Oyez! Oyez! Alexandria Names New Town Crier
Benjamin Fiore-Walker's "cry off" audition.
Oyez! Oyez! The City of Alexandria has selected Benjamin Fiore-Walker (right) as its new town crier, following tryouts and interviews last week. Fiore-Walker was one of a dozen candidates who competed in a “cry off” on Wednesday, September 7 before panelists representing Alexandria tourism, historic resources, special events and the City government, who evaluated the candidates for their voice strength and clarity, deportment, verbal and nonverbal communication, and interest in Alexandria. The public also had the opportunity to weigh in by voting for their favorites online.
A resident of Alexandria, Fiore-Walker has experience working with the public, appearing in period costume, volunteering at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum and promoting history as a tour guide. He will make his first official appearance as town crier at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, September 27, 2011
The ceremonial duties of the town crier include reading proclamations, announcing upcoming events, and acting as master of ceremonies at special events. In the past, Alexandria's town criers have been featured on the news, tourism promotional materials, and even a book cover. Learn more about the experience of Alexandria's last town crier in this interview with the Washington Examiner.
The City's previous recent town crier, William North-Rudin, served for five years before resigning last year to relocate out of state. John Yagerline, a longtime volunteer at Gadsby's Tavern Museum, preceded North-Rudin and served from 1998 until his death in 2005.
One of the earliest Alexandria town criers on record is Peter Logan, an African American man who served as the town crier and on holidays as the town piper in the early 19th century. Born into slavery, Logan purchased his freedom as well as his wife's and children's, and worked as a ship carpenter and later operated his own boot and shoe black business.
Learn more about the experiences of town criers around the United State through the American Guild of Town Criers.