Member Spotlight: Elmer Downs, Jr.
SHN Member Elmer Downs, Jr. has been a collector of Broadway musical albums since the 1990s, well before he even saw his first show. Find out more about this SFO air traffic controller from San Jose, below.
How many years have you been an SHN Member?
This will be my third.
What are your top five favorite Broadway shows?
#4. Into the Woods (the traditional version)
#5. The Book of Mormon
Which character in a musical or play do you most identify with and why?
I feel like Seymour from Little Shop of Horrors is a character a lot of un-extraordinary people can identify with. We all have a talent or two, we all have people who love us enough that they would probably give their life for us, we all have redeeming qualities; we just need to learn to see these things before we take a few wrong turns trying to find what we already have.
What does theater and/or Broadway mean to you?
Broadway musicals have been a huge part of my life for a long time. My first CD was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in the early 90s. I memorized every word and then confessed to my sister, who gave me the album, that I was sad because I was getting tired of hearing the same songs over and over, though I loved them. Rolling her eyes, she said, “You know there are a lot of other musicals too, right?” And I started collecting albums and learning lyrics long before I saw my first show. I was hooked.
What is one thing that someone would be surprised to know about you?
Just like the color of my lanyard when I’m working, I match my underwear and my socks to my outfit every day.
What accomplishment are you most proud of (personally or professionally)?
I’m always very proud to tell people that I’m an air traffic controller at San Francisco International. It doesn’t pay what a tech job would pay, but it’s exciting, and I feel incredibly lucky for the opportunity to be a public servant in this way, and I’ve worked very hard to get where I am.
To learn more about SHN Membership or to become a member, please visit shnsf.com.