Mild-mannered Network and Problem Management Engineer in one of the world’s most demanding IT settings by day, passionate Music Director in one of the nation’s most talented theatre scenes by night – Jake Null has mastered the art of merging the creative with the technical. Music and theatre are in his blood. Literally. Jake’s parents were actors and directors when they met, and his mother still plays an active role in the theatre today. At a young age, Jake was exposed to the theatre, and, perhaps more importantly, to the music that accompanies many theatrical productions. Despite making it to the Junior Olympics as a swimmer, Jake’s love of music as a teen led him to give up the sport to spend his summers taking extra classes in music theory, composition, and conducting. He also built his first recording studio and started giving voice lessons while in high school.
Jake pursued his passion at Virginia Tech, continuing to make and record music, receiving a Bachelor’s degree with minors in Music, Theatre, and Humanities and the Arts. While at Tech, he re-discovered his interest in the theatre and began to combine the two interests. But after looking at the job market, Jake decided to take a full time job in IT, to pay the bills, which allowed him to pursue his other love, the theatre.
As a problem manager, Jake and his counterparts are confronted with critical problems that impact thousands of users at the Joint Service Provider (JSP). Jake takes a creative approach to figuring out the source of the problem and determining corrective actions. He employs a creative detective-like approach to identify, understand, recreate, diagnose, and resolve IT problems. In the evenings and on the weekends, as the Music Director for the Keegan Theatre (among others), he is doing much the same thing – finding the right instrumentation and audio production to complement the actors on stage. Jake has been involved with some leading productions in Washington DC theatre, ranging from the rock and roll influenced American Idiot to a more melancholy Next to Normal. His work has been recognized to the extent that he has been nominated for a Helen Hayes award three times and won his first Helen Hayes award for musical direction in May 2016.
In his spare time, he offers voice and music lessons and still has a recording studio in his apartment. Ultimately, Jake hopes to integrate the two interests in his life, technology and music, to improve both industries. If your Enterprise IT works more effectively or you recently enjoyed a production in one of DC’s many theaters, chances are Jake played a role in both.