Before we get into the second episode of the Aeolian Podcast, I would like to thank everyone who listened and gave feedback to the first episode. It’s really important to me that we shine a spotlight on volunteerism in our London community. I also wanted to quickly mention the Save Our Stage Concert Series, which is happening every Wednesday in August to raise money. For important repairs to our stage, we are holding concerts at the Dave Southen Lounge in the Aeolian. These shows include names like Sarina Haggarty, Bryan Gloyd and Clark Bryan, as well as Sarah Smith, who already has her show sold out! Find tickets at our website at aeolianhall.ca/events, by phone at 519-672-7950 or in our box office at 795 Dundas St!
The following is a transcript of our interview! If you want to listen to the audio version of it, follow these links to Soundcloud or YouTube!
Liam: Hello everybody! I would just like to introduce this podcast by introducing our lovely employee here, Wendy Perry! How are you doing, Wendy?
Wendy: I’m great, how are you, Liam?
L: I’m pretty great. She’s just coming off a Michael Bublé concert, how was that?!
W: It was insane, it was amazing, it was so much fun. He is a showman, for sure. Still thinking it right at this moment. Just remembering all the songs he sang, and he got such a great reception from everyone, and everybody was cheering and screaming and crying, and all of it!
L: Totally. So, Wendy has been working here for, how long now, like eight months?
W: I started working here as an employee in early December of 2018. But I started volunteering in the box office last summer!
L: So Wendy is our most- I don’t want to say, cherished volunteer- don’t want to send the wrong message, but she is basically in charge of all the volunteers now, so she’s kind of worked her way up, and now she is- what is your official title?
W: I believe my title is Box Office Coordinator/volunteer coordinator.
L: So I have seen Wendy manage shows, just organizing everybody. Where else have you worked? You have told me you worked at TD.
W: Where haven’t I worked? I started off when I was a teenager in the hospitality industry in London, England, then in Toronto and came back to London in 1990, unbelievably. I basically started doing office work. I went from hospitality to working in offices and worked in many different places. Ended up working in a design company here in London, Geelan Design(???), is a place that a lot of people might know of, worked there for a while. Ended up at Canada Trust, which eventually became TD Canada Trust, and that ended at the end of January in 2012, so that’s unbelievable that it’s been that long since that job ended. After that it’s just been various jobs here, there and everywhere until I ended up here, thankfully at the [Aeolian] Hall.
L: So how long were you in each place, in terms of England and Toronto?
W: In England- when I finished high school I went to England and I was there for six months in 1981, and I was there for the royal wedding of Charles and Diana. I wasn’t there– not there-there. But I did see it on TV, live as it was happening. The pub that I worked at, later on in the afternoon had a garden barbeque and disco, and so that was great fun. It was quite a day, as you can imagine. It was incredible. Came back to London, worked at Simpson’s- in the restaurant, downtown. Right down at the corner of Dundas and Richmond, before it became Market Tower, before McDonalds, before the other offices that ended up in that tower.
L: So a very busy area, to say the least?
W: Very busy, yeah, it was wonderful. Then I went to Toronto for school.
L: So I guess- I kind of mentioned earlier that you have transitioned from a volunteer role to a part-time role. How would you say over time your experience with other volunteers has shifted or preogressed?
W: Well, the volunteers here are amazing and it’s because of one particular volunteer that I am actually here today, and I will always owe her a debt of thanks. I met her at London Life- we were both working there and I used to walk past her desk, she had all these Aeolian posters on her cubicle wall, and I was so curious but she never seemed to be there when I wanted to ask her about it. One day, Cindy was finally at her desk, and I asked her about it, and the rest is history, as they say. So from there, just meeting everybody and getting to know everybody- there has been a lot of new volunteers who are a fantastic group of people. So, honestly, it’s just a great group and I can’t say enough good things about them.
L: Do you remember the first concert you volunteered for?
W: The first event I was here for, was for the London Lesbian Film Festival, that was two years ago and they were here at the Hall for the whole weekend. They were here Friday, Saturday and Sunday and because I didn’t really know what I thought I would like to do, I just showed up and watched what everybody was doing, just to get a feel for the place, and watch everybody in action. I can’t even remember the next one after that, there has been so many. But I basically volunteered for “merchandise” [role] a lot, the “greeter” role a lot. Just found that I liked being up there and getting to interact with the patrons before and after the show, and talk to them about it. It was a lot of fun. I found my way to the box office last summer when [Aeolian General Manager] Matt put out a call for people to help during the day, and little did I know that I would fall in love with the job here in the box office. So it’s great.
L: Me and Wendy are actually sharing box office duties today.
W: Yes, you are my super assistant!
L: It’s true. Well thank you for this interview, I don’t think I have anything else to talk about, but I appreciate it, Wendy!
W: It’s been fun! I have never been interviewed before, so maybe this is the first of many!
Thank you all for reading the podcast/interview! Next week, we are having on a long-tenured volunteer and I’m very excited for our conversation! See you next time!