“The Saints” Reviewed - So you want to be a Saint?

Imagine being a Saint in your lifetime.  It’s possible.  Really, it is!  Here’s how I became a Saint.


When I joined “The Saints” organization, I was recognized as a Saint. The Saints organization has been around since 1980.  Primarily, they are a performing arts volunteer usher organization.  However, the saints do other activities, which include box office assistance, database entry, answering phones and monitoring auditions.  Some saints also volunteer for driving and/or housing out-of-town actors, directors, or musicians while others volunteer time at invitational benefits around town.  You can already see the FUN of being a modern-day saint!

In 1980, The Saints began as the volunteer arm of the Saint Nicholas Theatre.  When the Saint Nicolas Theatre went out of business, all dozen Saints members (at that time) sought out another theatre within which to work.  Finally, these Saints selected the Organic Theater Company as the place to contribute their time and energy.  Business, eventually, boomed at the Organic.  So, as it became more financially secure; there was less need for volunteer services.  The Organic began encouraging Saint members to volunteer for other performing arts organizations.  Thus, in time, the Saints became an independent organization.  The Saints say on their website that they are to the “best of our knowledge, the first and only organized volunteer support group with hundreds of members serving the diverse performing arts community of a major city and its suburbs.”


Here’s how it works.  When a not-for-profit Chicago land performing arts organization needs help, the saints are there to accommodate them in whatever manner possible.  And while their most visible presence is in the theater community as volunteer ushers, they do much more.  They are present at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) and many other musical locations in Chicago and in the suburbs.

music


So, by now, you are asking as I did, why DO I want to volunteer my time to serve this organization?  This is what attracted me.  In exchange for ushering or other saintly activity, I get to see (maybe, a Broadway play, in town) or hear (if the event is a concert at the CSO or other musical venue) a performance without cost.  You also get to meet some very nice people, and I have!  People, who join, like me, are interested in the performing arts.  By joining, I believe, I am able to ensure that the highest quality productions possible come and stay in town.  After all, volunteer time equates to money shifted from personnel expenses to the payment of better quality productions.  These are all reasons why I joined the Saints.

opera


Need more?  Well, here’s more! At some events, you can bring young children with you, relatives or not.  This year, I brought an eleven year old, Ofek, in from Israel, to see the Cirque Shanghai at Navy Pier while I ushered; he helped, too. We had a grand time together and saw an amazing, world-renown circus!  He saw the Chinese circus for his first time, and I saw it for my second time.  The first time, for me, being last fall in Shanghai when I was traveling through China with a group of friends.  The show was thrilling to us both!  Especially, for me, as some of the show remained the same and other parts were new and changed from what I saw before! When I investigated joining the Saints, I understood that usher volunteers could sometimes bring young guests.  I was excited about the prospect of bringing young people with me, exposing them to something special that I hope will be an enduring pleasure for them.  As they grow up having been exposed to these cultural events, I hope to kindle within them an interest in becoming theater and concert attendees and supporters.  For me, this, too, was a huge perk of serving as a Saint!

What a show


Now, I ask you, what better way to go to the CSO, the circus or the latest, biggest talked about theatrical event of the year in exchange for a little work? That’s what I thought, “what a great idea!”  And, I have more to add.  I recently saw two plays at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago, a Broadway play, “Light in the Piazza” and “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.”  In the former, I ushered and sat in the handicapped accessible area; in the latter, I ushered on the fourth floor but sat in a box seat.  These being my first Saint experiences, as I am a new member, I was thrilled to have such fine seating!  As a Saint, you can choose your seat within certain parameters.


Are you ready to join yet?  Okay!  I was, too, after learning about them. You can join by filling out and mailing in your application from the Saints website.  Visit www.saintschicago.org for more information and the on-line application. 

The membership year is from June 1 each year to May 31 the following year and is $65, a cost easily recovered by one or two events.  Minimum age for joining is age 16.  Call 773-529-5510 to request an application and the membership requirements to be mailed to you.  Or go to the website at: [email protected] download application forms and membership requirements.

I hope to see you soon at a Saint event!  What I want to know from you now is, isn’t this the best way to become a Saint?

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