By: Lauren Hufford
Miller Auditorium on a show night is a fascinating orchestra of staff. Backstage, they are preparing lighting, sound, sets and the cast. The Ticket Office is selling tickets and working with will call pick ups. The front of house staff is preparing concession stands, the bar and the seating area. One of the essential parts of Miller’s event staff can be found in our Usher Corps. Founded in 1967 with only a handful of people, the Usher Corps has grown to be 250 members strong and consists of a dedicated team of students and community members.
Ushers arrive approximately 60 minutes before the posted curtain time for a particular show. They are informed of the specifics for that evening’s event, any emergency policies and are notified of any schedule changes. They also stuff programs, help with concessions, assist with the bar and tend to any other pre-show needs. The ushers stay until 10:30 or 11 p.m. (depending on the length of the performance) to help clean the seating area. In addition to meeting new friends and catching up with long-time friends, ushers often get to enjoy the show they are volunteering for.
Does that sound fun? Well, you’re in luck–anyone is welcome to be a part of the Miller Auditorium Usher Corps. To be an usher, you must be at least 18 years of age or a student at Western Michigan University. You will also need to complete an on-line application. All ushers need to attend a training session before their first ushering assignment. During this training we will go over customer service, auditorium and university policies/procedures, and take a tour of the building. This training is in addition to the organizational meetings held each semester, where ushers are updated on policies/procedures and receive a schedule of events that need ushers.
If you are interested in joining the Usher Corps or would like more information, you can contact Shannon Rininger, Patron Services Manager, by email.