Cleveland Orchestra ushers are “unsung heroes” at Severance Hall

Posted on: July 23, 2012

In Sunday’s (7/22) Plain Dealer (Cleveland), Zachary Lewis writes, “It’s amazing when you think about it. Almost every night of every weekend, and many other nights to boot, thousands of people flow through Severance Hall and Blossom Music Center, practically without incident. Sure, someone inevitably falls ill, and people are always breaking the rules. But the process is generally smooth, and the focus is never on anything but music. That this is so isn’t just good luck. Rather, it’s the result of great care and coordination on the part of ushers, the unsung heroes of the concert hall. For them, maintaining order on behalf of the Cleveland Orchestra is a calling, an expression of a profound need to assist. … ‘I don’t think any of us considers this a job,’ said Richard Fried, an usher for 42 years and a fixture at Severance Hall. ‘For me, personally, it’s the greatest nonfamily thing I’ve ever done. It’s the one place in my universe that’s perfect.’ Which isn’t to say ushering is a trouble-free experience, a blissful two hours of distributing programs and directing people to the restrooms. … It’s their duty to handle latecomers, quiet chatty types and enforce basic rules of behavior. … ‘They’re the first responders,’ said house manager Judith Diehl, whose team includes some 300 ushers.”

Posted July 23, 2012