Written by Nicole Miao
At the beginning of this semester, I flipped through the calendar of events and found the scheduled performance of Chicago Symphony Orchestra on campus. I am afraid that it would be hard to get a ticket when it is accessible, and because I have never been an usher at the performance before, I signed up as an usher for this performance.
A rare rainstorm on the day of the performance made my trip to Krannert Center for the Performing Arts more difficult than ever. I arrived an hour earlier than the audience and started preparing. I checked in and selected the desired section, then put on the usher’s vest and immediately went to my section to start working.
I stood in balcony aisle, guiding the audience to the audience and paying attention to someone who needed help. I didn’t know how to do it at first, while a lady in the section next to me often came over to help and I started to get back on track. Diana, the lady who helped me a lot, was a community volunteer. Under the guidance of Diana, I led the audience into place and then went to my own position to wait for the performance to begin.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra played a total of three symphonies. The first and third were similar in style, both soothing and delicate. The difference was that the emotion of the first one was more upset, just like its title “Mourning”, and the third one was more relaxed. But the piece that impressed me the most was the second one. Its style was exactly the opposite of the other two. From the beginning of the prelude, I felt as if I was on the eve of the rainstorm. I could hear the wind hunting, and the clouds in the distance rolled. After a brief calm, drums joined the ensemble, mimicking the thunder. The trombone showed the great power of wind and rain, and its bright and beautiful sound not only expressed the effect of storm lightning, but also let audience feel a sudden horror.
During the intermission and at then end, ushers had to go back to their own section to work. After all spectators left, I returned to the lobby in KCPA and finished my part of work. To be honest, I was so grateful to meet Diana. It seemed like that several other volunteers have worked together many times before because they were very familiar with each other and often chatted together. However, it was my first time to be a volunteer in KCPA, and because I chose the section in balcony aisle, there were basically no other volunteers around. But Diana was particularly friendly. She always came to help or chat with me as if we were old friends. She also told me that the best place to listen to a symphony at Foellinger Great Hall was M row and above on the balcony, which was of great help later when I bought tickets for future performances. It was the first symphony concert I saw after arriving Illinois and it was also my first time being an usher at KCPA. Overall it was quite a memorable experience.
If you want to learn more about CSO | Chicago Symphony Orchestra, visit this website: https://cso.org/home/