For the first time in five years, our event went through some last minute changes that made a significant impact. We normally take to the Windham High School track and we have access to their sound system and microphone for the evening. I'm able to hook my gear into the system and blast my music much like you'd hear at a football game.
This year, we were forced to move the event inside and go from a 12 hour overnight event to a 4 hour single evening event. Thunder, lightning and spot flooding warnings were what initiated the changes. For me, the biggest change was having to set up all my gear in the gym. Turns out, I can rock a gym with no problems whatsoever! Plenty of volume with plenty of power to spare. I was very pleased.
The benefits to this setup were definitely found on the microphone. When you use the wireless outside on the track, you tend to hear yourself in a delay because of the phasing speaker placement around the track. With the single, central set up we basically eliminated that which made things much easier on the speakers.
The music sounded great and it was nice to be down with the people. I felt more involved personally with the event and the participants than I've been able to in the past. I'm not ashamed to say that for the first time in five years I found myself being moved by some of the things I witnessed while on track level. When during the survivor lap, a man normally confined to a wheelchair, stood up and was assisted as he walked a lap around the gym. At one point a sweet older man asked if I could play some America because he and his wife, who was passed, used to dance to it. When I played "Sister Golden Hair," his face lit up with a smile and he proceeded to dance with his partner around the track. For at least that one song, he and his wife were together again.
Relay is always an amazing event and the fact that we were able to condense an entire night into such a small time period was no easy task, but I think ended up a big success. I can proudly say that some participants have already emailed their reviews including some positive notes about the music levels and song choices.
Obviously in the great scheme of Relay, the music isn't the most important part, but when you see how songs and artists can impact people the way they do, you remember how powerful music can be.
Incidentally, our event set a goal of $70,000 for this year and with money still coming in, we've already surpassed $65,000. Not bad. Not bad at all.