From Patron Services Manager Mat Anderson
As I grew up, I was constantly told that something about the way I interact with customers would leave them feeling welcomed, at home and comfortable.
It could be as simple as a smile, or even knowing just what to say if I could tell somebody's day had been particularly rough.
At 5 years old, I started working (well, as much as I could) in the family businesses. I started out at the donut shop, glazing, sprinkling and filling boxes with whatever our customers wanted. I often stood on a step ladder to each the top of counter and make change, or my grandma would lift me up, bag of donuts in-hand, to give to our customer. It was never work - it was fun... something I learned to enjoy. If empathy is genetic, it certainly runs in my family. It's one thing, aside from freckles, that we all share.
By the time I was 18, I managed our summer ice cream shop full time. I often worked alone throughout the day and then switched to more of a management role once more of our employees got there. 10 and 12 hour days happened, though not frequently, enough that it's something I simply got used to. I loved it and it loved me back by enabling me to save up money enough to attend Mercyhurst University.
Fast forward a to the spring of 2015. The Erie Philharmonic box office position was opening up. The Phil was always something I held on a pedestal as a music student in the area. I was sure, 100% positive that I wouldn't have a chance, but I sent my résumé regardless. Now, because you're reading this, you know what happened next... and I still feel so incredibly fortunate to go into my job every day, and not think of it as 'work.'
Sure, like everything, it has its share of challenges, however, the pros greatly outweigh the cons.
I feel fortunate to call my co-workers friends, I feel fortunate to work in the arts at a time when the Phil is skyrocketing in both caliber and capability, but I also feel fortunate to be able to help plan what may be a very important night for a person coming to see our performance.
Just the other day, I spoke on the phone with an older gentleman who was buying tickets to our Casablanca show on February 4, 2017. During the ticket order, he shared that he's taking his wife as a surprise, because their first date was to see Casablanca at the movie theatre. "Both tickets cost me $.50!" He chuckled. I couldn't keep from smiling. That's what makes coming to the Philharmonic every day and running our box office worth it. Knowing that, in some way, I'm helping to create what may be an important or special evening for people. It continues to give me hope. It continues to remind me of the important things in life. So, check out our season and give me a call! I'd be glad to help you get great seats for any of our concerts.
We have something for everybody!