Trish Tremayne still vividly recalls the thrill of attending her first opera in Los Angeles, at age 6. She sat in the balcony with her uncle and was mesmerizedby the music, the costumes and the scenery.
"My parents werenot wealthyat all," the longtimeRipon resident said. "We could not afford to do anything like that."
Tremayne has been a fan of the arts ever since and now works as a customer service representative for the Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto. One of a dozen staff members in the box office, she works about 20 hours a week taking ticket orders and answering customer questions. The new venue is set to open in September.
Tremayne,whoformerly owned a photo processing lab inManteca, came out of retirement to work for the center in February. After spending about five years caring for ailing family members, she was ready to take on a new challenge.
"We talk to interesting people every day,"Tremaynesaid. "We'relearning a lot about thedifferent (performing arts) companies."
So far, she and her colleagues have sold just season subscriptions for local arts groups. They are expected to begin selling season subscriptions to touring productions and artists within a couple of weeks.
Each of the groups attracts a different type of customer, Tre-mayne observed.
Some patrons tend to be older and have a lot of questions about accessibility issues, she said. Some wonder if they can bring in wheelchairs or oxygen tanks (the answer is yes).
Longtime subscribers who have attended Modesto Symphony Orchestra's programs at Modesto Junior College and area high schools are looking forward to the move into the state-of-the-artvenue.
"Probably 99 percent of the people are very excited the Gallocenter is opening," Tremayne said. "They know it's going to be just a beautiful venue."
Young girls are interested in the Central West Ballet. One 12-year-old called not to find out about tickets but to ask how to audition for "The Nutcracker." Tremayne was able to get the details from a box office co-worker who also is a company member.
One of the things Tremayne loves best about her job is getting to know her talented young co-workers. One hopes to pursue a career in fashion design, an-other is a musician, and a third is an engineering student.
She also likes working downtown, where she can walk to thelibrary, McClatchy Park, the McHenry Museum and neigh-boring restaurants on her break. She is impressed with downtown's dramatic transformation over the past 10 years from a quiet district with little activity to a thriving city center.
"The Gallo center is going to be the crown jewel of this," she said.