The tag line for The Eagle Court of Honor Book is “the complete guide to Scouting’s greatest moment.” While I stick by my contention that the Eagle court of honor is Scouting’s greatest moment, I think there’s another important moment that all too often gets overlooked: the ceremony rehearsal.
Would a politician make a speech or an actor shoot a scene without practicing his or her lines first? Of course not. So why would you stage a court of honor without at least one practice session?
I recommend holding a rehearsal a few days before the ceremony. Get all your key players together (in the room where the ceremony will take place) and walk through the entire show from start to finish. Doing so will help you solve such basic problems as figuring out where people are going to stand, how many chairs you need on stage, which microphones speakers are going to use, who’s going to control the lights, etc. It’ll also point out to people what their cues are.
You don’t necessarily need to have people read every line of their parts, but you might want to consider doing so to ensure that they practice their lines at least once before the ceremony!
At the same time, it’s nice to preserve an element of surprise for the honoree. So you might not want the Scoutmaster or the person giving the Eagle charge to read his lines (or even include them in the scripts you distribute). If you have other surprise presentations, leave those out as well.