OYEZ, OYEZ, OYEZ!
What does a Town Crier do?
In today's world, the basic role of a Town Crier is to add colour, pageantry and fun to an event, by using visual and auditory presence to gather people’s attention, focus it on the important event that follows, and use various speech tools to put the audience in a proper frame of mood to be receptive. Such a CRY is typically 150 to 200 words.
The expanded role of a Town Crier includes performing at just about any event that requires getting the attention of an audience and communicating with them effectively, using the same tools as above. He adds magic and mirth to help make an ordinary event extraordinary!
The historic role of Town Criers was very different - they were the world's first news media, and played an essential role in communications. See below and refer to the History page for details.
The visual, auditory and speech tools used by a Town Crier
A Town Crier wears colourful, uniquely-designed livery (uniform) to attract attention, and may include a staff (hiking stick) to add to his (her) visual presence. He will read from a scroll.
A Town Crier typically uses a bell and a loud voice as auditory tools. He first rings the bell, then shouts
“Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!” (Hear Ye!) before reading from his scroll.
Speech tools include the use of humour, historical context, alliteration, and the myriad of techniques of a
Role of the Town Crier
The role of Town Criers has evolved over many centuries. From biblical times until invention of the printing press and newspapers - Town Criers world-wide were the primary news media. And it could be dangerous - for example, they delivered terms of war or surrender between ancient Greek or Roman armies, and announced new taxes from national authority to local subjects. Unhappy listeners might indeed shoot the messengers! Today, other media, evolving rapidly (newspapers, radio, TV, Internet, social media) have taken over the role of transmitting essential news messages to the public.
Town Criers have evolved into a different role. They still draw visual and auditory attention by dressing in colourul livery (uniform, bell, staff), then ringing a bell and calling “Oyez” three times, but they now serve a more ceremonial role, promoting local events for municipalities, businesses or individuals, to citizens, tourists or groups.
In their basic role of voicing CRYs, Town Criers capture the audience’s attention, and focus it on that event, using humour, historical context, alliteration, and other devices used by seasoned Toastmasters, to put the audience in the proper mood to be receptive. He (she) adds joy, magic and mirth to help make an ordinary event extraordinary!
In today’s world, a Town Crier provides many additional services - performing in any situation that requires oral communication with impact, whether that be introducing a speaker, being a keynote speaker, promoting participation at events, greeting and welcoming guests, being a tourist attraction and helper (EG directing them to community events), making announcements, telling stories (historical, local interesting places, intriguing characters of the past, etc.). As with the basic CRY role, the Town Crier's expanded role adds joy, pageantry, magic and mirth to help make events extraordinary!
Some Town Criers today are accompanied to events by a consort (in my case, a lady representing Mrs. Town Crier), attired in comparable and compementary outfit. Not only does this give us the opportunity to do things together, but also the dual presence, in my opinion, more than doubles the impact of the Town Crier's presence.
Okanagan Town Crier Pioneers New Territory to Role
The modern Town Crier traditionally has been appointed by a city or town to be their Official Town Crier, providing no-charge services for any civic, non-profit event. In return, the municipality pays for the Town Crier's livery, and permits the Town Crier to accept approved third party requests for his (her) services.
Bruce Klippenstein, the Okanagan Town Crier, has now pioneered the next exciting evolutionary development for Town Criers - as an independent. He is not the "Official Town Crier" for any city or town, but at their request, he may become the "Honourary Town Crier" for one of more cities/town in the Okanagan, still available to provide no-charge services for that town when time permits.
Bruce also expands the role to include special attractions within that territory, specifically regional tourism promotion of the Ogopogo (world's most credible sea serpent), and promotion of the key regional industry of wineries and related products. He adds the titles of Ogopogo-Land Town Crier and Ok-WINE-agan Town Crier.
Why Ogopogo-Land and Ok-WINE-agan Town Criers?
“Ogopogo-Land” is both a location (Lake Okanagan and surrounding towns and cities), and a primary tourist attraction in that location, in addition to the incredible natural beauty of the area. Ogopogo is an internationally-renowned sea serpent, & the most credible (even more than Nessie, according to experts!). The Town Crier of Ogopogo-Land is a means to promote this phenomena to citizens and visitors directly, as well as expand the awareness of Ogopogo around the world, and increase tourism in the Okanagan area, from Vernon to Penticton, including Peachland as the home of Ogopogo (Ogopogo/Rattlesnake Island is directly across the lake from Peachland, and considered to be part of that community). The history of Ogopogo over several hundred years, from native Indian legend to regional mascot, also opens the door for education about the area and its history.
“Ok-WINE-agan” is both a territory (the Okanagan) and the dominant product industry within that area (wine). This combination is also the dominant vineyard and winery location within BC, and renowned around the world as producer of some of the best wines available anywhere. The Ok-WINE-agan Town Crier is one tool that may be employed to promote this rapidly-emerging industry (it has grown from 17 wineries in 1990 to about 300 today, with expansion still dynamic). It has been recognized as one of the best tourist destinations in the world for wine lovers.
Bruce Klippenstein, the self-proclaimed Town Crier for both Ogopogo-Land and Ok-WINE-agan (that word has been trademarked by him) has a career history of community service, and promotion of those communities. He recognizes the potential of promoting tourism around Lake Okanagan, and promoting the wineries striving for success within the wine industry, as well as the whole industry.
Bruce’s Town Crier Clients Benefit From His Novel Approach
This is a new concept for Town Criers, and using Town Criers is a novel approach being considered by citizens and business communities. Bruce Klippenstein cares that your event be a success!! Bruce will work with you and will guarantee your delight with his performance at your event!
Contact Bruce Klippenstein to discuss any ideas for his services, whether for an individual,
a family, a local business, a winery association, or tourism promotion.
Phone/Text: (778) 583-5547