New voice of Old Man Gloom gears up for Zozobra

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SANTA FE, N.M. — This Friday, Old Man Gloom will be brought to life with a new person behind the microphone.

The Honorable Bill Parnall, a Division I Judge of New Mexico’s Second Judicial District Court, was selected out of nearly 60 individuals through two rounds of auditions this month – beating out men, women and even children for the first opportunity to try out for the iconic voice since the 1980s.

“I remember Zozobra in the ’70s and it meant something to me then,” Judge Parnall said. “Even then I wanted to participate and to think that I could be the voice is very special.”

Bill has been a member of the New Mexico State Bar since 1979. He was born in Albuquerque’s South Valley and has served as a judge since 2007.

Now, he’ll get to be the voice of Old Man Gloom for some of the most iconic Zozobras in recent memory. Organizer Ray Sandoval said, “This is a big decision because they will be Zozobra’s voice for the 100th anniversary and probably for the next 10-20 years.”

For Bill, it’s a big deal for him too and it was unexpected when he got the job.

“I was very surprised because there were so many good voices, I enjoyed listening to all of them,” he said, “and I’m so glad that everyone believed in me to be the voice.”

Bill Parnall’s voice can be heard Friday night as all our gloom burns away at the 98th Burning of Zozobra. Elmer ‘Butterfly’ Garcia and Even Galpert will serve as alternate voices.

Garcia is an actor, model, drummer, singer and DJ with Ohkay Owingeh and Zuni origins. He began his career at age three and has performed in 38 U.S. states and Washington D.C., for Bill Clinton’s inauguration.

Galpert is a native Santa Fean actor and comedian who helped found Wayward Comedy.

The theme is ’90s so be sure to bring your plaid flannel shirts, combat boots and fanny packs – and watch for road closures, beginning at 3 p.m. Friday. Santa Fe police are asking people to plan ahead and be advised the roads will be closed until everyone has left the park.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit their website.