Its national volunteer week and dedicated volunteers power The Reif. From ushers to leadership, performances wouldn’t happen without help of volunteers. Community members share their talents and time on stage, off stage and beyond the stage. Although volunteers will say that service is their satisfaction, it is never out of place to express thanks and appreciation.

Carol Morrill, a welcoming face at the theater.

More than 50 shows entertain at The Reif from around the country, but that is only part of the buzz within its walls. School and community performances, business and social meetings, an art gallery and more require many hands to maintain.

“The Reif desperately counts on volunteers to show our best face to the community,” said David Marty Reif President. ”They are a wonderful asset.”

Ushers are an integral force in Reif first impressions. When patrons come for a show, their first interaction is likely with a volunteer usher. More than 40 local community members give their time and energy making guests feel welcome and keeping shows running on time. Most of the volunteers share their time with other organizations in the community as well.

“Think of how many amenities and services volunteers provide,” said busy community volunteer and Reif usher Carol Morrill. “My biggest deterrent is time. There’s never enough time to avail myself of all the wonderful opportunities available in the Grand Rapids area.”

Specialty skills are another area of volunteer opportunity at The Reif. Self-taught photographer Jenni Mariano is responsible for all the great photos used in promotions of Reif Dance and Grand Rapids Players productions.

“Besides the reward of giving back,” said Mariano. “Volunteering is great because it is somewhat flexible. I can vary the level of my commitment based on the needs of my family. I really love performance photography and am always looking forward to the next opportunity to shoot a show, but sometimes I have other priorities and that is okay. Volunteering has also given me the opportunity to try new things, develop new skills, and hone the ones I already had.”

Gaston and the girls; Mariano photo of Beauty and the Beast show

Another area of volunteering is helping with promotions. Grand Rapids resident David Hayes makes monthly runs throughout the community for The Reif and others, placing posters and information packets. He and his wife Susan are also ushers.

“My wife, Susan, really takes the lead in volunteering,” Hayes said. “We have been surprised that our volunteer activities fill our lives so completely, requiring us to almost schedule our recreation!”
The Reif salutes the selflessness of so many members of the community who make the Northern Experience great for locals and visitor alike.

According to the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteerism, Points of Light, founded by President George H. Bush in 1989, 20 million hours of volunteer time is given each year valued at $482 million.

“All communities have jobs left undone,” said Hayes. “Because they can’t afford to hire for all the work that needs to be accomplished. I believe, observing community members volunteering communicates an infectious pride.”

The Reif is currently looking for volunteers interested in helping with promotions, those specialized in videography and graphic design as well as office management help and ushers. Call 218-327-5780 or contact online at