The #HumansAtSCO series – a special project which documents the stories of the people of Singapore Chinese Orchestra (SCO). We tell honest and inspiring stories of administration staff and unsung heroes working in the arts industry. We hope to bring out the very best in every story we tell, discover stories untold and positively impact the community.
Text: Sabrina Tan & Lim Ka Min
Behind every successful SCO concert is a team of unsung heroes working tirelessly behind the scenes.
Meet Darien Tock, one of SCO’s Usher In-Charge who has worked for many years passionately. His commitment to ensure that all patrons enjoy a good concert experience is unwavering. Hear his story and find out more about an Usher’s role.
Today, our Usher IC Darien answers 5 questions and share some insights about his role.
Question: For how many years, have you been working as an Usher with SCO?
Answer: Since 2015, about 7 years.
Question: Do you have any musical background? Why did you choose to work as an usher with SCO?
Answer: No, I do not have musical background. However, I love music, especially traditional Chinese Music. Since I grew up with Singapore Conference Hall, I chose to work as an usher IC as I would like to contribute to the arts. I chose to work here and deliver duties to the best of my ability. I get utmost satisfaction when I help people, respond to their needs, make a positive difference and give people a positive experience.
(Usher IC Darien doing house checks meticulously.)
Being a sociable person, I enjoy interacting with people. I also find the busyness of ushering in customer service appealing. Having spoken to friends and colleagues who are working in customer service, they agree that I have the personality and resilience to excel in ushering.
Question: Is working as an usher part of your interest? Do you like to meet new people?
Answer: Yes, it is part of my interest. Some usher duties include: welcoming audience members to the venue upon entrance, assist them with finding the precise location of their seats according to their ticket, using a scanning device or other handheld tool to ensure the ticket presented is an authentic credential for the specific performance scheduled, resolving any conflicts as needed, aiding patrons who have disabilities or other special needs in finding an appropriate seat or section for them to enjoy the show comfortably etc.
I like to meet new people, interact with patrons and show care for them. I strive to make their concert experience a good one. Each moment at work is different and that excites me. The best highlight in my usher duty is to be authentic. If believe that if you are truly excited about something, your enthusiasm will shine through. After all, you can’t fake passion.
Question: What brings a smile to your face, while working as an usher?
A smile is the universal sign of happiness. I believe it is the ultimate connection between all humankind. No matter how big or small, if a smile is genuine, it creates an ineffable feeling in the atmosphere. This is especially so when patrons are trying to find their way to the concert hall and you step forward and bring them to their seat. Then, for example: you share with them the concert programme, and the old and new Singapore Concert Hall.
I believe that the power of a smile can make the saddest of circumstances a little better. The power of a smile can enrich the happiest experiences in life. I believe that the power of a smile can transcend all barriers between individuals and create special moments in life.
“What brings a smile to my face? Seeing you.”
(Usher IC Darien thanking patrons after the show ended.)
Question: Describe the most memorable incident which you had experienced thus far.
I received a letter of recommendation from a patron. And she wrote: "I would like to highlight the professionalism and service quality from Darien, who was attentive and caring towards us. He assisted my mum, who was in a wheelchair, noticed her discomfort during the concert and brought her warm water and wet towel which helped her feel so much better. He was vigilant in carrying out his duties, yet never failing to anticipate our needs, whether by shining a light or offering my child a booster seat when he saw her getting restless. It made her beam with joy as she could see better. My mother and I are so impressed and thankful to Darien. We have been to many shows and concerts but have experienced nothing like this before.”
(Usher IC Darien sharing experiences with the new Ushers.)
Question: What are some of the challenges you faced as an usher?
Answer: Managing people can be challenging. This is especially so when the concert is about to begin and patrons are afraid to miss the show. They might get impatient. I will try my best to remain calm while speaking to them and also calm them down. I will explain and assure them that they can go into the hall at the next possible pause.
We had a hard time trying to get patrons to wear their mask properly and stay seated on their designated seats, during the Covid period.
I remembered vividly during one of the evening shows, a patron had his mask below his nose. One of the ushers approached him and informed him to put on the mask properly, but he refused. It was only after few warnings, I then approached him and rationalised with him.
I explained to him that not putting on his mask properly may result in the spread of disease and chances of other patrons lodging complaints. However, he still refused. I had to issue him a final warning, and that would mean that a security officer has to escort him out from the concert hall, which is very embarrassing. After that last warning, he put on his mask, in accordance with the MOH guidelines.
(Usher IC Darien checking the seating plan for invited guests.)
Excited to learn more about the role as an Usher IC? Here’s the link to this episode of #HumansAtSCO.
Do you have any questions to ask Darien? Drop us a message on our Facebook or Instagram account.
Thank you for your kind attention, stay tuned to the next episode of #HumansAtSCO. 😊