From left to right: Veteran of the Year Sandra Dickerson, Rookie of the Year Sharon Ginn and Volunteer of the Year Nancy Frazier. Photos by Andrew Luminello.

On Wednesday, June 29, the South Orange Performing Arts Center honored its 50-person team of volunteers with a tropical-themed party and awards ceremony.

“You’re the people who make SOPAC run,” said Alicia Whavers, Director of Audience Services. “I’m humbled by the work that you do.”

The SOPAC volunteer program offers a variety of opportunities, including assisting the front-of-house team or helping with administrative responsibilities. To learn more about SOPAC’s volunteer program, visit

“Volunteers are the face of the organization,” added Matt Luminello, Audience Services Manager. “We’re so lucky to have a caring, dedicated and loyal volunteer base.”

At the ceremony, volunteers were presented with awards in several categories including Life Savers, Above and Beyond, Shining Star, 5+ Years and more.

“This is one of my favorite days of the year,” said SOPAC Board member Paul Bartick, “because we get to show gratitude to the people who make SOPAC what it is.”

The Veteran of the Year award went to Sandra Dickerson. “Volunteering has been one of the highlights of my retirement,” said Dickerson. “As much as you appreciate me, I appreciate you.”

Rookie of the Year was presented to Sharon Ginn. “I’m trying to hold my tears,” said Ginn upon winning her award. “What I love about volunteering is giving back to the community and being with an organization that provides quality care.”

Nancy Frazier, who volunteered 169 hours during the 2021-2022 season, was named Volunteer of the Year. “I love SOPAC, I love the staff, I love the people, I love being here—I love volunteering. I’m honored.”

In February, Luminello launched a volunteer of the month initiative. Each month he recognizes a standout SOPAC volunteer. That honor was bestowed on the following recipients: Nancy Frazier (February), Sandra Dickerson (March), Sharon Ginn (April), Tara Hobbs (May) and Linda Forsyth (June).

“Most of our patrons don’t understand how many volunteers we have,” said SOPAC Board Chair Douglas Newman. “It’s the superpower of SOPAC. You should be proud because what you’re doing is very special.”