Volunteer Spotlight: Don McDowell

Volunteers are a very important resource to many non-profit organizations, donating their time, energy, and hard work to help an organization meet its mission, goals, and objectives. Here at CAPA, we are beyond fortunate to have a dedicated core of volunteers that help make us possible. We would like to shine the spotlight on our longest-standing volunteer, Don McDowell.

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Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I served in the army for two years in the Korean War, ending up as an occupation force in Europe, 10 miles outside the Alps. After I got out of the army, I worked for Ohio State Bank, but wasn’t totally satisfied with it. So, I branched out and got a job with Columbus Public Schools as a film librarian, distributing films throughout the school system. That worked out very well. For 65 years, I also taught piano and violin at my parents’ music studio part-time to help keep it going. It’s been a lot of fun.

How long have you volunteered with CAPA?
This year will mark 46 years! In 1969, CAPA was formed and saved the Ohio Theatre, and I wanted to help. Since I knew my way around the movie industry, I booked two or three films which were shown at the Ohio in 1970. It grew into the CAPA Summer Movie Series from there, and in 2016, it will celebrate its 46th year too!

Can you describe some of the things you do for us?
I did the movies for seven years, for a while it was just my wife, Debbie and I volunteering as an usher and in concessions – it’s grown since then. After that, I became an usher and still do that to this day.

What is your favorite memory from working with CAPA?
Getting the movie series going. It was no easy task. It’s important to show the older movies to college-age people.

Do you have a favorite show or performance you’ve seen while with us?
A lot of what the CSO does is magnificent. They’ve progressed in recent years where they are a major orchestra now. My favorite Broadway show is Les Misérables. It has very few spoken scenes. Except for the battle scenes, everything is sung. That’s an opera where I come from, but nobody will admit it.

What made you want to start volunteering with CAPA and what have been some of the benefits?
I’m too cheap to buy tickets and found a way around it. If I bought tickets to everything I wanted to see, it’d be too much. I like people in general. I love to banter with the audiences.

What would you tell others to encourage them to volunteer with CAPA as well?
They need to enjoy theatre and people. And throw in music and ballet, for that matter. It’s been a very rewarding experience for me. And you never get tired of it because there’s such a variety coming through all the theatres, not just the Ohio Theatre.

If you would like to join CAPA’s volunteer team and create some great memories of your own, contact Janet Rife at

volunteer@capa.com.

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