Volunteer Positions for San Diego Symphony Ushers

Jacobs Music Center

Embarcadero Marina Park South

JACOBS MUSIC CENTER

USHER
Ushers are responsible for having a full understanding of the operating policies and house rules, including:
  • Working under the Usher Captain, Floor Captain and House Manager
  • Monitoring and maximizing safety at all times
  • Knowing entire seating layout to escort patrons to appropriate section and seat
  • Being attentive to the Usher Captains in the assigned area
  • Playing chimes before the concert and at intermission to forewarn patrons that intermission is ending
  • Having the ability to meet the public with courtesy and enthusiasm
  • Following written procedures as specified in all material distributed
  • Helping stuff programs prior to concerts, if needed
  • Seating patrons in an efficient and non-disruptive manner
  • Assisting with late seating requirements
  • Monitoring their designated area during all performances
  • Having a total understanding of emergency procedures
  • Distributing programs in an assigned area
  • Being easily accessible during the concert whenever needed
  • Monitoring the lobbies during all performances
  • Verifying no food or beverages are brought into the chamber
  • Monitoring that bar/concessions lines are angled away from center of lobby
No seating is allowed at any time during music (this includes EVERYONE - ushers, staff, patrons, Boardmembers, etc.)
Once the program has begun, one usher is required in the lobbies at each aisle door keeping patrons from entering audience chamber until the designated late seating interval as described in the pre-performance briefing.
  • Program Etiquette: Present programs with the bottom facing the patrons.
  • Visibility: You are very visible to patrons and set the image for the Symphony. Smile, be available, and friendly. Take time to answer questions in a low-key manner.
  • Information Source: Stay attentive and alert to curious patrons. If not sure, say so! Call the house manager and always get back to the patron.
  • Handicapped Patrons: Ushers are encouraged to proactively find bench seating or inquire with house manager for additional seating options in the lobby for handicapped patrons or those with special needs.
  • Trip Hazards: Keep aisles clear at all times of canes, walkers, wheelchairs, etc.
  • Hearing Assisted Devices: Go to one of the main floor ticket takers to obtain a hearing device. Symphony staff will hold person~Rs driver~Rs license or other ID as security for this free service.
  • Food and Beverages: No house staff/ushers are to drink or eat either in the lobby areas or audience chamber.
  • Escorting Patrons: Escort patrons out the chamber during the concert, ask if they OK, identify what assistance they may need, remind them of the late seating situation, remain with them in lobby, and upon their return place them in the rear of the chamber between movements/musical selections.
  • Usher Seating: Ushers are to sit within two rows of an exit door except in balcony where ushers need to remain at the exit doors throughout the performance.
Floor Captain
One usher captain will be assigned to both the lower and upper levels and responsible for managing these ushers and front-of-house coordination with patrons during each event.
  • Wear and operate radio to communicate with house manager and staff.
  • After the usher pre-event briefing assign specific duties or assignments, as required.
  • Ensure ushers know their assigned tasks. If not, please explain the duties and coordinate with house manager for applicable seating charts, aids, etc.
  • Assign someone to monitor the concessions line at each bar at intermission (traffic flow should be angled at a 45 degree angle to ensure there is more space to access the lobby areas).
  • Monitor that restrooms, lobbies, and audience chamber are tidy and clean.
  • Ensure ushers are in place so lobbies can open up on time.
  • Communicate with house manager on approval to open the chamber, close the aisle doors, etc.
  • Communicate any maintenance requirements immediately to house staff.
  • Coordinate immediately with house manager regarding ticketing issues, emergency procedures, sensitive patron interface, or situations requiring medical assistance.
  • Before the concert assign late seating hold usher rotation in lobbies/at aisles.
  • Ensure lobby doors are closed and appropriate ushers are seated when house lights dim.
  • Monitor late seating hold and subsequent seating.
  • Coordinate throughout performance with house manager, as needed.
  • Ensure all ushers locations are staffed during the concert, at intermission, and after the concert.
  • Monitor that the chamber and lobby area is clear of patrons before dismissing ushers.
  • Turn in all lost and found articles along with location to house management.
  • Brief house manager on any items for inclusion in performance report before departure.
Ticket Taker
  • Place yourself opposite the usher handing out programs at your assigned closed aisle door. For the stairs leading to the balcony, stand with programs in hand in the upper lobby at the base of the stairwell.
  • Only open the aisle doors when indicated by either the House Manager or Floor Captain
  • When checking tickets determine that the patron is at the correct aisle, based on the seat number, and then send the patron inside to the ushers for seating. Please note that indicating the row and seat number is not necessary and delays the flow of patrons into the audience chamber.
  • At intermission, return to your original position and remain there during intermission, unless replaced by an inside usher. Assist patrons with the location of restrooms, water fountain, phone, etc. Ensure no food and drinks (except for bottled water) enter the chamber.
  • At the end of the concert, return to your original position, open the aisle doors for exiting patrons (only leave the doors propped open when the house lights inside the chamber go on), smile, and say either "Good Night" or "Thank You for Coming" to the patrons until all patrons have left the aisle.
Programmer
  • Place yourself opposite the ticket taker usher at your assigned closed aisle door. For the stairs leading to the balcony, stand with programs in hand in the upper lobby at the base of the stairwell.
  • Only open the aisle doors when indicated by either the House Manager or Floor Captain
  • Present programs to each patron as their ticket is checked to be certain that the program cover is facing the patrons RIGHT SIDE UP.
  • At intermission, return to your original position and remain there during intermission, unless replaced by an inside usher. Assist patrons with the location of restrooms, water fountain, phone, etc. Ensure no food and drinks (except for bottled water) enter the chamber.
  • At the end of the concert, return to your original position, open the aisle doors for exiting patrons (only leave the doors propped open when the house lights inside the chamber go on), smile, and say either "Good Night" or "Thank You for Coming" to the patrons until all patrons have left the aisle. Also, return programs to the wooden program boxes.

