This article appeared in the St. Catherines Standard on August 21, 2014, written by Karena Walter (email@example.com).
The article included a video clip and photograph. Please follow the link to see the entire coverage.
Oyez! Town Crier named best in Ontario
By Karena Walter, The Standard
Thursday, August 21, 2014 8:40:06 EDT PM
As the official Town Crier for St. Catharines — celebrating his 10-year anniversary this month — Molnar has always been loud and proud.
Now, he can bellow he’s the best of his proclamating peers in the province. Molnar’s performance earlier this month at the 2014 Ontario Guild of Town Criers annual provincial championship in Port Perry earned him top marks.
“What’s not to like about it? You get to yell at people without them yelling back,” he joked.I love doing that stuff. Pretty much any time I put on the uniform, I’m having fun.”
Born in St. Catharines and raised in Pelham, Molnar, 51, was first bitten with the crier bug in the early 1980s. He was in the navy and found himself in the audience of a town crier competition in Halifax. He turned to the person next to him and said, “I could do that.”
The crier on stage heard and invited him up to try delivering an “Oyez!” After Molnar belted one out, the crier agreed, “You could do that.” Twenty years later, he attended a charity walk in Port Dalhousie and noticed the town crier kicking off the event was from out of town. He wrote a letter to city council asking if he could be the city’s official town crier and was appointed after a competition. After five years of working out of pocket, he was awarded a $1,500 annual honorarium for travel and other expenses.
In the beginning, Molnar said, his cries were stiff and formal, but after getting tips from other criers he’s moved outside rigid boundaries and added more humour. Now he cries at anywhere from 12 to 50 events a year, such as at Canada Day celebrations and parades. He also does private events like weddings and grand openings. And while he’s willing to do political events, he has to make it clear in his cry that he is being hired to be there. He once cried at events held in Port Dalhousie for both pro and antitower groups. “It’s part of the mandate, I can’t choose sides,” he said. “I can’t get involved in partisan politics.”
Molnar, who studied theatre at Brock University, is also the town crier for the Town of Lincoln and is the president of the Ontario Guild of Town Criers until his two year term is up in January. His wife, Margaret Hughes, is in the spirit and attends competitions wearing the period dress for consorts.
Molnar had to deliver three cries over the Aug. 9 and 10 provincial competition, on the subjects of microbreweries, anything British and farmers, markets or farmers’ markets. Seventeen town criers were judged on the content of their cries, their clarity and projection, how they enter and exit the stage and their general appearance.
Molnar was impressed with his competitors. “A lot of the newer criers coming in are bringing in a lot of skills that, when I started I had to build up,” he said. After 10 years of competing, Molnar took home boasting rights and a large engraved trophy.
As he celebrates a decade as St. Catharines town crier, he wouldn’t be surprised to find himself in the role for the next 10 years, too. “Sure, so long as my voice holds out.”
Mark Molnar’s cry on the theme Anything British, performed at the 2014 Ontario Guild of Town Criers Competition:
Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!
How I love the language of Britain!
In Canada, you put gas in the car, while in Britain you put petrol in your saloon. Here, we can put our boots in the trunk. In Britain,they can put a trunk in the boot. Here, we open the hood to see the engine. In Britain, they open the bonnet — while wearing a hood.
In Britain, if you’re knackered you have a kip, especially if you’ve gotten legless on some plonk. So poetic! Here you get drunk and pass out on cheap wine.
Here, you’re hungry and want some food. In Britain you’re peckish and fancy a nosh.
Canada and England — two countries separated by a common language!
God Save the Queen’s English!