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Friday, July 8, 2011

Why I'm Privileged to Ring the "Famous" Opera Bell

“What do I have to do to ring that bell?” a patron asked me as I proceeded down Eureka Street the other afternoon with the famous bell in hand. With a smile, I jokingly replied: “Get in line!” There are hundreds of late teens and twenty-somethings that apply to be a Festival Staffer at Central City Opera each year in hopes of being a vital part of the summer Festival...and, of course, the opportunity to ring the bell.
An usher from a past season rings the bell - Photo by Jim Havey
To most, we’re the friendly folks dressed in the unmistakable Victorian garb who sing the famous “Usher Song” and parade up the street, holding up traffic as we make our way to the Opera House to show you to your seat. In reality, each of the thirteen Festival Staffers has his own to-do list aside from ushering the nearly 100 ticketed performances that take place during the Festival. When we’re not donning our “period” dress, each of us assumes a role in a specific internship position—using our skills and experience to facilitate the Festival while educating ourselves along the way.

To highlight all of the different areas within the Central City Opera Festival where experiential learning takes place, I present to you, ladies and gentlemen, the 2011 Festival Staffers, their positions and home states:

Office and Music Library:
Samantha Apgar, New Jersey

Props Assistants:
Eugene Stohlman, Maryland
Stephanie Baugher, Michigan

Stage Management Production Assistants:
Jordan Braun, Carmen and Triple Bill, Michigan
Bronwyn Schlaefer, Amadigi di Gaula, Connecticut

Costume Assistants:
Kayla Chalk, Colorado
Charles Neumann, Massachusetts

Wig/Makeup Assistant:
Jennifer Gilbert, North Carolina
Ashley Hughes, Tennessee

Gift Shop Assistant:
Laura Pancoast, Minnesota

Events Assistant:
Kathryn Gucik, Ohio

Assistant House Manager:
Jocelyn Olson, Minnesota

Public Relations Assistant:
Yours truly, Jake Sinatra, New York

2011 Festival Staffers photos courtesy of Karen Federing
So the next time you see idle ushers, be sure to ask them what they fill their time with when not in the historic Opera House. I’m sure they will gladly tell you! For most, this is their first time in Colorado and an exciting new experience.

1 comment:

  1. Hoorah!! Finally, a blogging staffer! Way to go, Jake!
    I know first hand how vital you "ushers" are to the festival. And I know how much the patrons appreciate you, too ... especially your bell ringing. Here's wishing you all a great summer!
    Pat Stone
    Former House Mgr and Eternal CCO Fan