Archive for July 7th, 2008

Tell Your DJ Or Band ALL They Need To Know

Monday, July 7th, 2008

To me, “Hang On Sloopy” was, is, and always will be a McCoys/Rick Derringer hit of the 60s. But, to certain football fans in Ohio, it is an unofficial fight song and anthem. Living in Texas, I was not aware of this fact as I went in to play for a wedding reception with an Ohio connection. Fortunately for me, the tune was in my memory bank somewhere. Otherwise, some of the groomsmen would have been really ticked.

It’s always good to give your music provider more – rather than less – information about your audience demographics. This benefits your reception in 2 ways. First, it assures that the right songs will be played. Second – and equally importantly – it lessens the chances of hearing the wrong song.

Here in the Lone Star State, The Aggie War Hymn, The Eyes of Texas, and even Boomer Sooner are frequently requested songs. Consequently, I know those tunes very well. But I’ve learned not to play them without checking with my bride. (You see – they don’t call them “fight songs” for nothing.)

Also good for your music provider to know are specific fraternity and sorority favorites, as well as Golden Oldies that the guests danced to in college. Most bands and DJs will have a selection of these available. But – if you know for sure that you want to hear “Dancing Queen,” “Mambo Number 5,” or the “Cha-Cha Slide” – it’s a good idea to request them in advance.

Another area where your musicians will appreciate input involves regional or ethnic songs. If you have a big group coming from New York or Chicago (or anywhere else), tell your bandleader well ahead of time. Are some of your guests from outside the country? If so – from where? Is your heritage Jewish, Greek, Irish, or Polish? Tell the band. Even if certain of these songs are never played, it is always best if they’ve been prepared.

To avoid the opposite problem (the accidental playing of songs which will offend, alienate, or otherwise upset your guests), it is essential that you alert your musicians to any potential musical landmines. Tunes that you associate with an ex-spouse would be one example. Playing Wagner at a Jewish wedding is another.

Sad though it may be, not having the right song at the perfect moment (or hearing the wrong song at any moment) can adversely affect an otherwise perfect evening. But – with just a little advance planning – it’s one of the easiest reception problems to avoid.