Leadership / 08.23.23
How Do You Measure a Year? Kaleb Claypool Remembers His First 5 in the Life of Ticketing Friends
Kaleb Claypool brings a refreshing and dynamic perspective as a relative newcomer to the ticketing industry. And his career in ticketing began with a story much like many others.
He started out as a pharmacy technician in 2010 and continued to hold various roles in the healthcare industry for the next nine years. Then, he fell into ticketing.
“I am not sure many people foresee themselves falling into ticketing,” he says. “I never in a million years saw myself as a ticketing manager … but you just roll with the punches and take the steps that you’re presented with when you’re presented with them.”
And Kaleb is clearly on a roll. He got his feet wet with the Idaho Falls Symphony in 2019, then climbed the ranks from intern to Patron Services Manager and then Development Manager in just three short years.
“I worked for the Idaho Falls Symphony as their office manager, ticket manager, volunteer manager, everything, because that is what happens when you work for a small organization,” he says.
Kaleb’s undergrad senior recital picture. L-R: Logenn Wurtz, Kaleb Claypool, Madison Curtis and Jared Payne.
In his first year, Kaleb also unexpectantly found himself performing on stage with Tony Award-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth.
“It was really an incredible experience,” Kaleb says. “It was for the 100th anniversary of the Colonial Theater in Idaho Falls, the centennial anniversary … It was a choir [and] we were backing her up for three songs of the concert. While were waiting for her to come in, her pianist, Michael Orland, who's also been on American Idol as a vocal coach for years, said, ‘Well, let's just have fun.’ We started singing ‘Seasons of Love’ from ‘Rent.’ We were just singing it, having a good time. There are a few solo parts and I just started singing them with everything I had. Kristin walked in and heard it. She looked at the group and she said, ‘OK, that is going in the concert tonight.’”
Kaleb says, “I got to perform a little solo blurb from that song with her [during the concert]. She swooned as I sang it, and I thought I was going to die. It was incredible.”
Kaleb was part of a hand-selected choir that performed with Kristin Chenoweth and Michael Orland.
In 2021, Kaleb took up a new position as Ticket Office Manager for UtahPresents, a multi-disciplinary presenter at the University of Utah. He says that is his most memorable career moment so far and for good reason.
Kaleb’s first day on the job at Kingsbury Hall with UtahPresents.
“One of my favorite leaders is Keven Myhre, who was the Director of Operations while I was with Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah … Toni Byrd [who was the Assistant Ticket Office Manager] and I got hired at the exact same time to start the box office back up after the pandemic. We had no staff that was coming back. We had no procedures manual, and there was a new ticketing system that was implemented right before the pandemic hit. So, we had to learn a new ticketing system, hire a full staff, and get the box office up and running. We had less than 30 days before our first show that we had to work. It was a lot, but it was fun and I learned a ton in that month. It was a good time.”
Kaleb is pictured with Assistant Box Office Manager Toni Byrd and box office agents on his final day with UtahPresents.
Kaleb says he learned a lot about leadership at the time, primarily from Myhre.
“Keven is one of my favorite leaders,” Kaleb says. “He was good at communications. He was accountable. He had a lot of integrity. He had a lot of emotional intelligence, and he was one of those leaders who was able to see you for you, and you were able to kind of level with him and say, ‘Hey, this is a terrible week for me. I have so much going on in my life right now.’ He would do everything he could to step in to help you out and lighten your workload so you could focus on the life things that needed to be taken care of. Whether that was sending you home for a day or bringing in some extra staff to help you out. He saw you as more than just an employee.”
In the fall of 2022, Kaleb moved into his current job as Presenting Ticketing Manager for MagicSpace Entertainment where, in less than a year, he has managed ticketing for more than 440 events.
“What I love most about my current job is the variety of shows that I get to work on,” Kaleb says. “I get to work on everything from small cabaret shows to large arena concerts and all sorts of venues. I have been in my current role for 10 months now, almost a year, and I have worked in over 30 markets internationally, so it is always fresh. You are always learning a new venue, always meeting new people, always working on a new show. It keeps everything fresh.”
