Wayne Messmer is an accomplished singer, broadcaster and businessman. Today, he’s part owner and Executive Vice President for the Chicago Wolves. He’s also the long-time public address announcer for the Chicago Cubs. He sings “The Star-Spangled Banner” before many Cubs games, as well as prior to all Chicago Wolves games.
In the mid-1980s, Messmer was the newscaster on WYTZ (Z-95) Radio’s “Barsky Morning Zoo”.
For many years, he also sang for the Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Bears and Chicago Sting. In 1991, when Messmer sang at the NHL All-Star Game at Chicago Stadium, he was nearly drowned out by cheers from the sellout crowd, mainly in support of the U.S. troops that had entered the Gulf War just days prior. It remains one of the best moments in hockey history and an iconinc moment in the life of Wayne Messmer. Messmer’s association with sports began as the announcer/soloist with the Chicago Sting soccer team. From 1982-85, the Chicago native served as field announcer and soloist for the Chicago White Sox and he has maintained a professional association with the Chicago Cubs since 1985. Messmer also spent 13 seasons as the celebrated soloist for the Chicago Blackhawks. His performance prior to the 1991 NHL All-Star game at Chicago Stadium continues to be recognized by fans as one of the greatest moments in hockey.
During the Wolves historic home opener on Oct. 14, 1994, Messmer made an emotional return to his craft. Before a sellout crowd at Allstate Arena, he sang the anthem publicly for the first time since he suffered a gunshot wound to the throat six months earlier.
Messmer is the founder of Wayne Messmer & Associates, a nationally recognized financial services firm. He is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, where he received a bachelor’s degree in music education, and Loyola University of Chicago, where he earned a master’s degree in counseling. Messmer also earned his Ph.D. in psychology from La Salle University. He is a member of the National Speakers Association (NSA) and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA).
The St. Louis Blues invited Wayne Messmer to sing the anthem at their home game when they opened the Kiel Center. His performance of the Anthem is always concluded with his trademark flourish on the final word “Brave” in which he forcefully flips the “r” and sings the word an octave above the same pitch as the Anthem is begun.
In 1995, Messmer opened his own independent financial services firm in the Chicagoland area, Wayne Messmer and Associates. He co-founded the firm with James A. Geake. Since November 2011, he has hosted a jazz radio program Sunday evenings on 90.9fm WDCB Public Radio, “Homelife Jazz with Wayne Messmer.” Now on to the Wayne Messmer exclusive.
Paul M. Banks: It’s a new era with Coach John Anderson coming back
Wayne Messmer: “When you think of the great moments in Wolves history, in terms of the championships, it’s always been John Anderson running the show. We’re anxious to get our guy filling the roster with guys that love to play.”
Banks: who are some of your business role models?
Messmer: “Strangely enough Mark Cuban. He’s the kind of guy that will volunteer for the job and secure the job knowing that he could do it even though he hasn’t had the experience previously. And I think that’s where today’s entrepreneur needs to be. That basically was my intro with the Wolves, they asked me to help the organization draw up the blueprints and get it implemented. And twenty years later, it’s a wonderful legacy to look back on. I like creative thinkers, people who aren’t afraid to take chances.”
Banks: What are your primary business goals?
Messmer: From a Wolves standpoint, it’s obviously winning a championship. I run my own financial services company- that’s been very successful at helping people plan retirement, I hope it funds my own at some point.
Banks: what’s the most memorable feedback you’ve ever received on your famed renditions of the Star Spangled Banner?
Messmer: the NHL All-Star game at Chicago Stadium, the day after the Gulf War began: the video of the recording that keeps coming back to me. It was probably the most emotional and patriotic moment. I’ve met people at Cooperstown who said I’ve touched them. And the first ever Chicago Wolves hockey game was my most significant in 1994. I was unfortunately the victim of a shooting and the fact that my voice was temporarily taken as a result of that.
It was my first anthem, returning 6 months and five days after the shooting. Highly emotional moment for me.
Banks: how tough was it to just get that first over with?
Wayne Messmer: It was very frightening and you just hope something comes out when you open your mouth and fortunately it did. And it got better over the years since. And to be given a gift at a certain level and then to have it stolen and then to have it return at just about the same level is nothing short of miraculous.
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An analyst for 95.7 The Fan, he also writes on Chicago sports media for Chicago Now. President Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)
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