Staff Story: Music Connected Jessica Hjellming to Her Husband Eric
Friday, March 02, 2018

Staff Story: Music Connected Jessica Hjellming to Her Husband Eric

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Music connects us. We all have stories about how high school band led us to make life-long friends, or how marching in a drum corps made the summer memories that will last a lifetime, and I am a part of that. Being a student in band in middle and high school led me to participate in marching band in college, and fueled my desire to stay in the music industry even though I was not majoring in music education. Through my internships in drum corps, I have met many people that continue being my colleagues, but most importantly, my closest friends, and one of them ended up being my husband.
I had been in band in high school, but had never heard about Drum Corps International, until 2008. That was the year that my mom sent my twin sister, Jennifer, and I to the Music for All Summer Symposium in Normal, Illinois. The great thing about camp is that there is a concert every night from a different music genre, and the Friday night concert was a DCI show. Well, after seeing the 2008 Phantom Regiment (Spartacus), my sister was hooked – she was going to march drum corps.

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After 2 years of my parents paying for my sister to march corps, I wanted a turn. Except, I wanted to do something different. I knew I wasn’t going to major in music education in college, so I wanted to find a way to work on my degree, earning college credit through the summer months, and in the summer of 2012, I became an intern at Drum Corps International in Indianapolis.
I grew up in Illinois, so I thought a move to Indianapolis for a summer was going to be exciting! We had to find our own housing, but as a group of 6 interns, we all decided to live together. We found a place near the Speedway, and became fast friends. We would carpool to the office, go out to eat, and stay up late watching Say Yes to the Dress. When we started traveling to the shows together, I knew that this was a special group of people that had walked into my life. I was so lucky to be around so many different people that I continue to call my friends, but there is one friendship from that summer that is more important than the others.
(Sorry, guys!)

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Eric and I met that summer. He was a Business Development intern, from Wheaton, IL. We quickly bonded over the fact that we were both from the Chicago area, the similar drive to Indy, and most importantly Portillo’s. He quickly became my best friend and before I knew it the summer was over.
It may sound cliché’ – but the rest is history!
I went back to school, but we started dating that November. He came to all of the University of Illinois football games to watch me perform, and I went to Butler to see his Wind Symphony concerts and senior recital. We were dating and pushing each other to be the best versions of ourselves. He graduated in May of 2013, and was hired by DCI to work in their business development department working on the SoundSport and Drumline Battle programs. Although I was still in college, I wanted to continue gaining professional experience in this industry, so I went back to DCI to intern in 2013, and in 2014 I went on tour with the Madison Scouts as the marketing manager. Eric was there every step of the way, telling me that there were jobs in the music industry where I could use my degree.
In college, Eric was part of a music fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and in April of 2015, he had gathered brothers together at UIUC, from both Butler and the University of Illinois chapters, to serenade me before he popped the question. We were engaged!

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That May, I graduated with a degree in advertising, but I knew I wanted to do more with my education, so I enrolled in grad school at the University of Illinois to work on a degree in event planning and management. It was during that summer while I was at DCI that I found the internship program at Music for All. I applied to be in the Participant Relations department as a fall intern, and got the job!
That internship was the best thing for me. It allowed me to use all the communication and sales training from my undergrad while using the elements of my master’s degree that I was currently learning about. I continued traveling around the country helping to produce marching music events, and made many more connections. Fortunately, once my internship was over, I got hired into the department full-time.
Since then, Eric has volunteered for Music for All events and has joined our fall event staff as a member of the tabulation team. I continue to volunteer for DCI during championships every August, and this summer I am going on the road as a member of their ticketing team. Although we both travel a lot for work, volunteering for each other’s companies keeps us happily married. I feel so much support from Eric, not only emotionally, but also literally, while he is at Music for All events helping to unload the trucks, set up stadiums, and help my team do our jobs.
A passion for music led us to our internship back in 2012, and both of us have taken that passion for music, and made our careers in the industry. Music brought us together and continues to play a huge part of our marriage; being able to support each other at work is important to us.

 05 2017 TOR Parade Hjellming Family

Read 1335 times Last modified on Monday, March 05, 2018