Jinkx Monsoon posing with Kaleb in August 2023.
Kaleb is a new face at INTIX. He attended his first conference this year in Seattle and credits Deirdre Hill Naff, an early mentor who many in the industry affectionately call “DeeDee,” for getting him involved.
“DeeDee is an INTIX extraordinaire. She introduced me to my current boss, which is how I got this role [with MagicSpace]. DeeDee also told my current boss that she needed to make sure I was a member of INTIX. I was able to kind of fall into INTIX that way,” he says. “What keeps me here is the camaraderie and the support.”
Kaleb says, “Stepping into the exhibition hall [for the first time in Seattle], I had no idea there were so many vendors and people that would be attending. It was breathtaking to see all of the incredible vendors and the different systems that they offer.”
So far, the 2023 conference in Seattle is Kaleb’s most memorable INTIX moment. He does, however, rave about many other things the organization has brought to his life. “I have met so many incredible people through INTIX … I am very [early] in my [ticketing] career, and there are a lot of mentors in INTIX. They have all been where I’m at and they can help me make those decisions that need to be made to make sure that I am doing the best job I can for my patrons and my artists … The weekly Wednesday Wisdom calls have become a key part of my week. I really look forward to those and learning and talking with ticketing professionals from all over the world. It really is an honor to be a part of INTIX.”
In addition to DeeDee, Kaleb applauds fellow INTIX member, Debbie Eidson, for helping him.
“Debbie is the Director of Ticketing Systems at the Morrison Center in Boise, and we present a lot of shows in conjunction with them,” he says. “She has been in INTIX for a while and has helped me find my [bearings] and my voice … within the organization. Debbie and I are also working on revamping and relaunching the regional INTIX group here. DeeDee was the original founder who got it up and going.”
Debbie and Kaleb grabbing a bite to eat during INTIX 2023 Seattle.
Even with such a busy work schedule, Kaleb still finds time to volunteer in the arts community where he lives in Millcreek, Utah. He is a member of the board and volunteers as Director of Development for the Millcreek Arts Council. In August, the nonprofit, fully volunteer-run arts council chose to feature the work of board members. Three of Kaleb’s paintings are on display, including one that holds a special place in his heart.
Painting by Kaleb Claypool and Cami Martin.
“It is a painting that I did with Cami, my best friend at the time, who has since passed away. She was such an incredible [person]. She was so, so amazing. We decided to try a new art form together called Reverse Dutch Pour. It is an abstract acrylic method of painting. I did two pieces that went together, and then she helped me with the third piece and we did it together. Since she's passed, that has become my absolutely most treasured possession.”
Kaleb’s last photo with Cami.
In addition to painting, Kaleb enjoys being in the kitchen and taking care of his plants. “I'm a big plant enthusiast,” he says. “I have a lot of indoor plants. My current favorite that I just got this week is a Monstera Albo. It is a beautiful plant. I am a baker as well, and I bake all sorts of stuff.”
The wedding cake that Kaleb made for his brother's wedding. This photo features the two special grooms.
Kaleb also loves spending time with his fiancé, Jonathan Pettersson, and their pets.
“We have been together for about three years now. He has supported me through the roller coaster that life has been over the last three years and a lot has changed. We have moved states. We've moved houses and changed jobs a couple of times. He is always there cheering me on. Then, of course, my dog and my cat. We have a five-year-old cat named Luna. She is an American Shorthair with white feet and a black coat. We also have a four-year-old black Lab named Bubbas. Jonathan brought Luna in and I brought Bubbas in, and we just became a little family.”
Bubbas strikes a pose.
Luna enjoying the outdoors.
Kaleb’s fiancé and family inspire him. “They are the reason I do what I do,” he says. “They are my biggest cheerleaders.” Kaleb also has a very special place in his heart for his grandmother.
“I think the person I most admire would be my grandma, Lucille,” he says. “She is the most incredibly hardworking individual that I know. She grew up on a farm in rural Missouri and just lived that farming life, working full time and then going home and farming. She is so committed and so kind and loving. She's just one of my absolute idols who I try to strive to be like.”
