Cal State Bakersfield communications graduate Celia Kelly started her third year at ESPN on June 28. And things seem to be going extremely well for her.
"I got promoted from production assistant to content associate three weeks ago; the next step is associate producer," she said in a phone conversation last week from her home in Bristol, Conn.
Kelly, 26, was looking forward to her upcoming assignments.
"I will be in Cincinnati next Sunday to do interviews with five or six Bengals players for various vignettes that will run throughout the course of the season," she said. "Also, I'll be in Philly next Thursday doing the same thing."
The segments are not part of a pregame broadcast, she said, as the show she works on doesn't start until Sept. 9.
In her current position, the former sports editor of The Runner, CSUB's newspaper, develops and produces content for National Football League shows. Formerly her main passion was basketball. That preference has changed because of the sports channel's focus.
"Football is ESPN's baby and my area is the NFL, so I worked hard to learn about football as fast as I could," she said. "I love the creative process -- I get to story-tell with video."
So far, serving as a member of the remote crew that broadcast this year's Super Bowl in Indianapolis has been the highlight of her experience.
"The toughest part of the job is the hours," she said. "It took 22 weeks working 80 hours a week -- and only four days a week -- building sets and doing other things to get ready for the Super Bowl. I was exhausted physically and mentally."
Nevertheless, Kelly seems to be at ease working with athletes and other sports figures who are notable both for their physical size and celebrity.
"I work with Chris 'Boomer' Berman every day and he's a big guy with this big booming voice -- that's why we call him Boomer," she said. "So no, I'm not intimidated."
During her student days as a communications major at CSUB, Kelly also learned about editing and developing an on-air presence as an intern at KBAK-TV. She gives a lot of credit to her professors and the TV personnel for showing her the ropes.
"I had a lot of people to lean on," she said. "Judith Pratt, Elizabeth Johnson and John Emig at CSUB and Greg Kerr and John Franchi at KBAK."
Her parents, who live in Bakersfield, also have been a strong source of support for Kelly whose initial "red-eye" flight to the East Coast in 2010 was her first time away from home.
"My dad even came out the first winter I was here," she said. "He stayed with me so I wouldn't have to spend Christmas alone."
Except for the snow, Kelly enjoys living in Bristol, which is only a few hours from New York City. She goes there often when she has a free weekend and spends time with a friend from her days at CSUB.
"When I go I stay with Ellen Piris Ogwaro -- she's married now and lives in the Bronx," she said. "She was a political science major and works for A Better Chance, a nonprofit organization."
If you like to sing four-part harmony, I suggest you consider joining the Goldenaires, a choral group that's been around for more than 25 years.
I've enjoyed their performances on many occasions. The group of 35 or so members -- most are retirees -- are well-trained and have a broad repertoire. Their first rehearsal of the 2012-2013 season is on Sept. 5.
"During the Christmas season and again in spring, we perform several concerts at different venues around our town," said Audrey Barger, spokeswoman for the group. "We are appreciated by our audiences, and we certainly enjoy each others' camaraderie (from) September through May."
Right now, the Goldenaires is seeking new members. Barger said anyone interested should attend the rehearsal on Sept. 5 at the Church of the Brethren's meeting hall.
"No auditions are required, although you need to be able to read sheet music," she said. "We especially need tenors, but all voices are welcome."
Dues are $10 a month, which pays for services of the director, Philip Witmer, and live piano accompaniment for weekly rehearsals and all performances.
Levan Institute art classes
Two popular art classes offered by the Levan Lifelong Learning Institute begin in a few weeks. Both have been well-attended in the past, so registering early is probably a good idea.
The first, Native American Basketweaving, begins on Sept. 11. The instructor, Dian Olmstead has been teaching the craft for 18 years.
I asked her how much previous experience a prospective student needs to have and she replied, "Absolutely none. If you can hold a needle in your hand, you can do it."
The course fee of $25 does not include materials, which can be purchased from the instructor or gathered from other sources. Olmstead's is an evening class and is held on the Bakersfield College campus.
On the other hand, Al Naso's Short Course on Drawing meets in the afternoon at the Weill Institute in downtown Bakersfield. It begins on Sept. 18.
Naso, who taught art at BC for 32 years before retiring in 2000, said his class will benefit beginners as well as more advanced artists.
"I'm not promising that you'll draw like Michelangelo by the time we're finished," he said. "But it will be a great experience."
Students need to bring a sketch pad and other materials listed on the course schedule to the first meeting because the instruction begins immediately.
"We're going to jump into it right away," he said.
Naso said his approach is different from usual drawing classes.
"I work with the natural rhythms of the (student's) body," he said. "We do all sorts of things -- drawing with your eyes closed, drawing with your wrong hand. "
All Levan Institute courses are designed for those aged 55 and older but are open to any adult over 18.
For more detailed information about either class, go to bakersfieldcollege.edu/levaninstitute.
Music in the schools
Music teachers in the Bakersfield City School District are in the midst of their annual nine-day road trip to the district's 31 schools.
Their tour began on Tuesday and will end on Aug. 31. The troupe puts on a 30-minute assembly at each school as a way of introducing musical instruments to students in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades.
Their purpose, says Michael Stone, coordinator of the visual and performing arts department, is to drum up enthusiasm for being part of a school orchestra. Apparently it works. Since the Music in the Schools Program began in 2004, he said, there has been a 30 percent increase in the number of students playing a musical instrument.
For more information about the program, parents should contact the school their child attends.