Last Spring I signed up, and completed the extensive training required, to become a “Phoenix Convention Center Arts Ambassador”. Pretty impressive, eh? “But tell us Harper’s Keeper, what does a Phoenix Convention Center Arts Ambassador do?” Well I am glad you asked.
Phoenix Convention Center Arts Ambassadors can volunteer in a number of ways but I was attracted by the opportunity to usher for performing arts events at the venues managed by the City of Phoenix; specifically, Symphony Hall and the historic Orpheum Theatre. I like the Arts. I can ‘ush’. Why not? It affords me opportunities to see entertainments that interest me, though not enough to buy a ticket, as well as to get exposure to entertainments that might broaden my horizons as a culture vulture.
When the schedule came out last week I tried to jump online ASAP. It is important to sign up quickly because the number of Ambassadors needed for any given performance is limited and the spots for popular events are snapped up quickly. For example, I logged in to the volunteer scheduling site within a few hours of the announcement and all the available spaces for next month’s Susan Boyle concert and Diana Krall’s concert in November were already gone.
Ambassadors are asked to volunteer for at least 20 shifts during the season which runs from September through May. Failure to hit the required number can result in an Ambassador being consigned to “Inactive” status which sounds like a cold and lonely place. Only the first half of the season is available for sign-up now so I thought I should find 10-12 events to work in the first half so as to be on target to get my 20.
It isn’t difficult to find interesting events. My tastes are pretty broad so “interesting” doesn’t set the bar all that high. Harper’s Other Dad and I subscribe to the Classics series of our local Symphony so I can volunteer to work at the Symphony’s Pops series events. There are many performances of the local ballet company’s Nutcracker in December. There are a few events what were complete mysteries to me but I can be adventurous in the area of the performing arts.
One event on my schedule for next month was a concert at the Orpehum by Neon Trees. I confess I’d never heard of Neon Trees but, in the spirit of broadening my horizons, I signed up.
My bff, Wikipedia, tells me; “Neon Trees is an American alternative new wave band from Provo, Utah. Known for their energetic live performances, the band received nationwide exposure in late 2008 when they opened several North American tour dates for the band The Killers. Not long after, the band was signed by Mercury Records and released their first album, Habits, in 2010. Their first single “Animal” climbed to No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Alternative Rock chart.”
Sadly, I received an email yesterday telling me the concert had been cancelled. It read:
“Neon Trees regretfully must postpone some dates of their upcoming fall tour due to health issues of bassist Branden Campbell, who recently underwent open-heart surgery for a valve replacement. The intense touring schedule has been exhaustive and doctors have advised Campbell to slow down. ‘We had initially thought we should cancel the entire tour, but Branden wouldn’t let us, thus the new abridged dates can be found on our website (http://www.fameisdead.com/). We are very sorry that we are postponing some of our upcoming dates. Obviously, our bass player’s health must come first, and we thank all of our fans for understanding. We will make it up to you in the near future – we promise.”
I’m sorry I won’t get to see them perform. It would have been fun, not least because I seldom attend events where much of the audience is young enough to be my grandchildren. That said, I hope their bass player recovers quickly and they can resume their full tour schedule. In the meantime, it is an opportunity lost for me.
Now I have to find something on the schedule to replace that shift to reach my target of 10-12 events. At this point it is between “Nick Carter & Jordan Knight” and an additional performance of “The Texas Tenors“. What’s a boy to do?