Become a Docent

Docents are volunteers who believe in the benefits of lifelong learning and commit time to studying aspects of classical music, Millennium Park, and the Festival. Learn more about the Docent experience and how to apply below.


During the summer, docents welcome visitors at open rehearsals and present short talks during rehearsal breaks, relaying interesting facts and stories from their studies. To prepare for the season, docents have access to exclusive learning opportunities between January and June. Opportunities are also available to assist with audition registration, special event check-in, membership acquisition, and/or general office work. The program is currently comprised of about 15 dedicated volunteers.

The Three Areas of Study

  • The history of the Grant Park Music Festival
  • The art of classical music
  • The unique nature of Millennium Park

Docent Expectations

  • To present at least five public presentations each summer
  • To attend about five pre-season meetings/outings in January-May
  • To spend about five hours of personal time researching and creating each presentation
  • To help welcome and assist patrons at the Welcome Tent during select open rehearsals

Training Program

Docents attend a series of exclusive pre-season learning opportunities featuring guest speakers, small group discussions, and practice presentations.

Requirements to Apply

Prospective docents must go through an application and interview process to join the program. Requirements include:

  • Desire to learn about the three areas of study
  • Excellent communication, public speaking, and customer service skills
  • Ability and willingness to speak in front of a large crowd with or without the assistance of an audio system
  • Ability to work with others as a team
  • Ability to work outdoors and possibly in inclement weather and to stand for at least twenty minutes
  • Must be at least 18 years of age

To Apply

To participate in 2018, please submit the following materials by Friday, November 10.

  • Cover letter mentioning why you want to become a docent
  • A brief writing sample (on a topic of your choice) that demonstrates your research abilities
  • A 7-minute presentation outline based on your writing sample

Considered applicants will be asked to present a sample 7-minute presentation.

Please send or email materials to:

Grant Park Orchestral Association
Joseph Fernicola, Patron Services Manager
205 East Randolph Street
Chicago, Illinois 60601
Joseph.Fernicola@gpmf.org