March 2017 Volunteer Spotlight: Kathleen (Kathy) Bell

Let’s start off by having you tell us a little bit about yourself:

I worked as an admin at MedImmune for 3 years. After that I worked as a website developer and proofreader at Hughes Network Systems for 16 years before retiring in June 2016. Now I work a few pleasant hours a week doing data entry for an acupuncturist and physical therapist in Gaithersburg.

How many hours do you volunteer per week? How long have you been volunteering?

Now that I have retired, I have lots more time to volunteer at BlackRock! So far this season I have logged almost 40 hours. Amie (Volunteer Coordinator) asked if I’d like to use those hours to buy a ticket so I could sit down and enjoy a concert, but if I did that, I’d miss ushering and chatting with people. Besides, sitting is over-rated, and running around keeps me young. Since I’m a shy person, I love the constant friendly interaction with adults and kids.

Why did you want to volunteer at BlackRock?

Before the building opened but while they had concerts on the lawn, I won 17 pairs of tickets to various shows. I was hooked and could not wait to volunteer. I get to speak to people of all ages when I usher and I share their excitement when they arrive at a show and even more when they leave. It’s my goal to help everyone have a good time and get them into the right seats.

Which exhibit or performance has stuck with you the most?

I especially love the shows for kids such as Fancy Nancy and The Velveteen Rabbit. And family events such as Chinese New Year and Halloween are such a blast – the parents seem to have as much fun as the kids and I have more fun than anyone.

One of my favorite performers is Brian Ganz, a classical pianist from St. Mary’s County who specializes in Chopin and wants to eventually play all of Chopin’s works. He tells stories about the pieces he’s about to play which makes them even more interesting.

The concert to help the victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti was amazing. All of the performers donated their talent and time; it was beautiful. But there are so many wonderful events I’ve attended that I can’t really say which is my favorite.

What has been your favorite moment as a volunteer so far?

There was a tiny girl entering the theater for a children’s show. She was all dressed up – so cute and so excited! I said, “Have a good time!”, and then when she came out, I asked her if she had enjoyed the show. She was so starry-eyed she could not speak but she threw her arms around my knees and hugged me. Of course I had tears in my eyes – what a wonderful moment!

What does volunteering at BlackRock mean to you?

It’s a huge part of my life now. I love giving back to the community and perhaps helping introduce art and music into someone’s life. My family is very musical and artistic and that means a lot to me. To see a BlackRock violin student listen in awe to a professional violinist means so much to me. I’m lucky to have found BlackRock – it’s really important in my life and it’s a privilege to volunteer there.Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin

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