Music Student Rennie Cotner Takes Over Chautauqua Institution Snapchat Monday

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Usually, social media intern Amy Shake posts from the Chautauqua Institution Snapchat account to keep followers in the know about what’s happening on the grounds, in real time.

But for one day only, Rennie Cotner, a French horn player in the Music School Festival Orchestra, will take over the official account to show a day in the life of a student, leading up to the MSFO concert at 8:15 p.m. Monday in the Amphitheater.

Since its inception just before the beginning of the 2016 season, Chautauqua’s Snapchat account has acquired more than 300 followers. Shake said approximately five to 10 new followers join in to watch the day’s story every day.

“When we first talked about creating a Snapchat account, we knew going in that we were going to be engaging younger people, and that was part of the goal,” she said. “But that’s not 100 percent of the audience.”

She said as Snapchat grows and changes, the user base may also change, so she will keep Chautauqua’s presence open and friendly.

The usual content on the “story” includes some fun and silly things happening on the grounds, Shake said, but she also makes a point to cover lectures and speakers daily.

For Cotner’s day in control, she will shift the focus to the behind-the-scenes aspect of Chautauqua programming.

“I’ll take everyone through the day of the concert,” Cotner said. “So getting ready, warming up, the practice cabins and the walk to the Amp. It’s different that we have our rehearsal that day in the Amp. So I’ll show them a little backstage tour.”

She said she also plans on doing short interviews with David Effron Conducting Fellow Louis Lohraseb and Maestro Timothy Muffitt to discuss the pieces they will be conducting.

“I’ll probably get a shout out from every section, and cover the night of the concert,” Cotner said.

Snapchat, according to Cotner and Shake, provides a more informal, personal platform for interacting with Chautauquans. Other social media platforms are usually more curated.

“I think seeing the different sides of Chautauqua, outside of what you might be used to seeing, is a really cool thing about this takeover,” Cotner said.

There are more takeovers planned for the rest of the season, including the music school staff on Aug. 3.

“[The social media team] is working hard with the music school to make sure it’s well represented,” Shake said.

Andrew Manzella

The author Andrew Manzella

Andrew Manzella is a reporter and feature writer from western New York. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in journalism from SUNY Buffalo State.