Member Spotlight: Lesa Borninski

This month, we’re spotlighting volunteer and member, Lesa Borninski. James Paone, our Front of House General Manager, caught up with her to talk about the School Days Series (SDS) and the importance of volunteering in the community.  

How did you become involved with the Music Hall? 

As a family, we quickly learned of The Music Hall when we moved here in 1988 but it wasn’t until our oldest was in 4th grade that I found the real treasure. Looking for non-sport related activities to do with him, the School Days Series was a perfect fit. After bringing him and a small group of friends to a show on Thomas Edison, I became hooked but also knew I couldn’t keep taking him out of school for shows. I became a volunteer in 1998.

What is your favorite part about SDS?
It is hard to have a favorite part of SDS as the hour-long show seems like one continuous piece but the Q&A and walk to the buses are fun. The students are usually bursting with opinions and comments. That is a tribute to the teachers preparing them and The Music Hall staff selecting the ideal programs.

SDS has evolved over the years but what remains the same is each performance awakens a sense of wonder, feeds the imagination, and encourages thoughtful conversation. I firmly believe field trips to a venue like The Music Hall are immensely beneficial for students at all ages as it enhances and expands their world; it can show them that learning happens in all kind of places, not just a school room. And when they run into a friend or a teacher from another school, it reinforces that we are all part of the same town, city community. Those are experiences that last forever and can shape a lifetime of decisions.

Why is being a part of The Music Hall important to you?
My family and I have gotten so much out of the Music Hall that it was a natural progression. As a family, we have volunteered for large events like Warren Miller and select movies when volunteer sign-ups were low. Our sons have been able to bring friends to help share the load and then also enjoy the show. It takes a community to be a community and that is what The Music Hall has been to us. How lucky is Portsmouth that a team of people had a vision for The Music Hall and brought it to reality? I was a volunteer during the renovation and restoration, and the energy and commitment to it were tangible. The Music Hall is an amazing gift to our Seacoast community and my hope is that more and more folks have the chance to experience an event and treasure the venue as I do.

The programming at The Music Hall is at the root of its success. Certainly, the big name shows and film events are well known and bring in the crowds. I tend to enjoy more of the smaller events. The lesser known or distributed movies, the National Theatre London treats, the author talks (wow!), and smaller acoustic music opportunities are amazing and plentiful. There are the Fill the Hall food drive and additional outreach programs that exist to give back to the community. And what a great tactic to lead the charge in compostable concession options; that speaks volumes about being a community partner. Who knows, maybe there will a high school level program to bring Shakespeare to our students in the future!

The real superstars are the very talented and tireless staff who make all this happen. Their dedication to the big picture and the smallest details have made all this possible and I thank them.

What might you say to entice someone to join The Music Hall?
People volunteer for different reasons. For me, this was just an extension of something I found fun. Growing up my family always pitched in where needed. It wasn’t a thing to volunteer or community service duty, it was simply more interesting to be busy and helping than waiting and sitting around. The volunteers at The Music Hall are like that. Everyone wants to be helpful and pleasant. We may have certain positions or roles at times yet sometimes you see something that needs to done and you all pitch in and help. We are a diverse group of age, background, and work experience which keeps the time interesting. The staff is always approachable and extremely appreciative of the volunteers. What’s there not to like?