Apr. 26 | A Day in the Life: Box Office Manager

“Enjoy!” It is greeting and sincere wish offered by our Box Office Manager to every patron coming through our doors.  The acts may change, the seasons may come and go, but some things in the life of the Weinberg Center remain unchanged.  For 14 seasons, Jef Cliber has been welcoming patrons to “the Jewel of Frederick” with that same greeting. Take a peek as Jef offers us a glimpse of his typical Tuesday.

8am: My day begins with a flurry of activity. Lights go on, a walk through the theater is done, and then to the basement I descend. The first order of business is running of the reports. This is a daily process, where I run the report for the previous day.  I then proceed with multi-colored highlighters and tackle every single transaction that took place the day before. Depending upon the volume of business done the day before, this process can be either very lengthy or very short.  An average deposit can take about an hour to process fully.

9am: Reconciliation and recording the deposit. This process involves cross-referencing a lot of numbers. If the numbers match between what my 2 reports say, I can move on to reconciling my credit cards. The volume of the business the day before really matters here, since the credit card totals have to match exactly. If not, it becomes a detective case where I must find the error and solve the issue. Who says accounting isn’t fun?

10am: It is time to open the Box Office for business! By this point in the day, I know exactly what is going on today business-wise. Phone messages have been received, emails have been answered, and it is time to update my staff. I usually try to let them know specifics: “Someone is coming in to pay for a large group sale this afternoon, and here is the reservation number.” That kind of communication goes a long way, preparing everyone so that we are all on the same page.

10:30am: There is always a larger question that needs to be answered in email. Written communication is essential when dealing with financial matters. Today, I need to make sure that a discrepancy between my records and those of my ticketing system are reconciled with the City’s finance department.

11am: The mail has arrived, so it’s time for me to process any payments that we have received for group sales. Upstairs to the Box Office I go!  Today I have several of these payments from our education-based performances, the smARTS Series. I have a lot of invoices to pull up, verify the amount owed in the system corresponds to the payment I am receiving, and then process. Back to the Box Office I go to drop off these payments.

12pm:  Lunchtime is here. I have deposits, mail, and inter-office envelopes to deliver to City Hall, and I am fortunate in that I combine a work function with a visit with my lovely wife! So I walk by my wife’s work and she joins me for the trip.

12:30pm: It’s time to process the financial settlements for any events that happened over the weekend. While I am compiling all of this information into a simple and easy-to-read format, I have to wait for more information to come back to me. While that’s going on, I return a phone call to customer regarding a Will Call question, and then speak with an upcoming renter about their performance to verify I have all the pieces I need to build their show into the ticketing system.

1pm: I have moved on to building new performances into the ticketing system. I have done this for enough years now that I have a mental checklist in my head of the steps I need to take. I finish out the build, review it, review one more time, and then I am ready to activate the performances. I update my sales reports to reflect the added shows.

2pm: It’s now time to process my settlements. Most of the work is already done from earlier, but now I have to add in the appropriate charges. I verify final numbers, and then it will be time to print and mail it. On my way, I double check with the Box Office staff to see if a board member has stopped by to pick up an envelope.

2:30pm: I verify some unpaid invoices for an upcoming show and process some other ticket requests from corporate sponsors and upcoming performances, specifically Artist seats. Artists who perform are generally allowed a certain number of tickets, per their contract.

3:30pm: Finally, I have the time to work on my upcoming month’s schedule for the Box Office. I have 4 employees and I must incorporate their time off requests with our upcoming events. I also take the time to see what other events are happening in our community to see if there is anything else I need to know about. Before 4:30 arrives, I have looked at 7 different calendars. I’m always walking out of my office to ask John, Ashley, or Rebecca questions regarding other events – or to look at their calendars if they aren’t at their desks.

4:30pm: The day is over already? Tuesdays are always busy, even in slower months. I’m off to pick up my wife and head to the grocery store, and then the pet store – my 2 furry boys at home need their favorite food!

See you at the theater!

Apr. 18 | Backstage Sneak Peek: Green Room

You’re settled into your seat here at the Weinberg Center for the Arts. The lights are flashing one final time… the show is about to begin! Finally, the house lights dim, the stage lights come up and – suddenly, as if by magic – the artist you’ve been waiting to see appears on stage.

It may look like magic, but that artist didn’t simply appear out of thin air – they came from the green room!

Most theaters feature a green room, a place where artists can relax while waiting to appear on stage. They are usually equipped with comfy places to sit, mirrors for last-minute costume and makeup checks, and perhaps a few snacks or drinks.

The Weinberg’s green room, like most, isn’t actually painted green. In fact, legend has it that this “holding pen” gets its name from being the final place a performer can relieve their stomach of stage fright before heading onstage.

Our green room is a bit more special than most, thanks to a fun feature many guests aren’t aware even exists. The Weinberg’s green room walls boast a cavalcade of signatures from many of the famous faces that have graced our stage over the years – musicians, comedians, speakers, and more, from Joan Baez to George Takei and beyond.

Can you spot the signature of noted singer/songwriter Rosanne Cash in the shot below?

Just this past fall, audience favorite David Sedaris graced our stage once more… wearing a very special clothing choice, which he memorialized on the green room wall!

