April 18, 2022

Backstage at the Egyptian with Brandon Pugh on Volunteer Appreciation Week

ERIN: How did you get started working at the Egyptian Theatre?

BRANDON: I got my start at the Egyptian Theatre as a DeKalb County Nonprofit Partnership Intern in the fall of 2015 and was able to stay on as an intern again in the spring of 2016. My role within the internship focused on marketing upcoming events. I was able to spearhead this same blog, Backstage at the Egyptian Theatre! I am so thankful for my time at the Egyptian thus far in my career. The people I have been fortunate to interact with and the experiences I have under my belt have laid the foundation for my future successes. 

 

E: What are some once-in-a-lifetime experiences that you would not have gotten elsewhere?

B: The first that comes to mind is the time spent with “The Manhattan Transfer” – this is a jazz acapella group that has been touring for decades. In high school, I was in a jazz choir that sang a number of their songs. When I found out they were coming to the Egyptian, I was ECSTATIC! To meet the people who sparked a love of jazz was that once-in-a-lifetime experience. After meeting the group initially, I was in charge of getting them all back to the hotel so not only was I able to meet them all, I personally drove them all to their hotel for the night! It was then that I was able to snap a picture with all of us together. I have that photo framed at home and love thinking back on the time spent. 

E: How can people get involved at the Egyptian Theatre?

B: As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, we are a small, but mighty staff with nearly 100 volunteers that help us bring live entertainment to the DeKalb community! Volunteering at the Egyptian Theatre first and foremost helps us welcome 40,000+ patrons to the community each year and helps us fulfill our mission of ‘sharing and protecting the historical integrity of the theatre as a regional arts center for entertainment and community involvement.’ By getting involved as a volunteer, you also get connected with the community. As a gathering place within DeKalb, we often times see familiar faces, which is a great way to stay connected. We are always looking for volunteers to help us fulfill our mission; the more volunteers we have, the more events we can present. The more events we bring in, the more staff we can onboard. It really is full circle in that aspect!

 

E: Do you have any advice for any first time volunteers?

B: Have fun! I strive to offer a fun and welcoming environment to volunteers, all while keeping the safety of patrons top of mind. As a volunteer, you are donating your time to help keep the Egyptian Theatre alive and even help the organization to grow. Don’t be intimidated. Marvel at the impact this organization has within the community. The Egyptian Theatre is a gem within the region and because of your unwavering support, we are able to continue doing so time and time again. 

 

E: How is the Egyptian Theatre going to celebrate National Volunteer Week this year?

B: We will kick off Volunteer Appreciation Week as a Guest DJ on 94.9WDKB on Monday, April 18 at 8AM. The opportunity arose to be on the radio and what better way to show our appreciation than shouting it out live on the air! I plan to have some special surprises for volunteers at the theatre throughout the week as well. We will also be showcasing volunteer’s via social media! Stay tuned for more! I can’t give away all of our surprises! 

 

E: What are some upcoming shows that you are looking forward to?

B: Call me crazy, but I am very much looking forward to the nearly dozen dance studios that will be here May through July. Why? Well, the exposure that comes with it, of course. Throughout COVID, studios that would usually rent with high schools or colleges had no place to go so turned to us as we were really one of the only venues open that was still accepting rentals. We figured that these studios would go back to their normal routine as we have slowly come out of COVID, but it seems as though we made a good impression on them because every studio that rented with us last summer is coming back this year!