Theater ushers raising curtain on a new life

April 14, 2005|by PEPPER BALLARD

HAGERSTOWN - For the past nine years, Jeanne Doney-Gladhill has ushered people down the aisles of the Maryland Theatre.

On Saturday, she'll walk herself down one of those aisles in a wedding gown.

Doney-Gladhill is marrying another volunteer theater usher, Tom Thivierge, whom she's been dating for about six years. The couple has a house together in Funkstown.

"It's the only way I'll ever be on stage," Doney-Gladhill said with a laugh.

Doney-Gladhill, who works as an office supervisor at the Washington County Health Department, and Thivierge, who works as a heating, ventilation and air conditioning technician and volunteers with the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co., typically work together at shows.

Thivierge likes country and western shows and enjoyed seeing George Carlin recently. Doney-Gladhill said she prefers musicals and classical music performances.


"Jeanne and I spend so much time here. We love the theater," Thivierge said.

The two were having trouble picking a venue for their wedding when Thivierge thought the theater director might allow them to marry there.

Pat Wolford, executive director of the theater, said a wedding was held at the theater about 10 years ago, but it isn't a common occurrence, mainly because it is an expensive facility to rent.

But in this case, Wolford said, "The crews that would normally have to be paid are all volunteering to put on the wedding."

"It's kind of like an extended family wedding," she said.

Thivierge said the couple hoped to marry at the theater on April 23, but it was booked, so they decided on an afternoon wedding April 16.

They each have been married before. Thivierge has a 16-year-old son, Scott, who lives in England.

Doney-Gladhill said she began volunteering at the theater first. When they began dating, Thivierge came to shows to visit her.

"I just wanted to see more of her," he said. "I ended up buying a lot of tickets."

He later decided to volunteer as an usher when Doney-Gladhill said she could find him a spot.

Doney-Gladhill began volunteering at the theater because she enjoyed going to concerts there.

"I was looking for things to do and I had a friend who ushered," she said.

"I like the feel of the theater ... It's nice to get all dressed up," she said. "There's always a lot going on there. I like the arts and the connection it brings to the community."

The two were engaged "years before," Thivierge said, and during Thanksgiving dinner at the Poconos in Pennsylvania last year they decided they had to set a date.

The wedding will be small - about 100 people were invited - and Doney-Gladhill said she has made most of the decorations for the reception herself. Their reception will be at the Potomac Fish & Game Club.

Her niece, Andi Bordick, will sing Etta James' "At Last" following the nuptials, she said.

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