The story of Lori Cobo’s 30-year career at UNLV’s Performing Arts Center is a romance. A classically trained pianist who started playing at 7, Cobo was raised by parents who took her to the opera and symphony. But she truly fell in love with theater in 1983, the year after graduating from high school. While working as a PAC usher, she stood in the balcony one night listening to the National Symphony Orchestra and was completely transported. Marked by the experience, she tried to study nursing but, after barely a year, switched her major to theater. She worked at Bally’s for a few years after college before making her way back to the PAC. Like that rare couple who gets married right out of high school and stays together till old age, Cobo rose through the center’s ranks from the box office to the executive suite. Now executive director, she’s still moved to tears by a symphony. Just after announcing the PAC’s 46th season, Cobo shared her passion for the job with Desert Companion. An edited excerpt of the conversation follows.