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End of an era: Vosburgh resigns from Memorial Auditorium

After 18 and a half years, Margaret Vosburgh is ending her stay as manager of Worthington’s Memorial Auditorium. “It’s been a fantastic journey so far,” she said. (Veasey Conway/Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON — It was June 1995.

Margaret Hurlbut Vosburgh recently completed her master’s in arts administration and business management when a pair of persistent Worthington residents convinced her to become the manager at Memorial Auditorium.

Now, 18 and a half years later, Vosburgh has resigned, effective Dec. 31.

“It’s been a fantastic journey so far,” she said. “It’s like coming to the edge of something and you learn how to fly. I think it’s just time.”

Things have changed since Vosburgh first started.

“It started as a place where the gymnastics team was still in the building when I first came here,” she said. “It was not necessarily just a performing arts center. You start to see a vision and I think that build up comes with working with advisory boards, different boards of directors, and you begin to talk to the community to see what people have on their minds and what kind of visions they have.”

Throughout her tenure, Vosburgh has overseen many projects, including a $1.93 million renovation that added a new lobby. The addition gave the auditorium a new look, Vosburgh said.

“Things just build on each other. The auditorium sits in a great position right now,” she said. “When people walk into the door who have never been here before, they are truly amazed. I’ve had people say to me, ‘This is like being in Minneapolis.’

“The acts we have on the stage, all the way from the Vienna Choir Boys coming from around the world to our local entertainers; there are none finer than the local folks who are on the stage,” she continued. “Corn of the Cob is a great example. That was actually my first show that I worked on.”

In fact, the project is one of the memories of the job she will take with her to her next endeavor.

“It’s tough to name any one particular thing. I think seeing my son on the stage for the first time in a Prairie Fire Children’s Theater production is a memory I’ll never forget,” she said. “There are just so many of them. I think my very first Corn off the Cob show, I can never forget that show. I think coming in and turning the lights on after the renovation. I still go out into the lobby every once in a while and just sit there and realize how spectacular it really is.”

More than just the building, it’s the people Vosburgh will remember.

“I think when you are in a job this long, you learn not to ever take for granted the people that are around you,” she said. “It has been spectacular with the artists that have been on the stage, the management companies I’ve worked with, the boards of directors, Friends of the Auditorium, my colleagues.”

Vosburgh is also thankful for those who have patronized the auditorium.

“It’s kind of bittersweet,” she said. “I’m certainly grateful for everyone who has come in this building or people who have sat in my office. There’s one woman, for instance — I think she has been at every concert or every show here for as long as I can remember. Those are the people who stick in your mind. I’ll always be grateful to her for all of her support.

“That’s kind of the job it is. You go each day and you do what needs to get done and then there are all those people who will say to you, ‘Nice job.’ That’s what it’s all about, really.”

As the city looks for someone to replace Vosburgh, there is more to the job than just scheduling events.

“It’s a real human experience to be in this job,” she said. “You’re doing everything from checking sink faucets to mopping the stage to preparing for the artists that are coming and for the local shows. It’s been an education in relationships. There are so many people here I will never forget and hopefully never lose contact with.”

The city of Worthington has also appreciated her work.

“She has brought a great deal of passion for the job,” Worthington Mayor Alan Oberloh said. “I can’t say anything but good things about the work she has done, especially in light of the fact that we’ve increased the square footage of it and made it available with air conditioning and other things so it can be used as a year-round facility.

“I’m disappointed to see that she resigned from her position, and I would have hoped she would have continued in the job,” Oberloh added. “I don’t know what her reasons were for leaving, but I think this community is going to sorely miss her in that position.”

Vosburgh now plans to spend more time exploring her other passions.

“I’m going to spend a little more time with my yoga practice,” she said. “I’ve been teaching yoga for three and a half years. I would like to teach a few more classes. With working at the Auditorium, I’m sort of constrained with my time there.

“I’d like to get back to creating some more artwork again,” Vosburgh continued. “I haven’t done that for a while. Although, I have to say that being the manager here is creating art every day.”