When you’re on the other side of the stage

Every year still, the good folks who put on the Syracuse Area Music Awards ask me to join the ranks of their celebrity presenters.

It’s an honor in my neck of the woods that started at the first one back in 1993, when I covered music for the big daily.

It continued past the layoff three years ago. In fact, in 2013,
Frank Malfitano even decided to give me one of the shiny black trophies, a good one taken out only every now and again, his own Founder’s Award. That allowed me to really get the butterflies when stepping up to the podium. At least another journalist who’d also earned the trophy that year after leaving the top editor’s spot at the Syracuse New Times, Molly English-Bowers, shared the glare with me.

In any case, as I discovered again Friday night, I never get over that little rush while following the instructions given to us (minor) celebs before we jump up the several steps and turn toward the masses.

Want to know what it looks like while collecting at the side of the stage to await the proper time slot for the chosen award category?

House lights off.

House lights off.

Well, the house lights can be off at certain times. Calm, even, against the wall with my co-presenters Julie Briggs and Buke Babikian as we hovered several feet back for two other trophies to be handed out.

Then came our turn: People’s Choice for Best Festival or Music Series. We’d planned that Julie would start about how hard it is to put on a good fest. She’s part of the planning process for the New York State Blues Festival. I’d go next. I knew I wanted to tell how more than 129,000 votes had been tallied online this year. Buke, a noted drummer for decades, would then announce the winner.

Up we marched after our names were announced by master of ceremonies Skip Murphy.

Yes, it's always impressive.

Yes, it’s always impressive.

Flutter. Flutter. Up went my iPhone 6. Breath. Calm.

Julie was great. I was me. Buke opened the envelope and told the 600-plus in his great voice for a drummer that the most votes had been tallied for the New York State Fair.

Down the stairs we went.

Cool beans.

We three caught doing our thing. (Photo by Jack Bocchino)

We three caught doing our thing. (Photo by Jack Bocchino)

Thanks, Syracuse photographer Jack Bocchino, for tagging me on Facebook with your delightful image above.

Thank you, Sammys chair Liz Nowak, for keeping me in the loop.

How do you think you’d feel walking up those stairs? Facing the crowd? Talking into the microphone?

24 thoughts on “When you’re on the other side of the stage

  1. What an awesome event to be involved in, Mark! (I tend to get nervous speaking in front of crowds, but for something like this, it would be worth it πŸ™‚ ) Sounds like it was an amazing evening!!


  2. Way to go, Mr. B!! You are such a ham, I have no doubt you did a great job and enjoyed every second of it! And why not document with your IPhone while you’re up there? I would have been nervous but then I would have tried to make the best of it and have fun (as you did). πŸ™‚ I’ll have to get your autograph next time I see you. πŸ™‚


  3. That’s a great honor Mark, especially for a Morrisville alum. Jack Bocchino and I went to High School together at West Genesee. He graduated and went to Morrisville immediately after and got a job at Bristol-Meyers. I took a detour through MCC in Rochester, OCC there in Syracuse and the US Army before I joined the Journalism Tech class in 1975. I live vicariously, there in Upstate New York, through Jack’s photos.


  4. Awesome Mark. I get butterflies before a large crowd but they disappear as I get rolling. When I know my material well i enjoy the presentation and questions. if I am presenting material I either don’t believe or don’t understand, I am nervous as I am a lousy bullshitter. Unfortunately a lot of public speaking contains elements of bullshit. I recall a marketing prof who said that marketing presenters would inevitably get asked what their program would add to the bottom line. He pointed out that there was no way to know that so just tell them “14.7%”Ha! he said it worked every time – they would just shut up.


  5. Mark,
    As a musician and friend, I am honored to have watched your sensational dedication and assistance to the CNY Music Scene over all these years. You do us proud sir.

    Liked by 1 person

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