Local grad Caroline Ho is making the most of an unusual summer with a fellowship at the Television Academy

By Dev Jaiswal

Caroline Ho is the Television Academy Foundation’s 2020 summer music fellow

Current rising college junior Caroline Ho is pursuing a music fellowship with the Television Academy Foundation, the charitable branch of the organization that hosts the Emmy Awards.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ho’s in-person internship at a major studio was revamped into a virtual fellowship, replete with professional development programming, networking and interview prep with leading composers in the television industry.

“I’m still grateful that the Emmy Foundation put together a program for us that could be helpful, even though we didn’t have that kind of in-person experience,” Ho said.

The program began in June and will continue through August. Ho was chosen from a group of more than 1100 applicants for a total of 50 spots spread across the various disciplines that comprise television, including television production, writing, broadcast journalism and video editing.

Ho is the only music fellow, and her history with music goes back a long way. She began piano lessons at just six years of age and would spend “almost all” of her time after school practicing for recitals across California. After graduating from Santa Monica High School in 2017, she took a gap year to decide if she wanted to attend a conservatory or a university. She decided to go to Yale.

“I wanted a university education for a couple different reasons, but mostly just because I think a lot of my music comes from me learning about the world around me,” Ho said. “As an artist, understanding what I want my music to say and what intent I want it to have … I don’t just want to put out something that sounds nice. I want it to have intent. And I want it to have an artistic integrity and a voice and a vision.”

Ho is majoring in Computing and Art, a joint computer science and music discipline. She enjoys pursuing a variety of courses alongside working on composition, writing songs with vocalists, exploring her “varied musical interests” and even starting her own band. She appreciates the musical freedom of being able to find her own compositional voice.

“I really liked the process of thinking about music in a way that can aid in the storytelling process of a film or digital media, not just as something supplemental, but as an integral part of the experience,” Ho said.

Ho’s goal is to be a composer when she’s older, either in film, television or concert music for orchestras. Prior to the fellowship, she had some experience creating music scores for short films. Identifying as Asian-American and female, Ho notes that she hasn’t met any composer before with a background similar to hers, so she’s excited that the program is “encouraging voices like mine to be heard.”

“There’s still so much work to be done in the industry, but I’m encouraged that people are starting to listen,” Ho said. “And in everything I write, my identity is in there. My experiences are in the music. So it influences my music quite a bit in many ways. Maybe not explicitly. But, as artists, everything you create is a part of who you are. You’re giving a part of yourself to an audience.”

Ho remains “grateful” to have been exposed to music from a young age. She hopes music education endures in the public school system, and that those seeking a life in the music industry won’t be discouraged by its competitiveness.

“No two people’s paths are the same and I’m still trying to navigate my way through,” Ho said. “But I think it’s important to focus on the music because it’s very easy to get kind of down about the realities of what this kind of industry can have … Always have an open mind about your music and what you want to create and be knowledgeable about the world around you because I don’t think music can be created in a vacuum.”

The application for the 2021 Television Academy internship program will open in November. Applicants can expect to submit an essay along with a college transcript, a resume and letters of recommendation.

Visit emmys.com/foundation/internships to learn more.

Know a local student we should spotlight? Email christinac@argonautnews.com.