Get to know our volunteers!
by Melissa Singleton
We have over 600 volunteers annually that work as hosts, gift shop volunteers, light walkers, supernumeraries, docents, special events, Youth Guild, Guild, Gala, ushers, ticket takers, and more. We couldn’t function without the endless hours they dedicate to Utah Symphony | Utah Opera. Enjoy getting to know two of our wonderful volunteers and join us by emailing [email protected].
Anne Polinsky is a Utah native and has lived here and in Idaho. She graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in accounting but is now retired. She also volunteers for several other local organizations, including Sundance Film Festival and Park City Art Festival.
How long have you been a USUO volunteer and what do you love most about being volunteering here? Carolyn Holloway was the person who first got me involved and we think it’s about 2006, so just over a decade! I enjoy working with the other volunteers and the patrons. It’s nice to see the outreach that USUO does, and the younger people from Youth Guild and students attending performances.
Do you have any memorable moments or concerts? What made them so enjoyable? I think one of my favorite concerts (among many) is the first time I saw Pink Martini at Deer Valley and how the audience reacted to their talent.
Why is it important to you that you have classical music and opera in your life? I made a New Year’s resolution a couple of years ago to have more music in my life and this was a perfect way to do it. It not only helps with relaxation, but I’ve read that it also helps one’s brain from deteriorating, and who doesn’t love that?
Whit Wirsing was born in Roanoke, Virginia. He has a degree in philosophy from Virginia Tech and a degree in Spanish from the University of Utah. He teaches English as a second language for the Granite District and Continuing Education department at the University of Utah and Lumos School. He is the author of the “Ultimate Spanish Phrase Finder” published by McGraw Hill in 2009. Whit is most often seen at the symphony intermission receptions acting as the head “sommelier.” His beautiful origami cranes add a bright spot to the tables.
How long have you been a USUO volunteer and what do you love most about being volunteering here? I’ve been volunteering since September 2011. I enjoy several things about volunteering. I want people to enjoy the experience of coming to the symphony, to have a good time, and want to come back. Second, I like the people that I work with.
Do you have any memorable moments or concerts? What made them so enjoyable? I remember the night of a post-reception when the whole orchestra, the staff and the board were in attendance. The champagne was flowing, and everyone was in high spirits. Another night that was memorable was about 3 years ago when it was a Latino night. I loved that because I speak Spanish, and the Latino community that likes classical music fits like glove with the rest of the music-loving community.
Why is it important to you that you have classical music and opera in your life? My grandmother was a concert pianist. She mostly played with symphonies in the Roanoke and southwest Virginia area, but once she played Cesar Franck’s Symphonic Variations. I have a CD of it, and my CD is no better than what my grandmother played that night. My mother also played the piano (she died when I was 12), and both my aunts played. So it’s in the blood. I can’t imagine life without it. And we are the organization for people whose love of music is in their blood.
Melissa Robison is our Front of House and Publication Manager who also managers our Volunteer Network and has the pleasure of working with over 600 volunteers each season.