Loreen Bohannon is a professional sound engineer, specializing in front of house sound. She has worked with artists such as Cabinet, Rusted Root, Hailey Knox, Postmodern Jukebox and also has been on the road with Vans Warped Tour. In the past, she ran sound for Rock Street Music and worked as a radio DJ on 105 The River. She also served as the host of Party on The Patio at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Bohannon is a native of Sterling and is a graduate of Western Wayne High School. She studied technical theater, electrical engineering and English at Wilkes University. She lives at Lake Wallenpaupack.
Meet Loreen Bohannon …
When did you first realize that you wanted to work with live sound?
When I was about 16. I’ve been doing this since high school. I kind of started with Rock Street. They came into my school when Nancy Evans, who is now my adopted mom, was hired as the high school theater director. She came in and really changed around the whole program, and she brought in Rock Street to start doing our musicals. I was introduced to some of their guys — who are now good friends — and they said, “You can touch our stuff, but not until you know how to wrap a cable. And we’re not going to show you how to do it.” So I obsessed over learning how to wrap a cable, and the next time they came through I started helping them and I was the head of the stage crew. Until the last few years, it was just a job, but I’ve now realized, “This is my career. This is it. This is really what I want to do.” There’s nothing else I’ve gravitated towards.
By running front of house sound, you’re pretty much responsible for what an audience hears at a show. What do you enjoy about it the most?
There’s something tangible about the energy that’s created at a concert when everything is perfect. When I’m locked in and the band is on and the people are into it, there’s just this incredible energy that’s created that’s unlike anything else you’ve ever experienced. And there’s this one moment — and it’s for all of us — when you realize, “This is why I do what I do. This is it. This is that moment.” And it’s a very thankful moment, because yes, you’re doing what you love, but for all of the people, you’re creating a moment for them, and they’re going to remember that piece of music for the rest of their lives. You’re creating memories. And that’s a powerful thing … to be able to affect someone’s life like that. Because I know how much music affected mine.
Your work has you on the road quite a bit. Do you like it?
For the past two years, I’ve been touring almost full-time. I love the road. I thrive on the road. I’m not even out there yet as much as I want to be and I’m not yet doing the level of things that I want to be doing, which means I’m going to be out there even more. I read an interesting article that talked about what we do on the road, and how close it is to us being cavemen, where we move in a troop of 20 to 40 people, we have a singular goal, and we all have to work together despite whatever disadvantages can happen on any day. And we always have to complete our mission. I have to finish the show, everyday. No matter what obstacle comes up, it has to happen. And that’s really unique.
Who are some of your all-time favorite musical artists?
Sting. Pink. Billy Joel. Hailstorm. And right now I’m into Redeye Empire.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Reading and feeding my chipmunks.
You have chipmunks?
They’re all outside, but I have dozens of them near where I live. And they’re literally like domesticated. They come up to me and I pet their little heads and feed them peanuts. They’re adorable. They’re my little dudes, and they all have different personalities.
All-time favorite movie?
All-time favorite TV show?
“The 10th Kingdom.” In was an old TV mini-series.
Do you follow sports?
I’m a Yankees fan.
I collect a lot of books. I read a lot.
I really like Nashville. And Portland, Oregon.
Favorite thing about NEPA?
The people that I’ve met. One of my favorite things about this area is when I was first coming up in this business, as a girl, most people didn’t care. Billy Kossuth from Rock Street music didn’t care. He’d give me the same work he’d give a guy and he’d expect me to be able to do it. Now that I’m older and look back on that, I think that’s amazing, because I’ve seen how much other women have struggled to get in.
Biggest pet peeve?
When people wrap cables the wrong way. And loud chewing.
Sitting in my underwear playing Diablo III and not talking to anyone.
Is there anything about you that might surprise people?
I’m a super nerd with things like “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter.” I also have extreme anxiety. It’s really bad, and it has contributed to a lot of debilitating problems with my confidence and my self-esteem in my life. And I’ve only recently, in my life, been able to sort that out. People see how confident I am, but until recently it’s pretty much all been an act. Behind what people see of me is a very shy and unsure girl who had a lot of bad stuff happen to her.
Have you had a moment or experience in your life that truly helped shape you into the person you are today?
There are a few. And they shaped who I am now and why I am so determined. And it starts when I was a kid and I was sexually abused. Also, my mother was beaten by my dad when I was child, and I remember all of it. But I never wanted to be a victim, and when I was 12 or 13 I had a breakdown, and I decide that I never in my life wanted to be a victim again. I did something called Young Marines, and I joined a Junior ROTC program, and I learned how to defend myself and how to fight, and how to pick myself up even when someone bigger than me knocked me down. My mom passed away when I was 16, and the events in my childhood allowed me to be able completely independent and support myself. I have tattoo on my shoulder, which I got when I was 18, and it’s a phoenix — to remind me to always rise up from the ashes.