CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Over the next few weeks, Katilin Kouns, a Nitro High School senior, will have to forgo afternoons by the pool and trips with her friends. She instead plans to spend the first month of her summer passing out flyers, running errands, and catering to temperamental musicians.
Kouns has landed an internship for FestivALL -- the annual celebration that brings artistic performances and events to Charleston for 10 days every summer.
Kouns will work behind the scenes to coordinate musical performances and develop a unique perspective on festival production.
Initiated in 2004, FestivALL showcases already popular, local productions and débuts original performances from larger companies. The program includes productions by the Charleston Light Opera Guild and Mountain Stage. Other annual events include the Smoke-on-the-Water Chili Cook-Off, riverboat rides, a dance gala and The Mayor's Concert, among others.
But FestivALL 2013 marks the first time that organizers decided to use interns to help orchestrate the events.
Chrissy Preservati, a FestivALL board member, has spearheaded the internship program.
She has interned for the Spoleto Festival, where she fell in love with the fast-paced, energetic and unpredictable atmosphere. Her experience at Spoleto, in Charleston, S.C., prompted her to encourage organizers to initiate a similar program for FestivALL.
"I thought it would be neat to have some young energy," Preservati said.
Earlier this spring, she promoted the internship program at local high schools and sifted through the applications to eventually choose six to eight high school- and college-age students from the Charleston area.
The internship program will expand the pool of people who come back year after year to participate and organize the event, Preservati said.
She has assigned interns to help organize musical productions, dance and theater performances, the art fair and the parade on Capitol Street, events on the West Side and volunteer coordination.
"They'll probably have interns run around town doing a bunch of legwork -- typical intern stuff," Preservati said.
Nick Staples, who recently graduated from George Washington High School, has been completing logistical paperwork and running errands for the dance and theater component of FestivALL for a month now.
When FestivALL officially begins, he will attend dance events, coordinate performers and ensure that everyone remains on the same page.
Kouns has been working for the musical performances and Mountain Stage.
Last week, she attended Live on the Levee where she distributed flyers.
When FestivALL begins, Kouns will perform some of the same tasks as Staples, including handing out paychecks, fetching water and ensuring that everyone remains happy.
"I go wherever I'm needed," Kouns said.
Both students will have to communicate between performers and directors.
"I'm glad that I'm developing that skill now, instead of going into my career blind," Kouns said.