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Behind the scenes of Norseman: Riley Kazukiewicz ’23 on organizing the band

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The Norsemen Band with director Arthur Haecker

The Olaf Messenger is running a series on the student behind-the-scenes workers of St. Olaf arts and entertainment departments. This week we feature an interview with Riley Kazukiewicz ’23, the student manager of Norseman Band.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What exactly do you do as the student manager of Norseman?

Most of what I do is email. I figure out who goes where, what they need to do and when they need to do it. Additionally, I know who to redirect people to for information on library questions, weird equipment needs and anything else that comes up. I also have to work with the other student managers, which is good because I certainly don’t know everything. The Ole Band manager, Hannah Cabasco ’21, is a godsend because she knows everything. I’m also in charge of making sure things get set up right, knowing who’s at rehearsal and communicating between the director and students and vice versa.

What’s the best and worst part of your job?

I’m a little bit of a control freak, so being able to make sure that things happen in an efficient way that I want to happen is good; I also just really love music and the band.

The worst part is that sometimes the chain of communication is disrupted by the inability to meet in person and talk about what’s going on, which can get complicated.

How has the pandemic affected Norseman from your perspective?

COVID has changed a lot of how we run band. It’s definitely necessary, but it’s difficult. We have to have nine foot spacing in the Skoglund gymnatorium, masks and bell covers. We have to air out the space in the middle of rehearsal. Our rehearsal schedule is also really weird this year; we have practice in the Pause and on Saturdays.

Of course, communication is made harder when we can’t be in the same space. Trying to train my assistant manager has been tricky because everything we do this year just won’t apply next year. I also didn’t really get trained last year because we weren’t on campus last spring during the time when the new manager usually gets trained.

What made you want to be the Norseman manager?

One of the Norseman crews —which is the band equivalent of a committee — is setup crew, which comes to the band room before rehearsal and sets up. I was on it and I always knew where everyone was supposed to go and how to set up the room, so Amanda [Lukken ’21], the manager last year, picked me out to train for her job. And after some deliberation, I decided to say yes because I really liked having the agency to make decisions about the band.

The way it works is that the manager picks an assistant manager, me, and I shadow her and learn how the job works as her protégé.

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