Lynne Kirchdoerffer has been part of the Asbury Park music community for nearly 40 years but is not someone you’ve seen perform.
Kirchdoerffer is the founder and coordinator of the Asbury Ushers, a group of volunteers who donate their time and share their knowledge of the city to help visitors enjoy their time here.
Kirchdoerffer is being honored for her work with the Asbury Ushers with the Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce 2019 “President’s Choice Carousel Award.” The award will be presented at the Chamber’s Gala Awards Banquet on Fri., May 10 at Convention Hall.
It all started back in 2006 when Asbury Park’s renaissance was starting to gain steam and Live Nation was coming on board to sell tickets to shows at the Stone Pony and Paramount Theater. Kirchdoerffer said they needed someone to organize people to help out. She started with 10 people, mainly her friends, and that lasted about two years. As more volunteers came forward, the Asbury Ushers grew to 97 active ushers today.
“It’s about 50-50 men and women,” Kirchdoerffer said, “from all walks of life and mostly long time residents.”
One key criteria for an Asbury Usher is knowledge of the city and to be ready to answer questions about places and getting around as each week brings people visiting Asbury Park for the first time.
Kirchdoerffer said the Asbury Ushers are not an official organization, and not connected to the either the city or the Chamber of Commerce, and the members are not paid, although they occasionally do receive a stipend for their services.
Wearing their “uniform” of black pants and white shirts and badge, the Asbury Ushers are considered the “staff” at the Paramount Theater. They were present at some 70 events for Madison Marquette and Convention Hall last year. They also volunteer at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade as pacers and organizing at the start of the parade. Their biggest challenge was counting the zombies at the 2013 Zombie Walk to be listed in the Guinness Book of Wold Records.
Kirchdoerffer is a lifelong Monmouth County resident and as a child spent a lot of time in Asbury Park and later became active in the movement to save the Stone Pony from the wrecking ball. Over the years she’s amassed a large collection of Bruce Springsteen and other Asbury Park music memorabilia which she hopes to one day donate to the archives at Monmouth University. She said she owes special thanks to City Councilwoman Eileen Chapman, manager of the Springsteen Archives, and Stone Pony Manager Caroline O’Toole for assisting in the development of the Asbury Ushers.
Kirchdoerffer has been employed for 40 years at Monmouth Medical Center as a Medical Lab Scientist. She also has a degree in accounting and works as a tax accountant. She will receive the Carousel Award on Friday, May 10 at Asbury Park’s Historic Convention Hall. Tickets for the Awards Gala are $160, Black Tie optional.
Tickets and sponsorship information are available on line at www.CarouselAwards.com or by phone at 732-775-7676.