Volunteer Spotlight: UMS Ushers
By Sara SandersTweet
It is so easy these days to attend a performance and never once interact with the presenter. If one purchases their tickets through the online system, has them mailed to their house and never has any questions then this patron of the arts could avoid all true human contact. Ushers are often the combo-breakers for our lack of interaction. Not only is it nearly impossible to pass through the lobby without a hello from an usher or staff member, ushers seat patrons, provide program books and give a warm smile to those that they come into contact with.
As I enter my fourth year as the front of house coordinator I cannot think of a better group of people to spend my days, nights and weekends with. Their dedication to UMS and its mission is heartwarming. To know that a group of more than 700 can unite for our cause is touching.
People usher for a variety of reasons; some come for the free performance, some for the sense of community, some volunteer as a resume booster, and some attend for the joy they feel when helping their fellow man (or woman) to wholly enjoy their experience at a UMS performance. While all of these are all excellent reasons to become part of this ever growing community, I find the most comfort in those that come for the self-fulfillment of helping another. Often our lives are bursting at the seams with responsibilities and tasks that take up most of our days – ushers are no different. They all lead busy lives and full time ushering is often a big commitment. The choral union series alone requires approximately 50 hours per season from each individual usher. These 50 hours come out of weeknights, weekends and all the other free time that could be spent doing something for themselves, but instead they selflessly devote their time to ensuring a wonderful experience for UMS patrons. These jobs aren’t always easy either, from disgruntled patrons, to distractions and mistakes on the staff’s end, ushers are responsible for making things right.
Jon and Carol Stinson have been ushering for over 10 years. Get to know them better with the video interview below!
Ushering is not all serious though. As a group, we love to have fun. From little bits of fun at performances to our end of the year usher party, we make sure to enjoy our time together. It really is a great experience, from the people you meet to the shows you see. Best of all UMS is always looking for more to volunteers! This year, orientation sessions will be held at the Modern Languages Building in Auditorium #3. If you are interested in becoming a part of the expanding team, come join us for some information and the opportunity to sign up to usher for the 2010-2011 season. All are welcome!
Returning Usher Orientation (ushered in the 09-10 season with UMS):
Thursday, September 2nd at 6:00pm
Tuesday, September 7th at 6:00pm
Thursday, September 9th at 8:00pm
Saturday, September 11th at 12:00noon
New Usher Orientation (did not usher in the 09-10 season with UMS):
Thursday, September 2nd at 7:00pm
Tuesday, September 7th at 7:00pm
Thursday, September 9th at 6:00pm
Saturday, September 11th at 10:00am