Meet Cathy Anderson, AFCM’s box office manager. Most likely, you’ve met Cathy. She replies to your emails, returns your calls, and greets you at the entrance to every concert. She has been helping AFCM patrons for 14 years.
Q: What does the typical season look like for you?
Cathy Anderson: It’s cyclical. It starts when we send out the season brochure in the spring, and I renew seats for our regular ticket holders. If I haven’t heard from someone, I get in touch. I mail out tickets to subscribers around Labor Day. I eld calls for orders, greet audience members at the theater, and find everyone the perfect seat. Our patrons are good about turning in unused tickets so I can reassign them the day of the concert. I work with the Board on our ticket sales. I also do light bookkeeping and handle donations.
Q: Where are the best seats?
CA: In Leo Rich, they’re all great. Center-Center is the most desirable and claimed by most of our loyal subscribers. When there’s a piano, the left side.
Q: What goes into your work at a concert?
CA: Other than handling all ticket activities, I lay out materials, greet our ushers, answer questions about upcoming concerts, and sell CDs. Afterwards, I pack up everything since Leo Rich is not our permanent office.
Q: What’s the best part of the job? The most challenging?
CA: Best parts are the patrons and working with the Board. Because of them, it doesn’t feel like work. The challenge is continually trying to find each ticket buyer the perfect seat.
Q: Have you had unusual experiences as Box Office Manager?
CA: Sometimes curious people walk in off the street and have no idea what chamber music is, so it’s always intriguing to discuss it with them. Once, I locked myself out of the box office and had to become a contortionist to get my keys.
Q: What’s your background in chamber music?
CA: I came to the job with no knowledge of chamber music, but it opened the door to chamber music for me. I’ve come to appreciate the personal experience and intimate setting and am able to convey the beauty of chamber music to potential audience members.
Q: What’s changed during your tenure?
CA: Several things, all good. The demographics of our audience have shifted. There are younger people, particularly students, coming to concerts now. Our Board has raised the bar on our marketing and outreach. We sell fewer subscriptions and more individual tickets as patrons select exactly which concerts they’d like to attend. We used to have a waiting list, and people would think we were a closed society. I like having single tickets available to get more of the community in the door.
Q: What’s new these days?
CA: The newest thing is something I really enjoyed, our Summertime Evenings series. The concerts were casual, without an intermission, and there was wine and hors d’oeuvres beforehand. We had a great response, and the feedback I received was how much patrons enjoyed that sort of experience.