Rodriguez celebrates 50 years as San Francisco Symphony usher

Posted on: December 4, 2009

“If your picture of a San Francisco Symphony lover is a billionaire’s wife from Pacific Heights,” writes Tamara Straus in Thursday’s (12/3) San Francisco Chronicle, “you haven’t met Horacio Rodriguez. Rodriguez, who is celebrating his 50th anniversary as an usher for the Symphony, the San Francisco Opera and Ballet, is the less sung, more intriguing devotee. Having fallen in love with opera as a boy at the Teatro Colón in his hometown of Buenos Aires, Rodriguez arrived in San Francisco in 1958 when it was still what he calls a cow town. Today, at the undetectable age of 78, he is the Symphony’s head usher and probably among the most hard-working and enthusiastic admirers of classical music the institution has known. … What does it take to be a good usher? The job requires managerial expertise, attention to detail and most of all, said Rodriguez, caring for people. When he took over at Davies, he hired an equal number of male and female ushers (a progressive move at the time) and rotated his staff’s position every night, ‘so they wouldn’t get bored or become lazy.’ This approach has paid off: About 80 percent of the ushers Rodriguez hired when Davies opened in 1980 still work for him. Then there is his relationship with the Symphony’s patrons. ‘He treats them like family coming into his own home, with the kindness and graciousness of a good host,’ said Janice Glen, who has run the box office for 31 years.”

Posted December 4, 2009