Each of the four volunteers share a number of positive experiences throughout their time at bergenPAC (and John Harms previously) and each has been instrumental in the changes they have helped create in the transformation of the theater over the years. Eleanor Horchler has been with bergenPAC for 37 years and uses her previous experience as a librarian in her daily tasks at the performing arts center. Enthusiastic about the work she does and the work that bergenPAC does for the community, she explains, “I feel I am part of something vital and I feel a great sense of loyalty and dedication to the theater.” This sense of importance, paired with the enjoyable atmosphere, is what has inspired her to continue her work at bergenPAC for nearly four decades.
Similarly, Linda Gould and Sue DePalma have also been working at the theater for over thirty years. They discuss the changes that they have experienced throughout the development of the organization and the way in which their work was integral to those changes. DePalma outlined those changes and the importance of her work at bergenPAC, claiming, “I’ve seen many changes over the years including the name change from John Harms to bergenPAC, new administration, upgrades to the facility, the art gallery, new volunteers, etc. and there are more changes to come.”
Gould agrees, discussing not only the changes at the facility but in addition, her inspiration for joining the bergenPAC team and the positive impact that not only she had on the performing arts center but also that the center has had on her. She explained, “Since I have always been an active volunteer for many organizations (Adler Aphasia Center, HUMC, CERT first responder etc.), I decided that becoming a volunteer at the former John Harms Center, and now bergenPAC, would be an ideal match for me. Over the years volunteering at the bergenPAC has become one of my favorite places to be.”
Similarly, Melinda Bonner, another volunteer at bergenPAC for over thirty years, explains her appreciation for a community center that she has been able to devote her time to. She said, “I've been with bergen PAC for the last 30+ years because I have always loved the theater. I love giving back to the community. Also, I love meeting new people that come to the theatre. I'm very joyous volunteering at bergen PAC.”
Jessica Thom, bergenPAC Director of Volunteers heaps praise on the volunteers. “All of our volunteers are truly dedicated to the theater,” she said. “As a non-profit, we rely on their help. They are major contributors to the success of the theater. We could not thrive without our volunteers and we are very appreciative of their hard work and efforts. We especially thank these four who have spent all these years supporting us.”
The volunteers always boast of an incredible experience in their respective positions as volunteers at bergenPAC. They express their gratitude for the performing arts center and demonstrate how bergenPAC has displayed their appreciation for the work done by the volunteers. This relationship between bergenPAC and its volunteers has been an incredibly rewarding and enjoyable experience for both bergenPAC and each and every volunteer, demonstrating how vital people like Eleanor Horchler, Linda Gould, Sue DePalma, and Melinda Bonner have been to helping the operation thrive.
Founded in 2003, the 1,367-seat Bergen Performing Arts Center, or bergenPAC, is the area’s cultural mecca. Housed in a historic Art Deco-style theater boasting one of the finest acoustic halls in the United States, bergenPAC attracts a stellar roster of world-class entertainment. The jewel in our crown is The Performing Arts School at bergenPAC – the innovative, educational performing arts initiative that, through programs, classes, outreach, school shows, and main theater presented shows, reach more than 30,000 students and community youth annually. The Performing Arts School provides community youth, age 2 months to 21 years, with unique, “hands-on” training in music, dance and theater by industry professionals. It is through the ongoing generosity of sponsors, donors, members, and patrons that the not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) corporation bergenPAC and The Performing Arts School are able to thrive and enrich our community.