When I answered my phone yesterday morning, I never expected I’d be asked to do an interview on Fox News.
Last month’s Opera Company of Philadelphia’s Random Act of Culture (the “flash mob” Hallelujah Chorus at Macy’s in Philadelphia) made such a splash on the internet that a whole bunch of similar events are popping up from Toronto to Jacksonville. The Toronto group made such a splash that Fox News did a segment on it yesterday, only to be barraged with emails telling them that OCP was the originator of the idea…which led Fox decide to air another piece about Philadelphia’s flash mob today.
Hence the phone call.
Fox had asked to speak to someone from OCP administration as well as a singer, and I guess my laughing face in the Philadelphia Inquirer photo made me a good candidate to be the face of such a joyful event. “They’ll be sending a car service to pick you up,” OCP told me. “You will be on the air at 6:50 AM.”
When I got the car service confirmation email, I saw that the car would be picking me up at 5:20. Sheesh. Good thing I didn’t have a late night rehearsal.
So I went to bed early and woke up at 4:30, took a shower, put an inordinate amount of product in my hair to make it do the pretty curly thing, and slipped into the outfit that I had painstakingly picked out the night before. I made sure my make-up was just so (I had no idea what to expect: would there be hair and make-up people there? Probably not, I figured; after all, my segment would probably be less than 5 minutes long), and was wide awake and ready for the car to pick me up.
5:20 came and went, but no car. At 5:25, I called the car service company, only to find out that dispatch for the company was in Los Angeles. They patched me through to New York, where dispatcher knew who I was right away because apparently my driver was lost. That didn’t bode well, I thought. Worst case scenario, I could drive myself.
At 5:30, a sedan pulled into my driveway and idled for a while. I knew the driver was supposed to call me, but I couldn’t wait any longer, so I stepped outside. He saw me and stepped out of the car — he was wearing a tuxedo! — to open the car door for me. What service! He apologized profusely for being late and blamed it on his GPS (I’ve never had a problem with GPS finding my house before, but okay). He kept apologizing the entire 40-minute ride to the television station! I managed to get him to talk about something else eventually, but he even apologized as he was letting me out of the car. Oy.
We finally got to the station, which wasn’t the major Fox outlet that I thought it was going to be. I was expecting a bustling news room and a table full of pastries and coffee (I was getting hungry). Instead, it was just a small video company that does satellite links to news stations (among other things). They had a tiny bit of coffee left, which OCP’s Executive Director, David, shared with me, and about a dozen large jars of candies and pretzels. I popped a mint into my mouth while we were waiting.
Fox and Friends was playing in the waiting room, and we heard the first teaser to our segment: “Coming up: we talk to the pastor that started the Messiah in a mall trend.” Pastor? I looked at David.
“I think he must have said ‘master,'” David said. We both shrugged it off.
All too quickly, they were ready for us to get set up for our interview. The actual show was going on in New York (where I’m SURE there were pastries and coffee!), and we would be joining them through the magic of television. We were ushered into a dark, windowless room with nothing but two chairs, a backdrop of the Philadelphia skyline and a remote-controlled camera. The woman who was running everything (the only person in the office!) helped us put our microphones on and earbuds in, but she would be controlling the audio and visual feeds from outside the room.
I thought for sure we would see ourselves or the anchors on a monitor, but everything was turned off. So I stared into the black hole of the camera and listened to the newscast through my earbud. We heard another teaser for our segment: “Coming up next: we reported on the flash mob Messiah yesterday; now we meet the pastor who started it all. Filled with God, he joins us live.”
David and I looked at each other and giggled.
Every once in a while, the audio would be interrupted by a producer asking us to count or say our names for a sound check. David made sure to mention he was the Executive Director of the Opera Company of Philadelphia, not a pastor. And about a minute before our segment started, the anchor who was interviewing us (Steve Doocy) asked us a few questions about ourselves and the Random Act of Culture at Macy’s.
And then we were on. It went by so fast. Keep smiling, Maren. Keep your answers short. Be yourself. I had a few things that I had already planned to say in my head, and they came out almost exactly the way I wanted them to.
Success! Three minutes later, we were done, and the producer was burning a DVD. I got back in my black sedan, resisted the urge to say, “Home, James,” and arrived at my house before my husband had even gotten out of bed.
Not bad for an early morning, if I do say so myself.