Strap on Heels and Tie the Tie


By MARY BURGERSTAFF WRITER

The Norton Center is well-known for bringing famous and spectacular events to the Centre College campus. One unique aspect of the high-class establishment is that so many students are given the opportunity to work during the featured shows.

Student positions include House Managers, Concessions, Valet, Security, and perhaps the most well-known, Ushers. The performance ushers are divided into the two groups of Corp A and Corp B. Corp A ushers are present at every Norton Center event and Corp B ushers are called upon when more ushers are needed for a particular performance.

Senior Sarah Lulich, a Head Norton Center Usher, directs a patron to her seat during the night of the Béla Fleck and Brooklyn Rider concert on Nov. 16.

Senior Sarah Lulich, a Head Norton Center Usher, directs a patron to her seat during the night of the Béla Fleck and Brooklyn Rider concert on Nov. 16.

“There are three basic jobs as an usher. You’re either working at the door, so you’ll be standing and handing out programs and greeting people as they come into the door. Or you will be [the] ticket takers who will be more toward the bottom when you walk in. Or [there is] what I do, which is called a runner,” junior Kyle Bezold said. “Each side of the Norton Center will have one runner and they are responsible for making sure that each worker at all of the doors has enough programs.”

As a runner, Bezold spends most of his time running up and down the stairs. This particular job is normally performed by men, simply because women typically do not want to be running up and down stairs while wearing the required pair of heels.

Above Corp A are the Head Ushers. Students performing this particular job facilitate the movement of patrons in the lobby and make sure that those with special needs are attended to.

They will spend some time on security detail as well as hold open the doors for Norton Center patrons and Centre students upon their arrival.

This particular job requirement is important as of this year due to the Norton Center’s new policy that states that no guest should open a door for him or herself.

Senior Sarah Lulich has worked at the Norton Center since her first year at Centre. She served on Corp B her first two years, then moved to Corp A, and now works as a Head Usher. She enjoys her new position for this year because it gives her “a chance to interact more with the patrons and meet some of the quirkier people who attend events.”

The Norton Center offers a multitude of opportunities to see incredible performances and national events. During the Vice Presidential Debate, Lulich worked as an Usher in the Orchestra Pit.

“It was such a cool experience. I ushered the Senators, the Senators’ families, and a lot of politicians. I got to talk to a Secret Service officer and question him because we were waiting at that entrance to take them down [to the Orchestra Pit],” Lulich said. “It was just a completely different atmosphere because you had to be in tip-top shape. You were dealing with a different clientele and you had to make sure they were qualified to go down into the orchestra pit. It was a lot of fun.

I’m happy I got the experience because what other school has students usher and help that way for a debate?”

Besides having the chance to work during the Vice Presidential Debate, unique experiences are available for all ushers during each show. Bezold once stood guard over certain rooms in order to prevent mischievous behavior from occurring. Even when ushers help with more-common jobs, dull moments are not hard to find. Now a Head Usher, sophomore Bryan Wright temporarily served as a valet last year. During one show in particular, he experienced his own set of difficulties.

“I’m really bad at driving my own car. The first [time] I got into a car [to valet park] I accidently turned the windshield wipers on,” Wright said. “Then I had it in reverse and I went back and forward. Then the emergency brake went on for some reason. And it was a handicapped person’s car so there were all kind of mechanisms that I didn’t know how to work. So basically I looked like an idiot pulling out of the parking lot and everyone saw.”

But the normal experiences of the ushers are calm and collected. The ushers arrive early, fulfill their duties, and then either watch the performances or go in another area to work on homework. Through the Norton Center, students are able to experience what it is like to work in a variety of jobs within an incredible performing arts center.


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