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The Culturephiles

From TLCC to Team Tessitura

Kayleb McKelvain writes about finding community and a career path in an unexpected place

Kayleb wearing eyeglasses and a blue shirt.

Kayleb McKelvainSupport Manager, Tessitura Network

TitleFrom TLCC to Team Tessitura


Read/View Time4 min

I used to say that I wanted to be part of the Tessitura team because the arts are important to me,

and because I thought that this would be the best way for a guy like me to contribute to the world of arts and culture. I say “a guy like me” because the only paint I know how to use comes from a hardware store, I sing about as well as my cat and, while once upon a time ago I studied music, the only thing I play today is Spotify.

All kidding aside, what I said about the arts being important to me is one hundred percent true.

I believe that the arts, in any of its inconceivably beautiful forms, challenges the limits of our emotions and ultimately creates a richer, more empathic human experience. Even if only for a few moments, art has the ability to consume us entirely. It surrounds us with a new and unique perspective. As a result, the world around us fades away, and nothing else seems to exist but that very moment. For a lucky few, art even swallows us up whole. When it does, some strange transformation takes place that changes our lives forever.

I remember that moment for me. It happened on an eighth grade field trip to see the Dallas Symphony Orchestra perform in the Meyerson Symphony Center. Before they even finished warming up, I knew that, in some way, I needed to be a part of that world. Today, I feel honored to say that the work that I do contributes to that experience.

I have always attributed my desire to work for Tessitura to that field trip. I recently realized, however, that while these values were certainly a driving force behind my motivation to pursue a career in the arts, it’s not exactly what led me here. I chose to pursue a path to become part of team Tessitura because of an experience I had around 12 years ago.

Sitting on a huge moonlit patio in Tucson, Arizona, I could not have been more overwhelmed, excited, exhausted and relieved. Talk about having mixed emotions! It was my very first day at TLCC, and it was absolutely nothing like I thought it would be.

When my boss had described the conference, I imagined an agenda of boring presentations and forced dinner conversation with people with whom I had nothing in common. I couldn’t possibly have been more wrong.

Happy TLCC faces.

But on that patio, I found myself surrounded by people just like me. People inspired to spend their lives contributing to the arts. People who were so passionate about the success of their organization that they sat up until the wee hours of the morning mapping out potential implementation strategies for the things they had learned that day. I never could have imagined that I would find myself in a room with hundreds of people willing to spend HOURS talking about data. I had found my tribe and I freaking loved it!

There is something transcendent about that kind of shared experience. When you feel like you are making a difference and that what you do matters. When you feel inspired to become part of a community.

Several people are seated at a round table, facing forward and smiling.

At the conference closing, Jack asked the Tessitura staff to stand up. The room erupted with applause, and I thought to myself: “I’m going to wear that logo one day.”

I’ve been a part of the Tessitura community for 14 years and a member of Team Tessitura for five. Now I think what I’m trying to say is: thanks. Thanks to all of you who helped to make my experience what it was. And thank you to all of the thousands of newer members of our family for making it what it is today. Whether you know it or not, you are changing lives out there, and the world is a better place for it.


Andrew is on sabbatical. This is the second post in a series featuring guest writers from the Tessitura team.


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Kayleb wearing eyeglasses and a blue shirt.

Kayleb McKelvain

Support Manager

Tessitura Network

Kayleb McKelvain is a Support Manager for the Tessitura Network.

In his spare time, he enjoys two-for-one taco deals, midnight karaoke, and pursuing continued education via the University of Youtube.

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