Please Note: At all times no more than two ushers should cover each aisle door in the lobbies.
Inside Ushers
  • For pre-concert lectures (before the San Diego Symphony's Masterworks Series concerts and La Jolla Music Society concerts) patrons will be directed to aisles 3 and 4 in the lower chamber for open/unreserved seating in the center of the audience chamber near the stage. Ushers on these two aisles will be positioned beginning at row B (e.g., there is no seating in rows BB and A) and spread out evenly to the top of the aisle to assist with lecture seating. Once the lecture is ready to begin, ushers at aisles 3 and 4 are to rotate back to the top of the aisle and assist with seating lecture attendee latecomers in the rear of the chamber.
  • Using the taxi line, each usher should take each patron/group to their row and indicate the location of their seat.
    Note: Use your flashlight if need be for the safety of yourself and patrons.
  • Return to the top of the aisle behind the last usher in the taxi line, then repeat the procedure.
    Note: If you are the only usher in the taxi line remain anchored at the top of the aisle to direct patrons until other inside ushers return from seating patrons.
  • During the concert take an aisle seat within the last two rows of the chamber (one usher on each side in an aisle seat) and be prepared to assist with late seating patrons as designated by the house manager or floor captain. During the first 15-20 minutes of both the first and second half an usher should be standing at the back of aisles 2 through 5 downstairs and at the balcony doors to control the quiet flow of late arrivals. Ushers working the upstairs have specific requirements where to sit during the concert and how to monitor late arrivals (e.g., no upstairs usher should sit in the Grand Tier or the first three rows of the far house right and left side of the Mezzanine; house left and right ushers monitoring the Grand Tier/Mezzanine walkways are to sit in a chair at a 45 degree angle behind the pillar so as to remain out of view of the patrons; balcony ushers should remain within 4-6 feet of the balcony doors, either standing at the doors or sitting in a portable chair, for ease of assisting latecomers or departing patrons). During the concert should a patron leave the chamber, follow the patron to the lobby, ask how we can assist the patron, explain the late seating policy, remain in the lobby until the patron is ready to return, and place the patron in a back row seat until it is appropriate for her/him to return to their own seat.
  • At intermission, return to your original position and remain there during intermission. The floor captain will ensure ushers can take a break at this time, but we need to maintain presence of an usher inside to assist patrons when needed. An usher needs to be positioned at each emergency door that provides access backstage within the upper and lower chamber areas to ensure no patrons are accessing these areas without prior approval.
  • At the end of the concert, return to your original position at the top of the aisle, open the aisle doors for exiting patrons (only leave the doors propped open when the house lights inside the chamber go on or become distinctly brighter), smile, and say either "Good Night" or "Thank You for Coming" to the patrons until all patrons have left the aisle. An usher needs to be positioned at each emergency door that provides access backstage within the upper and lower chamber areas to ensure no patrons are accessing these areas without prior approval.
  • After the concert check your area for lost/left items, note the specific location of lost items, and return them to the house manager. Close the aisle doors.
Ticket Takers at Main Entrances
Two volunteers will augment our three paid ticket takers at the two lobby entrances (7th Avenue and "B" Street). They will tear tickets, collect the stubs for counting later in the evening, ensure no drinks leave the premises, monitor the child-age policy (if applicable), and direct patrons to the appropriate aisle. They are required to be at entrances prior to the concert, at intermission, and after concert. Should someone desire to bring in a large bag, house management reserves the right to search this bag before allowing the patron to enter the lobby.
GIFT SHOP/COAT CHECK
Periodically, one or two volunteers will staff the Gift Shop and/or Coat Check Room located next to the entrance in the lower lobby. Volunteers will help out the vendor sell items and check coats, umbrellas, etc. You must possess a keen awareness of handling cash, checks, and credit card payment, and keep accurate records and receipts for proper tracking of inventory and balancing of the money bank and sales at end of the performance. These people will be available prior to the concert, at intermission and, after the concert.
Stage Door (Aisles 1 and 6)
One usher each will stand at the stage door on aisle 1 and 6 before the concert, at intermission, and after the concert to monitor that only working staff, backstage hospitality volunteers, and musicians enter backstage through these doors. The stage manager or house manager will provide backstage lists with directions to follow. All guests who desire to visit backstage, unless on a backstage pass list, are to be directed to the exit doors by aisle 1 where house staff will be on radio to coordinate possible access with the stage manager. During the concert this person will be seated at the stage door. The usher is also responsible for ensuring proper traffic flow during emergency evacuation and assisting patrons up the backstage stairs, if required. After the concert the ushers need to remain at the backstage doors until the chamber is empty of patrons.

