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September 2, 2014

Who’s Sitting Next to You? Adventure and Ushers


Editor’s Note: This post is a part of a series featuring our audience! Do you know someone who should be featured? Email suggestions to or feel free to snap a photo and ask a question and send it to us.

During our 2013-2014 season, as part of our focus on dance, we ran an Adventure Card challenge, which encourage participants to explore not only dance performances but related educational & community engagement events, as well as opportunities to participate online. Donna Ellinghausen-Scheys was the winner of our challenge.

Donna EllinghausenUMS: You participated in many activities focusing on dance during our 2013-2014 season, so much so that you’ve won our adventure card challenge? Are you an avid dance lover? If not, which performances do you enjoy attending?

Donna: I can’t say that I’m an advid dance lover, but I love to move to music, dance, see how others interpret the music into moment in both free form and choreographed. I absolutely love to go orchestral performances. It’s amazing to feel the music.

UMS: Could you tell us a little about yourself? Do you live in Ann Arbor? What do you do when you are not winning adventure card challenges?

Donna: I live in Ann Arbor I love going to various concerts, lectures and performances in and near Ann Arbor. I like to kayak, swim and go walking. I’m an RN and retired from UM’s neonatal intensive care unit in 2012. I currently am working as a contingent RN with Arbor Hospice.

UMS: What’s the most memorable live arts experience you’ve attended? What’s special about attending performances for you?

Donna: My most memorable live arts experience was at Interlochen Arts Camp where my mother had arranged for us to tour and was also able to get us tickets to see Van Cliburn perform there. It was truly awesome!

Someone else you might find in the seat next to you is Bluebird Sherry Harper. She hails from Tecumseh. She has returned to Michigan after living and teaching Spanish in the South and is a fourth-year usher. 

Bluebird Sherry HarperUMS: What inspires you to be an excellent usher?

Bluebird: As a young teen I was fortunate to be invited to be part of the Michigan Youth Symphony and perform at Hill Auditorium. This was a thrill and honor that gave me the further opportunity to attend Interlochen Arts Camp on scholarship during the summers. The mission statement of Interlochen, “Dedicated to the Promotion of World Friendship Through the Universal Language of the Arts,” has guided and inspired me my entire life. I bring this love, passion, and respect for the arts to my ushering voluntarism, always delighted to share with the patrons who arrive excited to enjoy the varied and wonderful UMS performances. My cheerful countenance and friendly nature are assets that hopefully enhance the experience for others. Serving as an usher has allowed me to enjoy a broad base of fabulous artists and events with the added fun of occasionally being able to speak Spanish or Portuguese with our guests!

Do you know someone who should be featured on “Who’s Sitting Next to You”? Are you sitting next to someone at a performance right now? Send us a recommendation, or a quick Q&A with a photo to

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