Student expands education through role at university arts center

Doug Osborne-Coy
Brody Brown

Brody Brown, a sophomore Music Education major, earned a promotion to the position of Head House Manager for Rockefeller Arts Center at SUNY Fredonia, an experience which he says will help him reach his career goals.

Learning takes place in many different ways at SUNY Fredonia, and Brody Brown is doing his best to take advantage of this fact.

Brown, a sophomore from Lancaster, NY, is pursuing a Music Education degree with a minor in Arts Administration. His immediate goal is to become a high school chorus teacher.

Brown also has his eye on long-range goals like becoming a music department chairperson and possibly moving into music administration.

As a freshman in the fall of 2022, Brown saw an opportunity to expand his Fredonia experience toward such goals by joining the volunteer usher corps at Rockefeller Arts Center.

“I saw the house manager and ushers working during a large event and figured it would be a great way to get practical experience toward my career,” Brown said. “I got started at Rockefeller Arts Center simply by asking.”

“I saw the house manager and ushers working during a large event and figured it would be a great way to get practical experience toward my career.” - Brody Brown

Jody Falkner was the front-of-house coordinator for Rockefeller Arts Center at the time Brown stepped forward.

“Brody sought me out and wanted to know how he could get a job at Rockefeller,” she said. “While ushering, he quickly learned every role and asked a lot of really good questions. He was like a sponge just soaking it all in.”

By the following semester, Brown had earned a promotion to house manager.

“That’s when I saw him shine even brighter,” Falkner said. “He attended and participated in every usher orientation, assisted with usher recruitment, revised the usher handbook and simplified the house checklists.”

Falkner said Brown’s ability to trouble shoot and solve problems made him stand out as a leader. She recalled an event in which there was a problem with the ticket printer and Brown promptly took charge and resolved the situation.

“He relieved the pressure on the ticket office staff and the show started on time,” she said.

Through his work at Rockefeller Arts Center, Brown has learned the value of good communication skills.

“Communication is a key factor of leadership and in a field where things are constantly changing, concise communication is critical,” he said. “A successful house manager is simply someone who know how to communicate.”

Falkner said she would rate Brown’s performance as a house manager as “A++.”

“Brody is a great communicator,” she said. “He’s articulate, friendly and leads by example.”

Brown was promoted to an even bigger role in the summer of 2023 when he was named Head House Manager after Falkner left to join the United Way of Northern Chautauqua County. He successfully kept Rockefeller’s front-of-house operations running smoothly until Daniel Cherry, the replacement for Falkner, could be hired in January.

“My work at RAC is really preparing me for working with audiences and working in administration,” Brown said.

At the same time, getting involved at Rockefeller Arts Center has enhanced Brown’s overall Fredonia experience.

“I enjoy that I get to work with so many people and that I get to see so many events at RAC,” he said. “Everything I do is fun, as well as being great experience for leadership and administration.”

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