1. As I write this Katherine Cochrane is sorting music in the costume and music room. I hear a little humming but other than that, there is no fanfare, no, “hey look at me”. But then Katherine also was the head catering volunteer for the artists for 16 years, she helped clean out the original old Barn (when we thought we might use it for the concerts) and the list goes on. Katherine is a volunteer at Westben not to be recognized for what she does, but because she believes in Westben, she is part of the family, a family of 250 Westben volunteers. 2. Not all of the volunteers help at The Barn, some help at the Clock Tower or on the road to the other venues. Ken Alton loads his red van with risers for the choir Christmas concerts, Claire Dunk counts groceries tapes at home to submit for donations from Sharpe’s Market, Leona McGee and Judy Knopp Brown fold membership flyers, and some volunteers like Judy Pearce are busy sewing costumes for coordinator Joan Filip. Joan works tirelessly on costumes and is the music librarian. 3. One might think, how do you organize and recruit 250 volunteers? Meet Marilyn Keene. After 20 years Marilyn is still the volunteer coordinator and the leader of the team. If you happen to meet her on the street, I’ll give you two minutes and before you know it, you too are a new Westben Volunteer! Volunteering is a wonderful way to meet people or make new friendships. Marilyn’s sunny personality and tenacity is amazing. She coordinates the volunteers who help out at The Barn in parking, or as ushers, ticket takers, golf cart drivers, bus greeters, concession stand and gift shop minders, back stage, lighting, set up, box office assistants, day of caterer, first aid helpers, and day of coordinators. It takes 15 to 20 volunteers per concert at Westben. 4. Westben has been working on creating a volunteer buddy system so Marilyn’s buddy is Sandy Robertson who has been the co-volunteer coordinator for the past several years (but has been a Westben volunteer for 20 years). Sandy is always positive, creative, fasting thinking, warm, (an amazing house renovator) and willing to help and lead. On those Dare to Pair mornings, it was Sandy out there putting on table cloths, the handpicked flowers in vases etc. 5. Sandy has expanded the buddy system to a team now of volunteer coordinators including Laurie Beaubien, Barb Cooper, Nancy Garrod, Suzan Johnson and Colleen Lang. What a team! With Westben’s expanded programming including the Dare to Pairs, Chocolate Voices and Secret Concert Experiences, and double concert days, the buddy system has become even more important. The bounce in the Westben volunteer’s step is JOY and having fun while coming together through music 6. When you drive onto the Westben grounds the first person you may meet is Doug Keene. He leans in the window, welcomes you and I’m sure makes a friendly joke or two. However, what you may not know is that he is assessing if you can walk from the parking lot or if you need the accessible lot! Doug takes care of the whole Westben grounds, the laneway, the grass, the trees, the pond, the fence and the positioning of new buildings. Doug mows the parking lot and meadow for hours every year from Spring to Fall. Ever wonder how that little patches of daisies manage to still be there in the middle of the grass? That’s what Doug calls pockets of JOY. 7. Every Fall we receive letters from patrons commenting on the friendliness of the volunteers. The ticket takers, the box office volunteers and the golf cart driver Lance are the welcoming crew and greet with sunny smiles. 8. A stop at the Concession Stand for a cold drink, ice cream or sandwich will introduce you to Doris Meier and Linda Nokes who have been there bright and early to set up, get ready so your pre-ordered picnic basket is ready to go when you arrive. 9. Brian and I used to tour across the country performing concerts and selling CDs and the volunteers rarely balanced the sales. But not Anne Vogan, Westben’s Gift Shop volunteer. She is always accurate. Anne’s care of the shop is truly amazing and she is at almost every concert. 10. Anne’s husband Ron was lighting volunteer for many years and spent hours upon hours in The Barn setting up and moving lights. He is truly missed. His buddy Gord Reid took over when Ron passed and Gord too is a man of many talents. Gord not only ran the lights, but he designed the lighting, upgraded the system, set up the lights every spring and put things away in the Fall. Gord was on the Board, on the property committee, helped out in so many ways. He is also a writer, a welder, avid cyclist ….. Gord was actually one of the team on the front lawn back in 1998 who dreamed about what Westben might become. Catherine Warrener is now Gord’s buddy, when she’s not busy coordinating hospitality for the artists. 11. Before the concert, stop at the Bar and meet the dedicated Bar Team led by Michael Tumpane and Karen MacGinnis. You just might find Jim Connor on the cash, (if he isn’t out delivering Westben brochures and posters). What you may not know, is that Michael all winter long is on the lookout for excellent wine on sale so he can sell a delicious glass of wine at The Barn for a reasonable price. Karen makes sure all bar volunteers have smart serve and runs the scheduling for the concerts. She also has a fun annual bar team party at her historic farm house. 12. Just outside The Barn doors are two beautiful gardens. Joanna Primavesi is one of several volunteer gardeners who faithfully turn a patch of grass into a lovely little garden for all of us to enjoy, another pocket of JOY. 13. Westben has a partnership with the Peterborough Brain Injury Association and their clients make wooden items for Westben to auction as a fundraiser. Local visual artists donate their time and talent and paint the items turning them into works of art to be auctioned off at the concerts. 14. Back Stage Nancy Garrod, Heather Davis, Barb Hobart are preparing the “tent” for the artists and are at the ready for whatever unexpected needs arise. 15. At the farmhouse one of the catering team such as Sharon Abernethy is serving a delicious homemade lunch to the artist of the day. 16. Ushers are showing people to their seats, welcoming back familiar faces and making new patrons feel welcome. 17. Jane Lisson, Denise Papple and Norah Watson are at the ready should first aid be needed. Did you ever wonder where those frozen cloths on the hot days came from? The first aid team with the coordinator are on it! 18. Westben has 25 events this summer and over 200 artists performing. Diane Menzies, billeting coordinator is already hard at work arranging for homes for the artists. She has developed a great team of billetors who make our visiting artists feel welcome. 19. Several upgrades have been made to The Barn recently including the cement floor repairs, the doors resized, the large ceiling Fan, and the new Milk Shed Bar. What you may not know is that you could hear volunteer Jim Turner and his team laughing all the way up the hill as they worked away resizing those huge barn doors and finishing the Milk Shed. As you know The Barn was built in April 2000, what you may not know is that the driving force in getting it built by July 1, along with Brian, was volunteer Rob Harley. Rob too was one of the original group dreaming on the front lawn. 20. Westben is a charitable organization and over the 20 years, every Board of Directors has had dedicated, hardworking volunteer members who have been generous with their talents and expertise. Current chair Leslie Orpana continues to lead the team planning for a long future ahead for Westben. Past Board Chairs have included Rob Harley, Phil Monner, Cindy McEwan, Paul Rapsey, Ron Sargent, Erin O’Sullivan, Doug Keene, Judy Kaufmann, Lionel Bennett, Debra Richardson-Edge, Mike Nitsch, John Bennett, Alison Lester, Neil Graham, Martin Edge. If you would like to become a volunteer contact us at the Box Office. Naming some and not all volunteers is a risky step but not to name anyone, felt empty. All the Westben volunteers have heart, are generous and I hope, know they are truly part of the team, valued and loved.