Standard Policy for Entrance Backstage from the House:
  • Prior to Performance
    • Musicians, working staff, backstage hospitality volunteers with passes, and crew only allowed backstage
    • Guests of featured performer(s) escorted by administrator on duty
  • During Intermission
    • Musicians, working staff, backstage hospitality volunteers with passes, and crew only allowed backstage
    • Guests of featured performer(s) escorted by administrator on duty
  • Post Performance
    • Musicians, working staff, and crew may escort their guests backstage no earlier than five minutes after the concert
    • Guests of featured performer(s) escorted by administrator on duty. Note: Backstage access may be limited to musicians, working staff, and crew only on some performances which feature high-profile guest artists
    • Guests are not allowed to roam backstage unescorted
Note: For rental events the standard policy for backstage access will be limited to rental employees and only those on a given pass list, as designated by the rental manager/stage manager, or wearing identification tags based upon the applicable policies and procedures for that given event.
Elevator Operator / Reception Area Monitor
One volunteer will be inside and operate the elevator to take patrons between the lower and upper lobbies (LL and UL) before the concert through the first late seating hold, at intermission, and after the concert. This person will also be loaned a FOB that is scanned over a sensor in the elevator to provide administrative office access (floors 2, 3, and 4) to staff only. A Reception area monitor will be stand behind the receptionist's desk before the concert, at intermission, and after the concert, answer questions, and monitor that patrons do not either enter through the glass door from outside the building or access the stairwell to the left of the elevator.
Revelle Room Greeter
One or two volunteers will be located at the Revelle Room entrance in the upper lobby to welcome VIPs, Board members, sponsors, and/or other invited guests at various private functions before the concert, at intermission, and/or after the concert. They will work under the guidance of Development staff.
Symphony Towers Lobby & Red Carpet Greeter
Two or three volunteers will be positioned in the Symphony Towers lobby to open the B Street Symphony Towers doors off the sidewalk at the red carpet to greet patrons (primarily during the Masterworks Series), to direct patrons to the proper ticket line (Sales vs. Will Call), and to answer questions. Required before the concert and after the concert.
Symphony Towers Parking Elevator Greeter
This person will be located on the Symphony Towers 12th floor, directing patrons from the parking elevators to the Symphony Towers elevators which access the main floor and Symphony Hall. Required before and after the concert.

