Oyez, Oyez, Oyez!
Jennifer Olivero is the Town of Hanover’s Official Town Crier. Dressed in 18th century uniform with tri-corn hat and buckled shoes, she rings a brass bell, makes announcements and calls forth the crowds at several events each year. And Jennifer is not bashful – she makes her declarations proudly and loudly, adding pomp, dignity and ceremony to every event.
Hanover Council appointed Ms. Olivero as the Town’s Official Town Crier, with duties to perform welcoming proclamations and “cries” at various events, plus represent the Town at several Town Crier competitions each year.
Mayor Kathi Maskell stated “Council is extremely pleased to appoint Jennifer and have her both represent our community across Ontario, plus bring uniqueness, heritage and distinction to many community celebrations and events.”
Ms. Olivero is a member of the Ontario Guild of Town Criers, including serving on the Executive Committee, and has been a Town Crier for approximately 10 years. Enthusiastic and outgoing, Jennifer says it’s an honour and a privilege to be the Official Town Crier. “I enjoy performing and representing the community”, she says.
The Town Crier is a goodwill ambassador for the community, with the appearance of the Town Crier at events providing a ceremonial way to kick off events, announcements or presentations. She draws the crowd’s attention, acknowledges dignitaries and provides a synopsis of the event’s significance, while also bringing that touch of personality and character to an event.
To make arrangements or discuss her involvement at your community event or happening, Jennifer can be contacted directly by telephone at 519-506-6986 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who is Jenn?!
My name is Jennifer Templeman Olivero and I am your new Official Town Crier. My family moved here in July of 2011 and we haven't look back! My husband, Adam, and I were married in 2007 and in 2010 we welcomed our daughter Claire to our family.
I grew up in Collingwood, where my dad is the Official Town Crier. I remember attending competitions in the blazing sun and pouring rain and have many fond memories. I was still a teenager when my dad approached me about becoming a town crier. I immediately said yes and proudly represented By Gone Days Heritage Village for 14 years. Town Crying has really allowed me to merge my two loves, history and community together ( and maybe just a touch of theatre).
Just what is a town crier?
For centuries, a town crier would have been the only source for important information. We acted as a vocal newspaper, especially during times when the majority of the population would have been illiterate. A town crier would have been someone that could read and write, so many times retired soldiers took the job, having no other prospects.
A town crier, after making his proclamation, would then post a copy to the door or wall of the local tavern, or village leaders home. This is where the term ' post a notice' comes from.
Many times the town crier would have been the bearer of bad news, such an increase in taxes, or a subscription for unpopular war. To protect the town criers, the monarchy declared it an act of treason to attack a town crier, as they were acting on behalf of the crown. Interestingly, this law has never been revoked and is still in the books!
What does a town crier wear?
As mentioned above, some town criers were retired soldiers. Many of our town criers today use a military uniform and act in a military style while performing their duties.
A town crier starts his, or her, cry by ringing a bell, but in some countries a horn or drum is common. Tradition has also given us the image of the town crier with tricorn hat and buckle shoes from the 18th century ( think of the American revolution). Many of us today use this as a starting point for our uniforms, ranging from the historically accurate to the theatrical and flashy. Other town criers have used their town/city/historical society has inspiration and wear a uniform from the 19th and early 20th century.
We may also use colours or symbols on our uniforms to incorporate our comunities, a motto, or popular attraction.
The majority of town criers start their cries with three loud 'oyezs' (o-yeah). American town criers however, use the words 'hear ye'. This is thought to be because of a film director telling a town criering he couldn't use 'oyez' has no one knew what it meant. When the town crier explained that it meant 'hear ye', the director said to just use that instead.