Kaleb, Jonathan and Kaleb's paternal grandmother, Lucille.
When it comes to friends, there are two things that Kaleb values the most.
“I think it is important to show your kindness in all things. There is that classic saying, ‘You can see someone's true character by how they act when they think no one's watching,’ and I think true kindness when someone feels like no one is watching is really admirable ... I also value people who can make me laugh. I have always said that if you can't have fun doing it, it is not worth doing, and humor really helps me through when things are stressful. Friends who can make me laugh and help me take my mind off things when there's a lot going on, that's really one of the things I value the most.”
And Kaleb clearly has a sense of humor himself. When asked what special talent he would most like to have he laughed and asked if being invisible could be considered a talent. He says, “I think it would be fun to be invisible, to be able to hide from grumpy patrons when they come to the ticket office.”
Kaleb admits he doesn’t read much. When he does, it tends to be books about business. But he studied voice as an undergrad and loves music, which he credits for getting him into the business of ticketing. When it comes to music, Kaleb appreciates a variety of artists across many genres.
“One current artist who I am really looking into right now and really enjoying … is Mon Rovia. He is an up-and-coming Afro-Appalachian folk artist. I also can't ever say no to Lizzo or Maddie Zahm or P!nk or Tim McGraw or Sam Smith. There are so many [artists I love], and they are all over the place.”
Tour of the Eccles Theater with IAVM.
When it comes to live events, Kaleb’s favorite of all time was Moulin Rouge at the Eccles Theater in downtown Salt Lake City, a venue that he now also considers his favorite for a very special reason.
“Although I work with hundreds of venues all over the world in my current role, the Eccles Theater is definitely my favorite because that is where I proposed to my fiancé last November 2022.”
Kaleb proposing to Jonathan at the Eccles Theater.
Kaleb and his fiancé Jonathan have not travelled extensively yet. They hope to do more in the future, but for now it’s about family.
“Jonathan's family is here in Utah, so we see them all the time. [So], when we travel, we travel home to Missouri to see my family,” he says. “A place I would love to travel that has been a dream of mine has been a European tour, to do England, France, Italy and Greece. I have never had the opportunity to hop over the pond and visit, so it is definitely on the list. I am a hardcore foodie, so I would love to try all the food everywhere. Obviously seeing all the sights and the historic places would be really neat as well. And some West End shows, of course.”
As Kaleb mentioned earlier, he and Jonathan have already moved a couple of times in the United States. Where would they most like to live? Kaleb’s sense of humor pops up again when he begins to answer that question. “Where the work is,” he says, then laughs before continuing. “I am very open to where we live. I think recently I have been getting an interest in Austria internationally. It is a really beautiful country.” If the couple gets the opportunity in the future, they potentially have their eyes on North Carolina. “We would like to be on the coast,” Kaleb says.
Kaleb and Jonathan’s engagement photo.
If he had three wishes, one of them would be for “a house with land, some animals and a greenhouse because I love plants.” Another would be to have “the time and resources to significantly better the lives of the people around me that I care about and people that I don't know as well.” And, finally, world peace, with “equitable rights and privileges for everyone, no matter who you are.”
L-R: Kaleb and Jonathan smile alongside Jonathan’s mom and siblings as the family celebrates a high school graduation.
After just five years in the ticketing industry, Kaleb stands as a shining example of how embracing change and following one's passions can lead to a journey full of surprising achievements and meaningful connections.
“The ticketing industry is something that you don't really see. The general public does not really see it. Although they buy tickets and they fuss about their seats and things like that, they don't really understand that it is an actual industry and a profession … I studied music not knowing what to do and where to go. I just started studying music and kind of fell into ticketing. I think a lot of people fall into ticketing and we stay here because of how rewarding it is. We get to help people every day, experience new things and witness spectacular and incredible events. It is really incredible.”
Just as incredible, Kaleb, as the wonderful career you are building for yourself.
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Tags: Leadership , Getting To Know You