Laughter and music streamed across the BMB YouTube channel on Nov. 19 as the Bellmore-Merrick Broadcasting team virtually produced the 14th Help USA Toy Drive, but in the control room one could hear a pin drop.
“This annual event that benefits the 30,000 people living in Help USA's shelters was on the verge on being cancelled this year due to the challenges involved in creating this normally live and in person event under the current COVID restrictions,” explained Stu Stein, BMB instructor.
That's when Tritech Communications Senior Project Manager and BMB parent Tony Melfa stepped in and suggested that Help partner with BMB.
"In the spring, I had seen the game nights and St. Baldricks event that BMB had produced and I knew that this was something BMB could produce and produce well," Melfa added.
During the next few weeks, a team of BMB producers met with the event manager from HELP USA and the entertainers performing at the event to plan the broadcast. At exactly 7 p.m. on Nov. 19, the BMB studio sprang to action for its first live event since before the pandemic by connecting performers in locations across the country to Bellmore and then out to the world.
BMB Sports Director Tom Mauro served as the technical director for the night and loved being back in action if only for one night.
"There's something extra exciting about producing a live event that we've missed since last year,” Mauro added.
BMB has since produced another live event, the Dec. 21 Concert in the Courtyard, a partnership between the Mepham musical department and BMB. They will continue to pursue similar opportunities, giving students in the program valuable on-air experience.