Pursuing a career in arts administration is thrilling, but being an arts administrator and performing professionally is double the excitement. Martha Seroogy graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 2009, and her duel-passion for arts management and violin performance guides her every step of the way.
Originally, Seroogy grew up in De Pere and expected to graduate from college with a business degree and work for her father who co-owns their small family business in Green Bay. After college, she lived in St. Louis making websites for Anheuser-Busch performing viola in the St. Louis Philharmonic on the side to stay involved with music.
For the past five years, Seroogy has lived in Hawaii with her husband (also a UW-Eau Claire graduate) as the director of sales and marketing at Blue Note Hawaii.
“We present live music every night, 365 days a year," Seroogy said. "It’s an ongoing project to present so many different artists, reach new audiences and sell tickets to every concert. But, we’re also looking to present shows on other islands, in bigger venues, or even throw an outdoor music festival. This would be a huge undertaking, but something I’m looking forward to.”
Seroogy excels at violin and has performed with several prestigious organizations.
“I subbed with the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra when Lang Lang was the featured soloist. In 2019 I was hired to play in Eminem’s string section at Aloha Stadium for 40,000 people, and I made a cameo appearance in Disney’s reality show “Fairy Tale Weddings,” accompanying singer-songwriter Kina Grannis. I even performed once at Blue Note Hawaii with ukulele artist Jake Shimabukuro. The latter was the surprisingly the most nerve-wracking. Something about performing on your own turf makes you feel so much more vulnerable.”
Seroogy credits her experiences at UW-Eau Claire for giving her valuable confidence and knowledge that prepared her for these larger-than-life experiences.
“Most of my colleagues did not have an undergrad opportunity like this," she said. "Sure, some of them had internships within the music industry, but their responsibilities included coffee runs and filing paperwork. At UWEC, I was a college junior managing a 15-member student team to plan a festival. I think that’s what makes the jazz studies and festival experiences so unique: it’s a chance to take the reins and really own something. You’re not just completing an internship for your resume. It’s an amazing opportunity to get real-life experience.”