News: Contest decides BayFest emcees
Story by Christine Cabalo
KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii - Three service members proved they were the hosts with the most, winning the Emcee Maniac contest held by Marine Corps Community Service Hawaii at Kahuna’s Enlisted Club June 30.
The winners have earned the prize of meeting and introducing the BayFest Hawaii 2011 bands for each night’s performances. Two emcee winners are base service members: Lance Cpl. Isaac Munoz, a calibration technician with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 24 and Seaman Brandon Parran, a logistics specialist with Patrol Squadron 9. The third winner is Airman 1st Class Jonathan Leak, a knowledge operations manager from 324th Intelligence Squadron at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
Contestants were put through the wringer of challenges, with judges and the Kahnua’s crowd weighing in on their performances. After registering for the contest, Munoz said he relied on his natural speaking talent.
“The contest was at the back of my mind besides doing my other duties, so I didn’t have too much preparation,” Munoz said. “The other guys were awesome and came guns loaded.”
When filling out his application, Munoz made sure he wrote “winning” in the comments section as a message to judges. They liked his sense of humor and his enunciation, especially with Hawaiian words.
He’ll be introducing Friday night’s acts, the Marine Forces Pacific Band and long-time Hawaiian musicians Cecilio and Kapono. Although he’s never seen the Hawaiian musicians in person, Munoz said he’s eager to hear them live in concert. He was also surprised to hear the MarForPac Band perform pop music in addition to the ceremonial songs for which they’re known.
“I definitely want to hear them play ‘Beat It,’” he said. “And it’d be interesting to see how they play the song ‘Poker Face.’”
For Saturday’s show, Leak was the winning contestant to introduce Hoobastank and Puddle of Mudd. He said he’s promising BayFest attendees a good time during the whole concert.
“I’m really looking forward to interacting with the crowd in between the acts,” Leak said. “I’m ready to keep the crowd hyped for the next act and keeping their energy up.”
Leak, who has toured in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, as a singer, said he’s always wanted to be a show emcee. To prove he had stage presence and could think on his feet, Leak also had to act out a surprise scenario at the contest.
“My scenario was that Puddle of Mudd was not able to show up on schedule. So I had to fill up the time,” he said. “I could sing, act out a movie or dance. Me being a singer, I thought this was perfect, so I sang and kept the crowd rolling.”
His rendition of J Holiday’s “Don’t Wanna Lose” not only filled time, but kept the judges and crowd thrilled in their seats.
For many emcee hopefuls, it was their first time competing to host an event as large as BayFest. Parran, a Baltimore resident, said his only previous speaking performances were narrating student films for his friends at the Maryland Institute College of Arts. For him, the contest tested more than just his skills working a large crowd.
“There was one section that was improvisation,” he said. “They gave me the subject of clouds, and I had to just run with it.”
His aim for entertaining country music lovers on Sunday is to make them forget about the heat and crowds. He hopes that when he introduces Joe Nichols and the other country talent show acts appearing, the audience forgets their cares.
“It’s the last day and usually the day people remember the most,” Parran said. “So I’m hoping people remember me the most for keeping them entertained.”
BayFest Hawaii 2011 begins July 15 at 3 p.m., with concerts and events happening through July 17. The three-day event is open to the public with admission.