By Madison Stapels
Andrea Ragan is the Executive Director of the Capital Area IT Council and Special Events Chair on the board of directors for Grand River Connection and a steering committee member for NextGen@Wharton, a program for young professionals that reserves tickets in an exclusive block of seats for select events, special parties and events around the performance, free food and fun! Here is what Andrea had to say about NextGen@Wharton and our upcoming event for Chic Gamine on January 21.
What does NextGen@Wharton mean to you?
As a young professional and theatre enthusiast, NextGen@Wharton to me means that Wharton Center, a world class entertainment organization, is paying attention and thinking ahead to the interests and investment of myself and other budding community members. The future of arts and culture in the Greater Lansing area is and will continue to be largely dependent on how the up-and-coming population determine what, where, and how to spend their (our) time and resources. It’s refreshing and wonderful to know that Wharton Center values engaging those of us that are of mixed age and income levels in their programs.
Why did you join NextGen@Wharton?
I had heard about NextGen@Wharton, but didn’t truly understand the concept until after the first year it had taken place. Once I learned what it was and how it operated, it was truly a wish granted! I love to see shows at Wharton, but as a single 20 something (now 30 something), it was difficult to find people to go with; if I DID find a friend or a date, I often paid for both tickets, which then became more of a financial investment (burden) than I could afford as often as I’d like, especially if you factor in dinner or cocktails in addition to the show. With NextGen@Wharton I get to see at least four shows a year, have acquaintances and friends to see every show with, and the pre-show events round out the experience to create an awesome night out in its entirety. I couldn’t have asked for or planned a better fit for my situation.
What is your favorite NextGen@Wharton memory?
My favorite NextGen@Wharton memory is at the very first show in Fall 2014, my seat in the block was next to an acquaintance who I shared many mutual friends with, but we were not good friends…yet. The show was Once, which takes place entirely in an Irish pub. During the intermission, the show spurred a conversation with my seat neighbor as she mentioned a burning desire to travel to Ireland and see a real Irish pub. I immediately responded with my own travel dreams of going back to Ireland – to which I’d been twice already, but with limited experiences of local Irish fare. The conversation continued and our goals were so aligned that we decided to plan a trip and travel together! We spent the winter planning our trip and went to Ireland together in May 2015… and visited many Irish pubs, castles and other landmarks. NextGen@Wharton is basically responsible for one of my best travel experiences and fostering a relationship with someone is now a very close friend.
What do you look forward to before every NextGen@Wharton pre-show event?
NextGen@Wharton offers a lot program-wise: networking, refreshments, engagement, entertainment, etc. It could easily be overwhelming! Except that it’s so well-executed that the experience is very easy on the participants. I look forward to each event because I know that all I have to do is show up and it’s going to be a great night.
Why are you looking forward to Chic Gamine?
I had never heard of Chic Gamine before it was in the NextGen@Wharton lineup. After checking out a video or two on YouTube, I’m looking forward to a rocking musical performance that’s unconventional compared to the usual bar music scene. Can’t wait for the show!
Andrea Ragan is the Executive Director of the Capital Area IT Council and Special Events Chair on the board of directors for GRC.
Chic Gamine have Motown souls, French pop spirits and rock-and-roll hearts. They enchant fans and critics alike with close harmonies and infectious tunes. Chic Gamine have toured the world, played for the Queen of England, performed at the Vancouver Winter Olympics, as well as opened for the legendary Smokey Robinson and Mavis Staples. The Juno Award winning group is excited to bring their unique sound to East Lansing on January 21 at 7:30 pm. The NextGen@Wharton Chic Gamine event will include a pre-show party in the Rehearsal Studio at Wharton Center, backstage at Wharton. You’ll have the chance to meet some members of Chic Gamine, enjoy free food and a free drink and more, then enjoy one seriously great show, all at a discounted ticket price. More information and ticket info can be found at: http://www.whartoncenter.com/education-engagement/engagement-programs/nextgenatwharton. Like us on Facebook.