Every organization, regardless of what services they offer, has one important thing in common: a group of dedicated volunteers that help to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Sudbury Performance Group (SPG), an organization that brings theatre, music and comedy events to Sudbury is no different, and their volunteers are instrumental to the success of every event they host.
SPG president Mark Mannisto, said their volunteers drive all that they do. And while they may not get all the accolades they should, they truly are the backbone of SPG, especially considering how much it takes to organize an event from start to finish.
“They are the heart of what keeps Sudbury Performance Group going,” Mannisto said, “if it weren’t for our volunteers, we couldn’t survive.”
Mannisto said their volunteers do everything from helping with marketing and fundraising to set-building and performing, and there’s something for everyone and every skill set.
Volunteering offers a sense of community and camaraderie
SPG volunteers Chanda Grylls-Mahaffy and Kristin Hall said that volunteering gives them much more than what they give. Namely, a sense of community, camaraderie and an extended family to rely on.
“It’s so great to work with so many responsible and capable volunteers, they’re like family,” Grylls-Mahaffy said. “Everybody is so willing to embrace you and bring you into that world.”
Hall said, it also brings a sense of personal fulfillment. “You don’t even feel like you are volunteering, it’s almost a selfish act because you get so much out of it, too,” she said. “It’s just so much love that comes back to you, it’s just amazing.”
Grylls-Mahaffy became an SPG volunteer in January 2020, when her daughters, Mae and Kalem, both had parts in a musical production. She said not only was it the perfect way to connect with her kids, but the group was so welcoming and a great team to work with.
“I jumped in as a volunteer stage mom because I was so happy that they were both involved with such a great group,” she said, adding that everyone is not only multi-talented, but work together to give 110 per cent to everything they do.
Having an autoimmune illness, Grylls-Mahaffy returned to volunteering last month for the musical production, ‘All Together Now.’ Happy to be back, she also had to remain cautious so she volunteered to be the COVID policy advisor and front of house manager to ensure audience and member safety.
“It was amazing to see the cast pull together and become a family again, and they all did so well just with their COVID awareness and reintegrating and including me and Mae in that family again,” she said.
Kristin Hall also recently returned to volunteering as a performer after a 20-year hiatus from the stage. Having been in musicals in her teens, in her 20’s she got sick with an autoimmune disease and had to put singing on the backburner.
Over time, her voice healed and singing became part of her daily life once again when she became a mom to her now six-year-old daughter, Sophie.
“I would always sing around the house and my daughter would sing with me and I told her you know, mommy used to do musical theatre and she said, ‘mommy why don’t you do it anymore?’ and I thought, you know what, good question,” Hill said.
This was the catalyst to her return to singing in ‘All Together Now,’ which was ideal for Hill because they sang primarily as an ensemble.
“It was about singing with the group and doing harmonies and the dynamics, it was really beautiful,” she said, and the best part is Sophie loved to see her mom perform in the show.
Volunteering is ideal for those new to Sudbury and SPG welcomes everyone
Mannisto said they’ve had several newcomers to Sudbury recently, and volunteering is an ideal way to meet new people and become involved in their new community. He said SPG welcomes everyone who wants to volunteer and there is no prior experience needed.