Many of the Tarrytown Music Hall’s 200-plus volunteers serve as ticket-takers, ushers, and concession workers during live performances. Others assist with carpentry and administrative work. In addition to the satisfaction they get from helping out, volunteers also get to see some (or all) of the venue’s concert performances for free.
The volunteers “have become a community all by themselves,” says Björn Olsson, executive director of the Music Hall. “People make new friends, and we’ve even had a marriage or two come out of it.”
Patrons who attend performances can leave money in an open tip jar for volunteers, who then decide as a group how to use the money. Recently, they enjoyed a large barbecue together.
The sign-up process for performances is also an exercise in community-based meritocracy. Volunteers adhere to a rewards system, whereby they gain more “points” for working a more difficult show – such as some family performances that take place in the morning – than a show that might be in higher demand. The points then serve as the basis by which volunteers get to work the more popular shows.
As an active Music Hall volunteer, Tarrytown native and Mount Kisco resident Paroo Streich, who says she’s always felt a personal connection to the Music Hall, wears “many hats” there. She’s served as an usher and concessionaire during performances, and even painted and renovated seats during a recent refurbishment. She devotes between 20 and 30 hours a month to the Music Hall, working four to five shows. “There is a sense of pride I think everybody in this organization feels,” she says.
Get Started: Visit www.tarrytownmusichall.org/get-involved/be-a-volunteer for more info. Volunteers are expected to undergo some orientation and training sessions, and to be available to work at shows as needed.
Similar Ops: Love the arts? Consider becoming a docent at the Neuberger Museum of Art, Hudson River Museum, or Katonah Museum of Art.
Paroo Streich, 46, Mount Kisco
Paroo Streich remembers the moment that she fell in love with the Tarrytown Music Hall. She was seven years old and went to see a Bad News Bears film during her first-ever visit to the venue. It is a love affair that continues to this day.
“If I could put my arms around the Music Hall and hug it, I would,” Streich says.
A passion for live music and serving the patrons who support it are the driving forces behind the volunteers at the Music Hall, and Streich has passion in abundance. While she most often works as an usher and concessionaire during live shows, she takes pride in leaving her own mark on the venue.
“I’ve painted, cleaned, and decorated there like it was my own home,” says Streich. “There is a group of seats in the balcony – row K on the right side – that I screwed in myself during the last major renovation.”
Streich recalls “so many magic moments” during performances that she’s witnessed. But she singled out America’s performance of “Ventura Highway” and Don McLean’s performance of “Vincent” as particularly memorable moments that had an indelible effect upon the Music Hall audience.
“We are a family,” she says of her fellow volunteers. “They plan events for us regularly, and I feel valued there.”