Fourth auditorium manager in four years hired

New auditorium manager Matt McConnell clowns around with senior tech crew member Findlay Ross.

Mike Gmitro

New auditorium manager Matt McConnell clowns around with senior tech crew member Findlay Ross.

Mike Gmitro, Staff Reporter

Over the summer Riverside-Brookfield High School hired new auditorium manager Matt McConnell. The role of auditorium manager is one that most people are unaware exists, yet it is heavily utilized. Duties include setting up for school presentations, operating equipment like lights, microphone, and projectors, and supervising RB’s student tech crew. The tech crew is a small group of students who work sound and light for every performance show, band concert, or dance show.

Over the past four years there have been four different auditorium managers. Each year the school has hired a new person. The past auditorium managers include Tom Ruznak, James Baum, and Nichole Boyce.  While last year’s auditorium manager, Boyce, lacked experience, former Fine Arts Department Chair Diane Marelli said there are multiple factors looked for in an auditorium manager beyond experience.  Marelli said that the thing most looked for is time, which usually means that the auditorium manager will not be a full-time teacher.  Marelli also said that it is preferrable to hire someone inside the school rather than outside.  In addition to working as an auditorium manager, Boyce also worked during the school day as an Academic Support teacher

Obviously there are some issues working with an auditorium manager with no tech experience. For Tech Crew member Findlay Ross the issue is one of learning. Ross said, “We’d like to learn from our tech director because this is a school and we want to keep learning new stuff, but when we have to teach ourselves, we just make it work.”

McConnell comes from a stronger background in technical theater. He worked alongside the Tech Director at Fairview Middle School and has a healthy understanding of theater from his involvement with it in high school. In addition to being the auditorium manager he also works in the school teaching Academic Support and English Language Learners.

After all this shuffling and inconsistency in the job, McConnell is looking to bring stability.  “[I want to provide] more active involvement and hands on instruction and participation,” he said.

Ross and the rest of the tech crew are pleased with the hiring and McConnell’s eagerness to learn and participate.

Much of the shuffling in personnel can stem from the difficulties of the job. “[Auditorium Manager is a ] time consuming job. There are lots of strange hours and late nights near shows. Plus with a lack of theater experience there can be a pretty steep learning curve,” Ross said.

McConnell believes he is up for the job and ready to be at RB for a long time. In true Tech Crew fashion, he said, “I just want everything to run smoothly.”