A Love for Volunteering

Image result for Garde Arts center

When I visited the Garde Arts Center in New London, Connecticut to see The Nice Guys on August 26, I had the privilege of getting to know some of the ushers. As I made my way to talk with them I noticed that they were enjoying their cups of coffee as they were being given their instructions for the night. But, what I didn’t realize was how much the users do in the Garde, there are several jobs for them to do.

Among those jobs is taking a count into the amount of people who come into the Garde to see the show. When I was talking to Judy, a volunteer since 2002, she informed me that it was important to see who was using their tickets versus their pass that they received earlier to view all seventeen movies. “You would be looking at the tickets and bringing them to their seat. The house manager helps with tickets and seating people. Among the ushers there is a doorperson to open up the door and hand out programs. Also, they have to come out and open the doors while saying good-bye to people,” Judy states. Welcoming people in the Garde is a great thing that the ushers take pride in. “A lobby person is available when someone has a question. Some people like to be over by the stairs so they can send them in the right direction,” Judy continues. I notice that each usher takes pride in what they do.

Several of the ushers have worked different kinds of shows throughout their years as an usher. Some of the most memorable shows are the Chinese Acrobats and Don McLean. “There is always a variety of shows: Broadway, Famous Stars of the Past, Don McLean and children’s shows. I can tell you we loved all those there is not just one,” Theresa. an usher since 2008, states. But, to Tom Doyle, an usher since 2008, there is nothing like the shows for the kids. “At children’s shows, so many of them are happy because they are excited to be here. Some of them have never been in a theater before. Sometimes there are 1500 kids. Bob’s Discount Furniture pays for the children’s theater and when the show starts you can hear a pin drop. The children are silent and excited,” Tom says. As for Judy, she told me about the community involvement with the symphony. “The symphony is a little different. They use high school students who are studying music. They do the tickets and the door, and the seating,” Judy says. Although the Garde does have ushers come in to assist the high school students, community involvement is something that is very important to the Garde.

“Safety is very important. If there is a fire, then you calmly lead the pack out,” Theresa told me how important safety is to each and every one of the ushers. I learned that there is a large space in front of Row L for space to the closest exit. In order to become an usher at the Garde Arts Center you must go to an orientation in September where you are informed of what to do in the unlikely case of an emergency.

In the group of ushers there is a strong sense of comradeship. As jokes about the Humphrey Bogart statue go around the lobby with metal figurines over hanging lights, I can see each one of them helping one another out. “The volunteers are a good group of people. We all became friends,” says Tom. Their enjoyment of working together shows how great of a group of people they are. As I made my way to the seat to watch the show, I noticed that the ushers were willing to help others out as the lights dimmed for The Nice Guys to start. As previews for Midnight Special and Miles Ahead appeared on the screen, I couldn’t help but think about how wonderful of a group the ushers are.

It Happened One Night

On September 3, 1991 one of the greatest filmmakers of all time passed away. Throughout his life Frank Capra brought to life many films and characters that would define the future age of film. In the 1934 comedy It Happened One Night we are introduced to such a film. With Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable in the lead role this movie is quite hilarious.

Ellie Andrews finds herself in a marriage that is not approved she jumps ship, literally, to escape her family who want it annulled. The young heiress finds herself with boarding a bus in to New York City where she meets reporter Peter Warne. Warne becomes quickly aware of her identity and the award that her family has offered for her safe return. Knowing that Ellie won’t go easily, Peter works to get a story from her promising her safe return. Ellie’s husband is an aviator who is frantically looking for her as well and starts searching for her. After a hitchhiking road trip gone wrong Peter is able to return Ellie to her family with a news line reading that she is going to marry again. When Ellie’s father offers Peter the money he only asks for his fees to be covered not the ten thousand dollars. On her wedding day, Ellie runs out again on her wedding to spend her life with Peter.

It Happened One Night is quite the comedy. Many people consider this to be the first screwball comedy when it premiered in 1934. Frank Capra directed this hilarious film paving the way for several comedies to come after it. On September 3, 1991, Frank Capra died, but many filmmakers look up to him today as one of the greats.

The Hobbit Trilogy

The Hobbit trilogy dvd cover.jpgOn September 2, 1973 the world lost J.R.R. Tolkien, a master writer and story teller. He created the world of Lord of the Rings through his first book The Hobbit. Between the years of 2012 and 2014 this book premiered in a trilogy. Even though there was much filler to make this so, The Hobbit Trilogy is an unforgettable series.

The first movie opens with Bilbo Baggins preparing for a journey leading to a flashback where he is first visited by Gandalf the Grey. Later that evening, Bilbo’s quiet existence becomes disrupted when he is visited by thirteen dwarfs who are looking to gain back their home in the Lonely Mountain. Many years ago the dragon Smaug took over the mountain leaving the dwarfs homeless after their Elfin allies do not come to their aid. After a night of rest Bilbo decides to go with them as he wants to help them go back home. Thorin the leader of the dwarfs has his doubts about Bilbo, but he proves to be useful as they encounter trolls who intend to eat them by using his wit. Unbeknownst to Thorin, Gandalf is leading them to Rivendell, a village where elves live. Upon their arrival, Thorin is upset, but is left with no choice but to accept their hospitality. While there Gandalf is seen in a meeting with Saruman the White, Galadriel, and Elrond, he is informed that there is something evil in the making that could lead to a battle. The next day the troop leaves, unbeknownst to them they are being followed by a white orc, a villain who wants revenge on Thorin. At some point, his actions lead Bilbo to be separated from the group in a mountain. There he encounters Gollum, who holds the Ring, where he plays a game of riddle with him. After outwitting Gollum, Bilbo unwittingly takes the ring and rejoins the group. Unaware of its power, Bilbo uses the ring to help win the battle against the white orc. When this is over the first movie ends with the dwarfs making it to the mountain where they hope to enter it, but not without a bird waking up Smaug, the dragon.

Leading in the second movie we are introduced to the dwarfs again who unwittingly head into elf territory. However, these elves are not like the ones in Rivendell, instead they take them captive. A little bit before, Gandalf left the group after receiving a message from Galadriel. While the group is captive we learn that Thandruil, the leader of these elves, is the one who lead the charge to not assist the dwarfs during their plight. We also learn, that he is Legolas’s father, Legolas is an elf who is the leader of the guard who captured them. One of the dwarfs finds love with an elf Tauriel, as this is forbidden they do their best to hide their feelings. Eventually, the dwarfs escape and their journey. They find their way to a town where they take refuge with a family after a battle. Tauriel shows up and takes care of her beloved dwarf. In the meantime, Bilbo manages to make it into the Lonely Mountain where he retrieves the dwarfs treasure, but he wakes up Smaug with him flying towards the village.

Going into the third movie, the dwarfs manage to make their home back in the mountain. However, Thorin is driven mad by power causing him to drive a wedge between him and the others. Unfortunately, his madness leads them into a battle where there is loss on both sides, including Thorin. With Thorin dead, the town that took care of them in order, the dwarfs and Bilbo head off to their home. Bilbo returns home to his family where the movie flashes forward to the beginning of Lord of the Rings.

J.R.R. Tolkien had an amazing imagination. Through out his life he was able to create a whole new world with Middle Earth. On September 2, 1973 J.R.R. Tolkien passed away, but not without inspiring many people through his work.