Volunteers: Heart and Soul of the Festival

Volunteers have ensured the enduring success of the organization…[continue reading]

Ojai Music Festiva volunteers

Since the Ojai Music Festival’s founding in 1947, volunteers have ensured the enduring success of the organization, from our renowned four-day Festival and our acclaimed BRAVO music education program.

Ojai Music Festiva volunteers

Volunteer opportunities range from ushering, administrative office work, concessions to housing Festival artists and production team. The Festival is fortunate to have a large community of volunteers.

Besides receiving benefits to volunteer that include lawn tickets, a festival commemorative t-shirt and invitations to events, volunteers get to enjoy the camaraderie of working together and meeting interesting music enthusiasts like Jodine Hammerand!

JODINE HAMMERAND: A Return to Ojai and the Music Festival!

What brought you to Ojai? 
My family was living in Los Angeles when my parents took my siblings and I to Ojai for the week of Spring Break. We all fell in love with Ojai and our family moved here in 1972.

L-R: Wendy Gray and Jodine Hammerand at the Festival’s volunteer event in March, 2024

When did you start your involvement in the Music Festival? 
I started at Nordhoff High School as a freshman. It was probably my junior year when I started volunteering for the Ojai Music Festival as an usher. I will never forget watching a run-through with the LA Philharmonic that was being conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas!

When did you make your way back to Ojai?
After retiring from Alaska Airlines, I ultimately chose to move back to Ojai right at the height of the pandemic. I was interested in volunteering again and finally was able to usher for the 2022 Ojai Music Festival, then again in 2023. It felt like a happy reunion!

What is a recent fond memory of the Festival?
I am a lover of all music genres, especially the Blues. I really enjoyed Rhiannon Giddens being the music director in 2023 with her banjo playing. She also introduced the pipa and the  kora, two great instruments rooted deep in history. ‘The roots of the present are deep in the past’ my high school history teacher used to always say! I attended the performance of Ghost Opera and enjoyed listening to the pipa with all the instruments. I ushered at the performance of Omar’s Journey and heard the kora played by Seckou Keita. I arrived before the concert as ushers do to prepare the Libbey Bowl. I was walking down the center aisle of seats when I saw Seckou practicing on stage. When he was finished, he looked my way, and I gave him a thumbs up indicating how beautiful he played. He smiled his big smile and that made me very happy, and I will never forget it. 

I look forward to volunteering for the Ojai Music Festival. It is a joy every year, no matter the style of music. In addition, I enjoy every year when the staff and volunteers gather together before the Festival, to listen to Ara Guzelimian with his knowledge of the musicians. He is an asset as artistic and executive director.