Thursday, 26 March 2015

Emily Selke: Pittsburgh Fringe Festival

When Daniel Stiker, the executive and artistic director of the Pittsburgh Fringe Festival, talks about Emily Selke, he feels as if he’s writing a job recommendation letter.
“It’s very hard to talk about her, how great she was,” he said by phone Wednesday. “It’s an odd dichotomy. Here’s this person who just graduated from college, and now she’s not here.”
Emily Selke, a graduate of Drexel University in Philadelphia, and her mother, Yvonne Selke, a U.S. government contractor from Nokesville, Va., were identified as two of the three Americans presumed dead in a Tuesday plane crash in the southern French Alps, the Associated Press reported. The plane had been traveling from Barcelona, Spain, to Duesseldorf, Germany.
Ms. Selke, the festival manager for the Pittsburgh Fringe Festival, graduated from Drexel in 2013 with a bachelor of science degree in music industry. She was the type of person you instantly liked, Mr. Stiker said. She was always smiling, respectful and warm, and her laugh would put you at ease when things got tense, he said.
Xela Batchelder, organizer of the Pittsburgh Fringe Festival -- which bills itself as an “innovative performing arts festival” -- and also a former professor of Ms. Selke’s at Drexel, said Ms. Selke had a positive, the-glass-is-half-full attitude.
The two met in one of Ms. Batchelder's classes and after seeing Ms. Selke’s desire to be involved in festival management, Ms. Batchelder invited her to be a part of the Pittsburgh Fringe Festival. Ms. Selke also was involved in the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland in 2013.
“She put herself in situations where she could learn, which is great and something I really admire about her,” Ms. Batchelder said.
Mr. Stiker also had the chance to meet Ms. Selke’s mother, who he said helped with last year’s Fringe Festival.
"When I met her mom during the festival she had the same sort of personality; you instantly wanted to be her friend," he said.
Ms. Selke had been planning to help with this year’s festival, which will be from May 8 to May 10 on the North Side, Mr. Stiker said. He plans to honor both Ms. Selke and her mother at the event.
“[Ms. Selke] definitely pulled her weight, gave great insight, really made Fringe what it is today,” Mr. Stiker said.


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