FROSTBURG – How many newly-engaged couples can say their proposal was witnessed by approximately 19,000 people .... and first announced by a former Beatle?

By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
FROSTBURG – How many newly-engaged couples can say their proposal was witnessed by approximately 19,000 people .... and first announced by a former Beatle?
Mountain Ridge High School teacher Michaela Linn can ... and she has the footage on YouTube to prove it.
Linn and her boyfriend, Luke Hale of Indianapolis, Ind., not only became engaged at a Paul McCartney concert held Aug. 19 in Pittsburgh, but through a series of secret arrangements and plain luck, their proposal was projected to the crowd via the Jumbotron while McCartney sang his classic “My Love.”
Linn said the whole thing came as a complete surprise to her.
“Luke has been a really big McCartney fan, and I've liked him since Wings,” she explains. “I had been spending time with Luke in Indianapolis this summer, and we had planned to go see McCartney when he was in Nashville.”
That particular plan did not work out, however, and Michaela returned home to Frostburg to get ready for the first day of school at Mountain Ridge, where she teaches vocal music and drama.
“Luke called me, though, and said, 'I'm going to be in Pittsburgh, can you meet me?' I asked him if the trip was business or pleasure, and he said, 'I'd rather keep that a surprise.'
“I told him, 'I don't like surprises,'” she said, laughing.
Curious about what Luke had in mind, when he told her he'd be in Pittsburgh on Aug. 19, she went to the Internet and saw that Sir Paul McCartney was scheduled to appear there on that date.
“I said, 'Ah!'” she said.
Still having no idea of Luke's ulterior motive, however, she was quite surprised – and amazed – to find out their tickets were for the front row at the Pittsburgh Consol Energy Center.
“We were on the floor and we kept walking and walking and I said, 'What row are we looking for?' and he said, 'Row 1!'
“He had originally told me, 'I'm sorry, but we have an obstructed view,'” she recalled. “Well, the obstruction was the stage!”
With that, Michaela figured the “surprise” had been revealed.
Little did she know.
Excited and amazed to be in the front row, Michaela called her parents to tell them about the great seats, and also began taking photos all around – oblivious to the fact that Luke was trying desperately to get the attention of someone affiliated with the concert crew.
“He had written this letter, and it said, 'Marriage proposal in the front row,'” she explains.
The letter was addressed “Dear Sir Paul,” and explained how important the former Beatle's music has been to Luke throughout his life, and that he planned to propose to his girlfriend as McCartney sang “My Love.”
“He told him our names, and how to pronounce my name, and even told him during what part of the song he was going to do it,” she said.
Luke got lucky enough to catch the attention of someone named Shelley, whom he had overheard saying everyone backstage was crying because Pittsburgh was the last official date on the tour.
When Shelley read the letter Luke handed her, she smiled and took it away, telling Luke, “I'll see what I can do.”
The next thing Luke knew, the head of security came out and “looked him up and down,” then left again.
“I said to Luke, 'What are you doing?'” Michaela said, noting that she was still mostly unaware of what had been going on around her.
“He said, 'I just sent back some fan mail. I want to get an autograph,'” she said.
Michaela admits that, by this time, “it went through my head” that he might be planning to propose.
“But I put it out of my mind,” she said, explaining that their plans had been for her to complete her master's degree first.
She had no doubt that something was up, however, as soon as McCartney began singing “My Love.”
“I could feel Luke shaking behind me,” she recalls. “He had his hands on my shoulders, and he turned me around, and I just got a pit in my gut,” she recalls.
“Then the light went on over top of us, and he said, 'I love you,' and I said, 'I love you, too,' and then I saw myself on the Jumbotron,” she said.
“I thought, 'Oh, you're a dead man,” she added, laughing.
Michaela says throughout Luke's proposal to her, McCartney kept looking at them while he sang.
When the song was over, “he stood up and made the sign of a heart to us. He walked over to the edge of the stage and asked Luke, 'I knew you were going to do it; did she say yes?'”
When Luke answered in the affirmative, McCartney told the audience, “This is Luke and Michaela, and they are officially engaged.”
“And he said my name right!” Michaela noted.
It still amazes her that “Paul McCartney was the one who basically announced our engagement!”
What also amazed, her, however, was how quickly the word of her engagement – and how it happened – spread.
“I started getting text messages from people I knew who were also in the audience. They said, 'Did you just get engaged?'” she says, noting that, as she and Luke tried to leave the arena at the end of the concert, they were stopped by numerous well-wishers and even by people who wanted to get their photos taken with the suddenly-famous couple.
Less than two days later, video of their engagement had hit YouTube and facebook. They were the topic of conversation on the “Eric and Kevin Show” out of Morgantown two mornings in a row, and several radio stations have requested interviews.
“It's just been surreal, and it's been crazy,”' she says. “In a nutshell, it's been almost overwhelming.”
So what lies in the future for the couple who received a “blessing” on their engagement from one of music's greatest icons?
You can bet it won't be anything routine.