I haven't exactly been getting a swarm of Presenters around the TDA booth, so today I decided to sign up as an alternate at the Juried Showcases for a 2 minute pitch slot. It was looking like I wasn't going to get in, but then someone didn't show up and they called my name. I gotta tell ya, I was way more nervous walking up to the podium in that huge auditorium than I have ever been doing a show. I quickly realized the only way I could pull this off was to treat this like a gig and act like I was just talking between songs. So with shaking hands, and a dry mouth, I stared into the blinding spotlight and said: (It's weird that I can remember it so clearly)
"Hi folks, my name is Paul Rogers and I am with Those Darn Accordions. We are a 6 piece accordion band made up of 4 accordions, bass and drums. Beside myself, there are three woman that play the accordion and sing beautifully. We play everything from polkas to Led Zeppelin, but 90% of our music is original. These are clever, funny, thought provoking songs that reflect the human condition as I see it. (I paused here to see if I might get a chuckle. I didn't). We have performed on the Great American Music Awards with Drew Carey, Penn & Teller's "Sin City Spectacular", The Donny & Marie Show, and the Tammy Faye Baker show...I could on..(a few chuckles). You know folks, people come up to me after shows and say, "Paul, after the first song or two, we forget you are even playing accordions". (Pause) I've chosen to take that as a compliment. ( More chuckles) Ladies and gentlemen, I sense a lot of fear out there. I see it in your eyes as you enter the exhibit hall and see that word...Accordions. (a nice laugh as I gestured up behind me). I see you veering off to one side or the other. (More laughter) But folks, this conference is all about stepping outside our "comfort zone" and trying something new. (laughter continues) So I want all of you to step up to booth L20 and find out what TDA's really all about. Thank you very much. (a couple of "shouts of "Yeah", great applause)
Out in the hall I had several people come up and say "great pitch!" I was really glad it was over and it went well. Then I ran into the woman that ran the "Believe in Yourself" workshop I attended yesterday and she was very effusive and said she was very proud of me. I hope all of you are too.