THON is in full swing, the Bryce Jordan Center is bumpin’, and this party is running smoothly as the weekend progresses.
Kyle Azzara, the Entertainment Director for THON 2017, is the man to thank for that.
Between a number of jobs he has to perform over the weekend, so much of the work that goes into putting on an event like this happens throughout the year. Getting the position almost immediately after THON ended in 2016, Azzara has spent the months leading up to this weekend bringing in all the acts that take the stage.
Now for the 46 hours, he has a whole different set of logistics to coordinate.
“Throughout the year, Entertainment coordinates all of the acts,” Azzara said. “During the actual weekend, I help facilitate those — creating a timeline, going over the logistics of acts coming in and out of the building or setting up and what they’re playing, keeping the crowd engaged. There’s a bunch of different stuff that this committee does.”
Bringing out DNCE for a surprise appearance, to having Go Go Gadjet rock the BJC, and every act in between, Azzara and the Entertainment Committee’s work through the year is responsible for securing a successful THON.
Once all of the acts are locked in, the entire weekend revolves around a timeline to keep everything on schedule.
“We have weekly timeline meetings,” Azzara said. “There’s a person in charge of looking for bands and a person in charge of looking for the core performances. Basically we set up slots of times then for these throughout the weekend.”
Outside of coordinating the acts, the logistics, and scheduling them, Azzara and his crew of captains also manage the music selection and the jumbotron.
For the music side of it, the Entertainment Committee has a mixer as well as another set program to play a list of songs.
For the jumbotron, there are different set videos that play on the big screen as well as options from four different camera angles showing live video of the action on the floor. The Entertainment Committee has different members work this job during THON.
“One of the shifts we do THON weekend is the video switcher [for the jumbotron],” Azzara said. “We are basically choosing between the four different camera shots. We have two different computers that have video on them, like a powerpoint or a video of the line dance, whatever it is.”
THON has played an important role in Azzara’s Happy Valley experience.
He was aware of THON’s mission well before coming to Penn State. Wanting to get involved as soon as he got on campus, he started out in dancer relations, but became more interested in the planning side of the entire event.
“I grew up in Hershey, Pennsylvania, so I was really familiar with the Four Diamonds,” Azzara said. “I was chairman of my mini-THON in high school, so coming to college, I knew that I wanted to be part of THON. I wanted to be involved in a high capacity and I’m glad I’ve gotten the opportunity to do that.”
Azzara’s been enjoying his experience in the booth behind the stage so far. With everything running smoothly, he’s excited to keep the party going.
“I absolutely love it,” Azzuri said. “I think it’s a great way to do it and provide those moments for the families and dancers.”