You’ve probably spotted them at the Konzerthaus, asked one a question before a concert or been led by one on a tour of the house: Our volunteers – the charming ladies and gentlemen with the purple scarves. We talked to two women who have been with us since the very beginning.
Gisela Wiebe and Ingelore Zaumseil
Ms Zaumseil and Ms Wiebe were enthusiastic right away when they heard about the introduction of our volunteer programme. It all began as a nationwide pilot project in the cultural sector based on the American model – in Germany, voluntary work is mainly associated with the fields of sport or social work. But unlike in sports clubs, our volunteers do not replace full-time positions. Instead, they bring “that little bit extra” to visitors. They take on a wide variety of tasks, enabling us to give our visitors a range of services that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to provide.
They welcome concertgoers, provide information about the concert hall and the programme and are happy to answer any questions. At “EinBlick frei” tours, they welcome guests in the vestibule and guide them through the digital exhibition. Among other things, they explain how our VR glasses and tablets work. They also offer a glimpse behind the scenes when guiding visitors through the concert hall on free tours nearly every day. The “Children’s Classical Gala”, a special event that takes place during the Advent season for kids from socially disadvantaged backgrounds, would not be possible without our volunteers. The Audience Orchestra is also actively supported by volunteers during rehearsals and performances.
Ms Zaumseil and Ms Wiebe are also involved in educational rehearsal visits. They travel to Berlin schools and prepare pupils for their visit to a dress rehearsal of the Konzerthausorchester. In total, they have already completed nearly 80 school visits and supervised over 100 dress rehearsals! Ms Wiebe is always pleased when kids recognise in a concert what they have learned in school beforehand. Especially when the children’s eyes light up:
“When I arrive at the Konzerthaus, I can experience the amazement, admiration and excitement of the children, most of whom are in a concert hall for the first time. That is always a wonderful experience!”
They have also learned some new things themselves over the past 15 years – and not only about music, composers and our concert hall. But also about how to package all this knowledge in a way that is suitable for children and how to tell exciting stories.
Through their work, our volunteers naturally also have a very special connection to the house. They know the programme, the orchestra and the conductors, but also the minor and major stories about our historic building. This makes them wonderful ambassadors of the Konzerthaus, who give their all, are motivated and bring in great ideas. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank them all!
Finally, we wanted to know why it’s important to take part in voluntary work. Ms Zaumseil has a very succinct answer:
The volunteer programme was founded by Gabriele Bühler as a nationwide pilot project with the Institute for Culture and Media Management at the Hamburg University of Music and Theatre. She is involved in the Förderverein Zukunft Konzerthaus e.V. and first came into contact with the concept of volunteering in the USA in 2001. Together with our colleague Mattias Richter, she currently coordinates about 50 volunteers. If you would like to know more about our volunteer programme, you can find comprehensive information here: