Musicians and audiences aren’t the only ones happy to be back in the concert hall

Posted on: January 24, 2022

Patrons entering Chicago Symphony Center for a performance, December 9, 2021. Photo: Victor Hilitski/Chicago Tribune

“When Colleen Mraz headed home from her job at Symphony Center one March evening in 2020, she took a red usher’s blazer with her,” writes Lauren Warnecke in Sunday’s (1/23) Chicago Tribune. “She told her supervisor she’d return the jacket the next day. ‘A year and a half later, I brought it back,’ she said. In addition to taking tickets, handing out programs and helping people find their seats, the faces greeting Symphony Center patrons are now also responsible for vaccine card and mask checks.… The music is an obvious perk for Mraz and colleague Chester Banowski…. But they also relish the chance to interact with so many people…. ‘It’s good to be back,’ Mraz said.… Additional safety measures have been recently put in place.… Early January concerts were well-attended—in some cases exceeding 1,800 patrons…. A people person, Banowski jumped at the chance to get back to work as soon as possible…. ‘I’m the first person patrons see when they arrive,’ Mraz said. ‘I’ve always enjoyed welcoming people—whether or not they can see it with my mask on.’ … Mraz and Banowski both said they routinely receive thanks for the CSO’s rigorous protocols.”