• Jen Huber

Ushering in a new life

Love of music leads two volunteers to a future together


The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has more than 1,000 volunteers who work over 32,000 hours each year at 250 events. In a normal year, ushers have the chance to make new friends and get to know each other either at Hilbert Circle Theatre or out at Kroger Symphony on the Prairie. And sometimes, ushers are lucky enough to meet a new best friend, as in the case of Kristen and Dustin Phillips.


Dustin began regularly volunteering in the summer of 2016 after volunteering for a couple concerts with family members at Symphony on the Prairie. Kristen started ushering in September 2018 after 5 months of first hearing about the opportunity to usher. They met in November 2018 when they were assigned to volunteer together on the main doors to take tickets. A friendship grew, and they started dating in May 2019. Just a few months later on December 28, Dustin proposed to Kristen inside the Hilbert Circle Theatre at the same ticket doors where they first met! They married on March 14, 2020, at their church in McCordsville.


Dustin and Kristen frequently work the same shows and used to carpool downtown when they were dating. Kristen’s favorite concerts to work are classical because of her background as an oboist. Dustin’s favorites are the movie nights (especially when popcorn is available after the performance) and the Symphony on the Prairie shows.


As we look forward to the new season, Kristen is looking forward to the ISO playing Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, one of her favorite pieces she played in university orchestra. Dustin is looking forward to the BTHVN2020 festival resuming, with the orchestra performing Beethoven’s last four symphonies. They are both looking forward to volunteering for the first time as husband and wife!

“We would highly encourage you to come out and join our volunteer family,” they both said via email. “Volunteering with the ISO is a great way to support the arts in our city, enjoy high-quality music, and make new friends all in one place. Who knows . . . maybe you’ll meet someone special!” — Dustin and Kristen Phillips

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