Show time is fun time at cultural centre
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This article was published 10/10/2017 (1936 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
For an outgoing music lover such as Pat McPhillips, volunteering at the West End Cultural Centre is the perfect gig.
“I’m a very social person, so I really wanted to be able to interact with people who are like me and have similar interests,” she says.
McPhillips first began volunteering at the centre in 2009. She typically volunteers two or three times a month at the venue, located at Ellice Avenue and Sherbrook Street.
The centre relies on 180 volunteers to work at the many events it hosts each year.
Duties include selling tickets, checking ID, ushering, selling drinks and snacks, and helping clean up at the end of the night. McPhillips says she enjoys bartending the most.
“It’s the best because you get to talk to almost everybody.”
Another perk is being exposed to new bands.
“There’s nothing like experiencing live music,” McPhillips says. “It’s visceral, it’s visual, it’s aural, it’s emotional. I like the intensity of it.”
Mark Cohoe, who has volunteered at the centre since 2000, enjoys it for similar reasons.
“I appreciate that introduction to different styles of music and different acts that I might not go out to (see) otherwise,” he says, adding meeting people is another plus.
“Volunteering in general sort of opens you up to other people’s lives in a way that’s unique. You end up meeting people you wouldn’t meet otherwise.”
Cohoe is a leader on one of the venue’s volunteer crews and recalls one concert where a journalism student on his crew was volunteering alongside a veteran newspaper reporter.
“Where else are you going to get these opportunities where someone has a lifetime of experience they can lend you?” he asks. “It’s just amazing.”
McPhillips and Cohoe agree a high-energy concert earlier this year by the Jerry Cans was a highlight.
The five-piece from Nunavut combines Inuit throat singing with folk music.
“I’ve never seen an audience have as good a time as at that show,” McPhillips says.
“That was a great night.”
“When we’re volunteering there, we’re seeing people on their funnest night of the month,” Cohoe adds. “They’re out, they’re seeing a band they love and it’s always a friendly energy.”
The centre is celebrating its 30th anniversary this month. The venue’s success would not be possible without volunteers, volunteer co-ordinator Matt Duboff says.
“Volunteers are essential to what we do.”
Duboff is looking for more volunteers. The minimum commitment is one show a month and there are always opportunities to do more.
Perks include free pizza, drinks and concert tickets.
Anyone interested in getting involved can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Staff and volunteers say they are excited to see what the future holds for the venue.
“Let’s see another 30 years,” Cohoe says. “I’m game.”
If you know a special volunteer, please contact email@example.com.