There’s plenty more where that came from! You don’t have to be a performer to see our green room up close and personal – you can check it out on a free backstage tour. We hope you’ll visit us and find your favorite signature on the wall… so mark your calendar today!

See you at the theater!


Apr. 11 | Instagram Recap: Going Behind the Scenes with The Quebe Sisters

Have you ever attended a Tivoli Discovery Series performance? These pay-what-you-want events feature emerging artists of varying genres whose names you’ll want to learn before they make it big. Our most recent Tivoli Discovery Series performers, The Quebe Sisters, were no exception! Before they showed us their fiddle prowess, they took over our Instagram to give fans a peek into backstage life. Check out some of our favorite shots that the talented trio shared:

Though it was an early morning, the sisters were all smiles.

The view from our stage looking out is almost as impressive as the view from the audience!

Primping and prepping are all in a day’s work when you’re a performer.

Our friends at Music & Arts visited for a pre-show video shoot. Keep an eye out for a Quebe Sisters interview in the near future!

And last but not least, thanks to the folks at Sass Magazine for snapping this great shot of the performance. We love Frederick, too!

Isn’t the backstage life glamorous? If you missed The Quebe Sisters, you have one more chance to catch a pay-what-you-want Tivoli Discovery Series performance this season. And we’d love to see your Weinberg pics, too! Don’t forget to tag them with #WeinbergCenter so we can see the great memories you’ve shared. See you at the theater!


Apr. 6 | A Day in the Life: Manager of Marketing

Ever wondered what it’s like behind the curtain? Though every day is different, Manager of Marketing Ashley Birdsell Lewis takes us behind the scenes to learn what a typical Wednesday looks like in her shoes. Whether it’s putting new shows on sale, creating an ad, pitching a story to the press, or even just chatting with upcoming artists, there’s never a dull moment when marketing our world-class live events.

8am: I arrive at the WFMD 930 offices for our weekly guest spot on Bob Miller’s morning show. Every Wednesday morning, I get to pretend I’m a local radio personality. It’s always fun to tell listeners about what events are coming up at the Weinberg… plus, some early morning banter with Bob always wakes me up!

8:45am: I arrive at the Weinberg Center and start my morning routine, the highlight of which is of course coffee. I feel so lucky to work in such a beautiful, historic building! Our Box Office Manager Jef always arrives before anyone else, so we chat for a few minutes about how ticket sales are going for this weekend’s shows.

9:15am: After I’m done checking my email, I check our social media channels for any notifications, comments, or messages. It’s great seeing positive feedback on our Facebook page, geo-tagged images from patron’s visits, or even excited 140-character tweets! Generating conversation is a highlight of my job as Manager of Marketing.

9:30am: I delve into today’s big project: research and prepping for next season’s announcement and on-sale! Though we won’t announce our 2017-2018 season until the first week of August, now is the time for me to begin thinking about the campaign launch. I spend the next few hours creating a timeline and to-do list, researching possible brochure sizes and designs, and gathering assets (photos, videos, and bios) for next season’s artists. The brochure will need to go to print a full three weeks before it’s due to hit mailboxes, so this impacts my timeline significantly. Planning for the new season is one of my favorite parts of my job, as I get to combine both creative and strategic lines of thinking… plus, I always enjoy working on something fresh and new.

12:30pm: Lunchtime! If I haven’t packed something, I’ll generally head to Crabapple’s for a sandwich or Rex’s for a salad. Usually I’m joined by our Manager of Development, Rebecca. It’s always nice to get out of the office and stroll through downtown Frederick, especially now that spring has decided to make an appearance.

1pm: It’s time to head to our monthly Frederick Speaker Series meeting, where we’ll discuss this year’s record-breaking season, and potential speakers for 2018. We always strive to present a balanced lineup, with speakers covering a wide range of interests and timely topics. It seems early to be talking about next season, but speakers’ schedules often book up months in advance! I jot down some notes about how we can best relay the Speaker Series announcement into our Weinberg season announcement.

3pm: I arrive back at the office and catch up on any emails I missed while I was at the meeting. I have a reply from the Quebe Sisters’ agent, who’s helping me arrange a pre-show video shoot with Music and Arts, as well as a day-of Instagram takeover. That means we’ll give them the password to our account and have them post on behalf of the Weinberg before, during, and after their performance. I always enjoy finding new and interesting ways to give audiences a behind-the-scenes scoop.

4pm: Rebecca and I take our daily tea break! It’s quick stop at Voila to grab my favorite – Chocolate Strawberry iced tea. We’re here so often that Mary Jean, Alex, and their whole team know our names.

4:30pm: Our digital advertising representative calls me to discuss the metrics from our most recent campaign. We’ve recently expanded this segment of our marketing plan to great success, and it’s so gratifying to hear about our efforts working as promised! I like to think of marketing as connecting the right audience member with the right show, rather than forcing a hard sell. Our rep agrees, and we make a few notes to better optimize the next digital campaign.

5pm: Tonight’s artist is sound-checking on stage, so I wrap up what I’m doing at my desk and head upstairs for a few minutes to watch. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of live music. After getting permission from their manager, I take a few photos and videos to post on our social media channels and blog. And with that, I head home for some gym time, dinner, Netflix, and crocheting before doing the whole thing again tomorrow!

See you at the theater!