Embarcadero Marina Park South

Ushers (Grandstand, Cabaret, & Champagne Sections)
Ushers are responsible for having a full understanding of the operating policies and site rules, including:
  • Following written procedures as specified in all material distributed
  • Working under the Usher Captain, House Manager, and Floor Captains
  • Being attentive to the Floor Captains in the assigned area
  • Knowing entire seating layout to escort patrons to appropriate GRANDSTAND section/seat and CABARET table/seat
  • Distributing programs in an assigned area
  • Having the ability to meet the public with courtesy and enthusiasm
  • Helping stuff programs prior to concerts, if needed
  • Seating patrons in an efficient and non-disruptive manner
  • Assisting with late seating hold requirements throughout the evening
  • At intermission, ushers working CHAMPAGNE seating area will space themselves out and encircle the prime seating area to monitor that no patrons are moving into the most expensive seats without management approval.
  • Monitoring their designated area during all performances
  • Having a total understanding of emergency procedures
  • Being attentive and easily accessible during the concert whenever needed
  • Notifying management of any safety issues
Ticket Takers (Main Gate & Handicapped Gate)
Periodically, volunteers will augment our four paid ticket takers at the main entry gate and handicapped entrance. They will greet patrons, check tickets for correct date, tear tickets, collect the perforated right hand portion of the stubs for counting later in the evening, and direct patrons to seating areas. Required to be at gates prior to concert, at intermission, and after concert. Monitors that no pedestrian traffic is allowed through the handicapped gate upon exiting except for those parked on the pier in the handicapped lot.
Feeders (direct patrons to appropriate seating areas)
Six to eight volunteers will work between GRANDSTANDS and GRASS SEATING AREAS, checking tickets of all patrons who enter seating area. These volunteers will direct patrons to appropriate section at CABARET, CHAMPAGNE, GRANDSTAND, or GRASS SEATING. They will take turns during the concert with assistance from other ushers holding latecomers in the rear during each musical selection and then directing latecomers to nearby ushers who will escort patrons to their correct seat(s) between each musical selection. Monitor that patrons being held in the rear during the musical selections remain quiet so as not to disturb GRANDSTAND and GRASS SEATING patrons. Available at intermission and after concert to assist patrons.
Guest Services Tent
Two ushers will staff a table to disseminate flyers, encourage patrons to sign up for the Symphony mailing list, keep the table orderly and clean, serve as key contact to House Management or House Physician on any matters of import, assist with picnic check items, and answer general questions. Required throughout the evening.
VIP Services Tent
Box Office Greeter
Picnic Check
Two or three volunteers are designated to work at two picnic check areas: Picnic Check #1 is open from 6 pm until 7:45 pm outside the Main Gate to check any items which are prohibited on the Pier (alcohol, glass containers/items, candles, cameras, and videos), Picnic check #2 is open all evening and located at the Customer Service Tent in the US Bank Plaza area. A claim check number is affixed to each person's item with the corresponding check number ticket given to the patrons for each item. You should also write the person's name on each stub for additional verification. Bubble wrap MUST be used to protect cameras, glass containers/bottles, and anything else of value and/or fragile. Area must be monitored throughout the concert and designated volunteers will rotate to this location. Regardless of where the item was left, the pick up point of all items after 7:45 pm is at the Customer Service tent. All patrons must present the claim check ticket to the usher or attendant who must verify the numbers match before returning that item to the patron.
Program/Flyer Dissemination
Grass Seating Assistant
These ushers are similar to an usher's duties given they assist patrons find seating in the appropriately designated lawn areas. There is limited to the sides of the GRANDSTAND. These areas must be monitored closely, especially upon opening of the site, to ensure patrons:
  • stay within the designated lawn areas
  • occupy as little space as possible while still being comfortable
  • place high-legged chairs toward the back or side of the lawn areas so as not to block the view of patrons seated behind
Additional grass seating with restricted or no view of the stage is in designated areas just inside the perimeter fencing
Intermission Services
Restroom Line: One volunteer at each of three restroom access points (by gender) to assist patrons to next available restroom.
Site Boundary: Depending upon barricade configuration around seating area 6 - 8 volunteers monitor that no patrons go beyond designated "Off Limits" area. This is a critical safety requirement that must be followed without exception. Ushers are also placed along raised platforms or exposed cables illuminating these areas with their flashlights to ensure no one trips or falls.
Smoking Monitoring: 6-8 volunteers will walk around site, approach patrons politely who are smoking, and direct them to designated smoking area next to restroom area.