live announcing in a theatre makes it a performance

Peter K. O'Connell Live Announcer

Getting up on a stage was never something I strove towards.

I really much prefer being in the back of the house in a closed off space or room with a microphone, which is pretty much the set-up for most of the live announcing I have ever done.

But this past Veteran’s week, in my live announcing duties for the area American Legion Band, there I was, coming through the curtain of a tightly packed stage (full of talented musicians, mind you) in a very handsome theatre to guide the hundreds in the audience through a night of memorable, emotive songs.

Of course, I’ve done more of my share of MCing (emceeing, being an MC or emcee – grammar rules and spelling always fail me on this word) and that’s basically what this gig is for this enormously talented band. But of the majority of those many other emceeing events I’ve done over 30+ years, the events have historically been held at a hotel banquet room or similarly bland location.

When you’re on a stage, in a fully functioning theatre with a marquee outside and inside you see a proscenium arch, giant stage curtains, lighting grids, dressing rooms, spot lights – the whole shooting match – it’s a bit more real. For me it feels less like “emcee” or “live announcer” and more like “stage performer” – something I NEVER wanted to be.

Except I was. The spotlight squarely on me. Oy! I should have polished my shoes or something.

Thank goodness there’s a script for me to read on stage because memorization, in my finest hour, was never a strong suit and today at my age, it just ain’t happening.

I made it through, my part went fine and everyone said they were very happy with my ‘performance’.

That’s kind, but I would have been just as happy if I’d simply been called a fine “live announcer”, left in a backstage room with a reading light and a live mic. The stage is not the place for me.

But hey, it’s all good. I must remember that it’s just nice to be invited. And above all, I AM appreciative.

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