and a minor in editing. “I study English because I’m passionate about literature, and that passion is the important part. As long as I’m invested in what I’m doing, that’s what matters. I took a music history course last year called Women in Music that I absolutely loved.”

That attitude has found her working closely with WildCat Theatre, and this summer, interning with the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

The 10-week Donald P. Baiocchi Lyric Opera of Chicago Internship program is sponsored each year by Amanda Fox ’67, a trustee emerita and recent winner of the Alumni Achievement Award. The internship allows Randolph students to gain hands-on experience in arts management and nonprofit fundraising while working for the Lyric’s development office. It also provides a stipend to cover housing and living expenses.

“At this point in my life, any experience is good experience as long as I’m learning and growing,” Fenton said. “The knowledge and skills I’m gaining here will be beneficial to me no matter what career path I take. I’m learning new things every day and that’s what matters. And I’ve always deeply valued the arts—interning at Lyric has enriched that admiration even more.”

During her time at Randolph, Fenton has held various roles in College productions, from producing the Greek Play to stage-managing, tech, and box office work. This internship is providing valuable experience behind the scenes of a professional, well-respected opera organization.

“I work mainly with the boards and events team, so I’ve been handling a lot of information and research that goes into planning and coordinating meetings or events of all sizes throughout the next season that are fundamental to the operation of Lyric,” she said “It’s such a cool feeling to know that the work I’m doing now will have an impact for months to come, even after I’ve left.”

It’s also given her an opportunity to connect with Fox, and the two have shared dinners and attended events together.

Soaking up all the city has to offer has been another highlight for Fenton, who is living downtown in the theater district. She’s attended concerts in Grant Park, visited the Art Institute of Chicago, and recently saw a production of My Fair Lady.

She’s also gotten a crash course in opera.

“Getting to discover opera and all its moving parts from the inside out, with a fresh perspective, has been fascinating,” she said. “I feel like a real part of the team, and that the work I’m doing is actually making a positive contribution to the advancement of the company goals, and that’s been incredibly fulfilling.”

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