By Stephanie Ciccarelli
May 11, 2009
Have you ever heard that it's the journey that matters, not just getting to the destination?
You may find in your travels that going to events issues opportunities to learn, to admire and reminisce in a beautiful and historic setting, combining voice over with the local culture.
Voice talent Linda Ristig shares her experiences in the American city of Schenectady, NY. By setting aside time to explore her surroundings, Linda was introduced to people, places and things within the city gates, connecting with her in meaningful ways.
I'll admit, I didn't even know how to spell Schenectady, let along pinpoint where it was located in New York somewhere, until I read about the Voice Coaches Technology + You = Opportunity Marketing & Networking Event 2009 through Stephanie Ciccarelli's Vox Daily blog a month or so ago. After becoming aware of the impressive list of guest speakers, I felt compelled to be part of the learning curve. When I checked our family calendar, I knew the May dates for the weekend conference would fit into my schedule.
But what I gained from that experience went far beyond the various topics discussed. Through the last several articles on this site, you've read an amazingly and accurately thorough analysis of what pearls of wisdom the speakers addressed. But there was so much more...
When I arrived at the Albany airport, I spotted a poster of a Science Museum located in Schenectady. Within minutes, a delightful Capital Cab taxi driver, Mike, explained with his NY accent, that I'd enjoy my stay in Schenectady, since I'd be staying at the Parker Inn. He began to tell me a bit about the history of the town, in relationship to electricity and the settlement by the Dutch. He showed me several beautiful photos he had recently taken of tulips, and wished me a pleasant visit.
Now, it's my nature to have a sense of wonder and curiosity about the world around me. After checking into the hotel, I rode the wrought iron encased elevator to the fifth floor. Only four rooms were on my level, and I was entranced. The room was spacious and beautifully appointed. Back down I flew to desk to ask directions to the local science museum. It turned out it was only a few blocks from my hotel.
Off I trekked to the Schenectady Museum & Suits-Bueche Planetarium, Science Center of Tech Valley. I found out that Thomas Edison arrived in the town in the 1880's, and was involved in founding the company all of us recognize, General Electric. There were so many industrial inventions and interactive displays within the museum. My husband's grandfather had the first radio shop in Washington, D.C., so I recognized the oscillating fan and old time radio that we have at home, on display there! I learned about the locomotives that were manufactured in the factories. During WWII, those foundries were altered so they could produce a tank in 19 days, with half of the workers being women. I learned also about the war between Edison and Tesla over AC and DC current. There was so much to see, but I only had an hour.
When I went to the section that predated the industrial revolution, one word jump out at me. Mohawk. The original settlement was located on the Mohawk River, founded back in the 1600s. I graduated from Mohawk High School, PA! I knew I needed to find that river! I learned about the Stockade Walking Tour of the historical buildings because of a kindhearted informative museum docent. She showed me a brochure, and explained that if I liked architecture, I wouldn't be disappointed.
I needed to zip back to the hotel to change for the Expo's Meet and Greet. I should mention that my hotel connected to the elegant and classic Proctor's Theatre, the site of the first movie projection screen! I had take a short stroll through the main lobby, a quaint bar, and a comfortable seating area, and there I was... in the main concourse of the theatre.
There I was fortunate to be introduced to some outstanding people, both established in the field of VO, and some that were just beginning their careers. I still consider myself very lucky to have been able to attend. The energy and positive outlook were fantastic to be a part of. In addition, the catered food was outstanding! John Florian created a fun-filled photo montage of the event at his VoiceOverXtra.com website.
Fast forward to Sunday, when the conference was over. My flight was scheduled to leave in the mid-afternoon. I dug out my "Stockade Walking Tour" pamphlet, and set off on another adventure. I must tell you, the historical homes were marvelous. Having taught Middle Ages history for a number of years, I have a special fondness for Gothic architecture. Wrought iron and stained glass captivate me. Located on one of the Ellis mansions, I even spotted a gargoyle! In the oldest section, there were many beautiful churches that have withstood attacks within the walls of the original fort. Yes, the tulips were blossoming, birds were chirping, church bells were ringing, and I even saw a priest close a huge wooden door to signal the beginning of services. I glanced at the dates engraved on some of the centuries-old tombstones, as a few late parishioners rushed to claim their spot in the service.
Lastly, I found the Mohawk Riverfront. I stood at the general area where the Dutch founder of the town purchased the land from the Mohawk Indians in 1661. A longhouse actually had been within the walls of the town, for visiting Indians who traded furs with those long ago settlers.
I called my mother on my cell phone to let her know I was standing along its shores. I wandered a few blocks from the river, and found a statue of Lawrence, the Native American Indian that helped the original settlers. Those wooden walls of the stockade no longer exist, but there was so much history here, and I had no trouble envisioning the town as it might have been.
I've only touched on a few of the wonders within Schenectady. Taking time to step outside and learn about your surroundings can create unexpected and marvelous adventures.
The world of voiceovers allows you to tell stories that matter, just like I'm sharing this special memory with you. Just a Marketing Expo? I think not!
To what surprising and interesting places have you been led during your voiceover experience?
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