By Martha B.

December is the “month of giving” and I am of the opinion that one of the best ways to give is to volunteer one’s time!  The best part is that, when we give our time in support of the activities we enjoy, it is the gift that “gives back.” In my 52 years in International Neighbors, my most cherished moments have been giving my time and enthusiasm to help newcomers adjust to life in Ann Arbor.

You may also be interested in another way in which I volunteer my time by ushering at the many musical and theatrical events that Ann Arbor has to offer!

What are an usher’s responsibilities?

Ushers are asked to come one hour before the performance. Standard attire is white and black but some venues have a more relaxed dress code. Ushers are asked to scan or read tickets and help patrons to their seats. And, did you know that, when you volunteer you get to see the performance for free?

I have seen some amazing performers and performances in my ushering career. In November alone I saw yMusic at Rackham, Bob Dylan on stage at Hill Auditorium, the Indian Students’ Association Diwali Program at Michigan Theater, and the Zurich Chamber Orchestra doing two different interpretations of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Wow!

Some organizations like University Musical Society require that you attend an orientation session and agree to usher a certain number of events. Others are more relaxed in their requirements and you can pick just the event or events you choose to usher.

These things are for certain—As an usher you will be doing the community a big service in helping out in this way, you will see unbelievable performances typically only available in big cities like New York, and you will come out of the concert hall exclaiming “Only in Ann Arbor”!

How to find out more about ushering and/or sign up to volunteer:

University Musical Society https://ums.org/about/volunteer/

Michigan Theater https://www.michtheater.org/volunteers/

Ann Arbor Summer Festival https://a2sf.org/volunteer-opportunities/

The Ark https://theark.org/support-the-ark/volunteers

UM School Music Theater Dance https://smtd.umich.edu/performances-events/ click on “Join Usher Pool” (the easiest gig to get started ushering!)