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From Our Community

Behind every great arts organization...

Three volunteers posing together in the lobby at Orchestra Hall.
Volunteers (left to right) Anna Kruse, Charlie Johnson and Barb Holmes. Credit: Emma Redinger

Behind every great arts organization is a team of dedicated volunteers. And that goes for your favorite hometown band, too: at the Minnesota Orchestra, more than 500 volunteers contribute 5,000 hours of service annually. Because April is Volunteer Month here in Minnesota, we asked a few of these behind-the-scenes superstars about why they started volunteering—and, more importantly, what keeps them coming back.

Anna Kruse

Years volunteered:

Day job: Advertising and PR student at the University of Minnesota 


Why’d you decide to become a volunteer? 

Growing up, I played piano and cello and I really missed being involved with classical music. There’s a certain energy you feel when you’re in the presence of an orchestra that you can’t get anywhere else. 


What’s your favorite thing about volunteering with us? 

While I love the music, my favorite thing about volunteering is actually meeting so many different people.


What's the best thing you've seen at Orchestra Hall? 

So far, the best concert I’ve seen was Anthony Ross playing Dvořák’s Cello Concerto. There are some incredibly fabulous, chic dressers that attend the Orchestra. It’s great to see people in their fancy outfits.

Charlie Johnson

Years volunteered: 43 

Day job: Food aficionado, and avid reader and volunteer


Why’d you decide to become a volunteer for the Minnesota Orchestra?

During November of 1979, I moved to Minneapolis from the Twin Ports (Duluth/Superior) for a better job. I had heard the Orchestra long before then on MPR’s broadcasts, so I was anticipating hearing the performances live. But my budget then didn’t permit me to match my appetite for great music. In one of the programs booklets I saw an ad for volunteer ushers and realized that could make it easier to indulge my music interest. 


What’s your favorite thing about volunteering with us? 

Certainly the amazing variety of music we get to hear remains a significant factor that keeps me coming back. But seeing the smiles and hearing the happy chatter as the audience leaves adds delight that a broadcast can’t match. 


Tell us about your dream concert, classical or otherwise: who’s performing, and what are they playing?

First, “movie nights” when the orchestra performs an entire movie score live with the images projected on a screen at the back of the stage. Second, programs featuring music by living composers, such as the Composer Institute. Third, “big music” programs that display and exploit that immense variety of sounds, colors and textures a world-class ensemble can produce.

Barb Holmes

Years volunteered: 8 

Day job: Dedicated volunteer, bookworm and grandmother 


What’s your primary role as a volunteer?  

My primary role as a volunteer is to help our patrons feel welcome to Orchestra Hall and to answer any questions that they may have. On occasion I am a lead volunteer and then am responsible to assist the volunteers that are working the event. 


What’s your favorite thing about volunteering with us? 

I enjoy greeting the patrons and am always impressed with those that have been attending for a very long time. I feel privileged that, as a volunteer, I am able to sit inside during the concert when I am volunteering. 


What's the best thing you've seen at Orchestra Hall? 

I have yet to attend a concert that I didn’t like! Our musicians are amazing to hear and watch. 

Volunteers gather before a concert in October 2022.

Credit: Tony Nelson

Linda King

Years volunteered: 18 

Day job: Professional volunteer and arts enthusiast 


Why’d you decide to become a volunteer for the Minnesota Orchestra? 

Loving classical music from my earliest childhood recollection, I felt this would be a perfect fit because of my lifelong interest in classical music, and an avenue to deepen my commitment to volunteering. 


What keeps you busy when you’re not at Orchestra Hall? 

My spouse, Rob Schauinger, and I can be seen in our roles as both enthusiastic patrons and as volunteers for many performing arts organizations throughout the Twin Cities. We always have lots to talk about over our morning coffee! 


Tell us about your dream concert. 

My dream concert was the Orchestra’s performance of the symphonic poem Finlandia by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, which emerged as a de facto second Finnish national anthem. Osmo Vänskä electrified the Hall in a profoundly moving experience for audience members and orchestra musicians alike. 


Rob Schauinger

Years volunteered: 15 

Day job: Retired from the medical industry, Community Education student 


What’s your primary role as a volunteer? 

My primary role is one of usher (with a secondary role as volunteer lead). I help welcome and assist guests attending concerts with seating and various questions they may have. It is a critical role—we are "the face" of Orchestra Hall. 


What’s your favorite thing about volunteering with us? 

My favorite thing is actually meeting and interacting with the patrons, other volunteers and the Orchestra staff, all of whom share a common love of music. 


Tell us about your dream concert. 

My "dream concert" was when the Orchestra musicians first started giving outside concerts on Peavey Plaza after COVID had started. It was a proud moment for me—I was proud of "my'' Orchestra and the fact that they were still trying to find a way of bringing live music to people during a time when they needed it the most. 

Windham Anez

Years volunteered:

Day job: Part-time sculpture model, full-time creative tinkerer 


Why’d you decide to become a volunteer for the Minnesota Orchestra?  

I decided to become a volunteer because I missed the magic of live classical music. I was heavily involved with music in high school and somewhat in college, so I wanted to get some live music back in my life post-education. 


Tell us about your dream concert.  

My dream concert would have to be seeing Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with live cannons. 


What's the best thing you've seen at Orchestra Hall?  

In November, I volunteered for the Gabel, Saint-Saëns and Tchaikovsky Coffee Concert. Initially, I signed up for the concert because I love Tchaikovsky’s work, but fell in love with the Saint-Saëns Piano Concerto No. 5. Bertrand Chamayou was a treat to watch and truly inspired me! I loved the concert so much that I signed up to volunteer to see the show again that weekend. 

So, what do you say? Want to join this wonderful crew?

Volunteer Opportunities