Archive for July 16th, 2008

Themes Like Old Times!

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

Party planning committees routinely spend inordinate amounts of time arriving at the perfect theme for their gala. (Except at my son’s old high school, where a “Space Ninjas” Homecoming Dance won on the first ballot one year.)

Once chosen, an event theme often suggests directions for decor and cuisine. But there are musical possibilities, as well.

From the band’s standpoint, party themes give us the opportunity to play something other than the standard 4-hour repertoire. For this reason, any theme that offers interesting song selection is something I anticipate with pleasure.

This morning, I visited with an event co-chair whose Fall theme will be “Yankee Doodle Dandy” (just in time for election day.) She wanted me to give her some musical options. I suggested that the cocktail and dinner hours would be a good time to showcase songs about all parts of America (from “Kansas City” to “I Left My Heart In San Francisco.”) Once the desserts are set, we agreed that a brief “Stories Behind The Songs” program about George M. Cohan and other patriotic composers would be appropriate.

But – after that – she and I both felt that her theme will have been explored fully enough, and that the band should simply play whatever keeps her guests on the dance floor. In my experience, not too many folks really want an entire evening of Frank Sinatra or “The Jersey Boys” (or any other single style of music.) Most of us are perfectly happy to establish the theme, and even return to it from time to time. But a non-stop diet of one musical style is almost always overkill.

So – as you and you committee explore something other than “April In Paris” for next Spring, and “Autumn Leaves” for Fall – give a moment’s thought to the melodic possibilities (or lack thereof) each possible theme suggests. It could be time well spent.

Note: if you select “Space Ninjas,” please hire another band.