The Pels

A Pelican Summer: Music Director

Sara Lewis

This is my first full season working on Star Island and it’s been amazing so far. I got introduced to the magic of this place through someone I was visiting last summer in 2012, and loved it so much I decided to apply to work here this summer. I was very pleased to be offered the position of music director — to get to play, arrange, direct, accompany, put shows together. These are many of the things I do in my normal life for fun, so the thought of getting paid to do them (not to mention on a gorgeous island) was pretty exciting. It’s a welcome change of pace from the craziness and the heat of summer in New York City, that’s for sure!

On a weekly basis my job here consists of accompanying hymns at chapel services in the mornings and evenings, depending on the needs of the conferences. I also organize a Pel Chorus, made up of all staff members. We rehearse a few times a week and perform in Pel Show, which I also organize. I make sure that all the acts are ready, and accompany or collaborate with performing Pels. It’s a lot of fun. Occasionally, the conferences need me for other things like playing at social hours, rehearsals, talent shows, etc. so I’m always available for those sorts of things as well. One of the nicest things about my job is the flexibility and the independence. There are a certain limited number of things I am needed for at specific times, like chorus rehearsals, chapels, and of course Pel Show — but more or less, I make my own hours the rest of the week. I can spend time practicing, playing piano in the lobby, organizing small rehearsals for Pel Show acts, organizing, cleaning, etc. It’s great! Sometimes if I don’t have enough to do I also help other crews.

I feel extremely fortunate to get to work in this beautiful, amazing place. The other Pels are wonderfully sweet people, I have a great supervisor, and everyone here is constantly working to protect the sacredness of Star Island. It’s a historical place that people have been coming to for almost centuries, and it’s meant a lot to many, many generations of people. The fondness that the longtime Shoalers have towards this place is incredibly contagious for a first-year like me, and I’m quite sure I will come back again and again. (I will come back! I will come back!)

~Sara Lewis

This is one in a series of essays from current Pelicans—the nickname for Star Island’s summer staff—talking about their jobs and what it is like to live on New England’s unique summer island. If you would like to be a Pelican please apply here.