Programs by Dave Tanner

“The Stories Behind The Songs”

Grand foyerDave Tanner’s 8 films as an actor include the Oscar-winning The Trip To Bountiful. He has worked in over 300 radio and TV commercials. Children know him as “Farmer Dooley” with Barney The Dinosaur. He has also been a researcher for Paul Harvey’s The Rest Of The Story. In his 39 years as a full-time entertainer, Dave has performed for European royalty, leaders of business, and 3 U.S. presidents. A 5th-generation Texan from Gainesville, Dave now lives in Irving with his wife Gina and son Erik.

Currently, Dave’s programs include:

  • 1960: A Golden Anniversary Celebration!
  • Top 10 Romantic Songs From The Movies
  • The Unforgetable Nat “King” Cole
  • When Swing Was King!
  • Hollywood: Where The Inmates Run The Asylum
  • God Bless Irving Berlin!
  • Broadways Greatest Hits, VOLUME I: The Stories Behind The Songs
  • Broadway’s Greatest Hits, VOLUME II: The Rest Of The Stories
  • America’s Patriotic Melodies: The Stories Behind The Songs
  • Big Band Saturday Night!
  • Nashville: The Stories Behind The “Sound”
  • Texas Attitude
  • Oscar Hammerstein: The “Rodney Daingerfield” Of Broadway
  • America’s Gospel Treasury: The Stories Behind The Songs
  • Songs Of The Greatest Generation
  • That’s What I Like About Texas!
  • Each of the programs listed above are available year-round.

    “Tanner’s music is rollicking, fun, and GREAT!”
    John Criswell, KDFW-TV

    In addition, Dave offers 3 seasonal programs:

    Dave Tanner’s HOLIDAY – Stories Behind The Songs

  • Christmas: The Stories Behind The Songs
  • The Stories And Songs Of Valentine’s Day
  • When Irish Eyes Are Smiling: Stories And Songs Of St. Patrick’s Day
  • All programs are approximately 45 minutes long. If no piano is available, Dave can supply his own keyboard and/or PA system (there may be a set-up charge). When desired, Dave can also provide 1 hour of dinner music in keeping with the program’s chosen theme. And for a complete evening of entertainment, consider dancing to the Dave Tanner Band following your dinner and program.

    Custom programs to suit you theme or special event are available.

    Member, National Speakers Association.


    God Bless Irving Berlin!

    Irving Berlin lived the American Dream, escaping from religious persecution in Russia to become the most successful – and most loved – composer of his day. He practically wrote The American Songbook, and you will find yourself singing along with Dave as he tells you the stories behind Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Blue Skies, Always, God Bless America, There’s No Business Like Show Business, and many more.

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    1960: A Golden Anniversary Celebration!

    1960 – JFK’s election, To Kill A Mockingbird, and hit movies like Ocean’s 11 and Spartacus were all part of the first year of the turbulent 60′s. So were Chubby Checker and The Twist. Yes, the times were a-changin’. From the U2 Incident to the Everly Brothers, you will relive 1960′s events and personalities in this fast-paced, delightful program.

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    Top 10 Romantic Songs From The Movies

    Dave weaves a spell with his favorite romantic songs from the movies. What are yours?

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    The Unforgettable Nat “King” Cole

    Mona Lisa, Too Young, L-O-V-E, Route 66, and -of course- Unforgettable. These are just a few of the the still popular hits of the trailblazing singer-pianist. His life story mirrors America’s own coming-to-terms with race relations. His dignity and class remain an inspiration to all. Truly he was unforgettable!

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    When Swing Was King!

    In the Big Band Era, Swing was America’s Music. This tune-filled program looks a the African and European roots that blossomed into Swing. Hear the hits by immortals like Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Tommy Dorsey, Doris Day, and Glenn Miller. Watch out – you may start dancing!

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    Hollywood: The Stories Behind The Songs

    “Hooray for Hollywood! That screwy, ballyhooey Hollywood…” Johnny Mercer’s anthem to the film capital says it all: Hollywood is screwy. You’ll discover exactly how odd Hollywood logic is in this delightful program, which includes Moon River, As Time Goes By, and Somewhere Over The Rainbow, and how all 3 of these classic movie songs were almost cut from their finished films. You’ll also learn how Hollywood helped win WWII through efforts both on-screen and off, including some that were Top Secret at the time.

    “It has been many years since a program received such extended applause.”
    Bob Weinfeld, The Equitable Financial Companies

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    Broadway’s Greatest Hits, Volume I: The Stories Behind The Songs

    Broadway! Home of Rodgers & Hammerstein, Lerner & Loewe, dozens of immortal musicals and hundreds of hit songs. Dave takes you back to its Golden Age (1946-60) and the 3 giants who made those glorious years possible. You’ll sing along to Cohan, Berlin, and Gershwin, while hearing Dave’s choice for “The Golden Musical” the best that ever was (or will be.) Dave will also reveal how a spirited competition between Oscar Hammerstein II, Cole Porter, and Ira Gershwin guaranteed a Golden Age of hit shows.

    “Dave reeled the crowd in right away. His rapport was wonderful “ he really knew how to read them. He was professional, talented, and fun.”
    Amy Kennard, PJS Publications

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    Broadway’s Greatest Hits, Volume II: The Rest Of The Stories

    Dave’s original Great White Way program stops in the mid-1950′s, at the height of Broadway’s Golden Age. Now, the stories and songs continue. You’ll hear the very best of the past 50 years, including tales and tunes from The Music Man, West Side Story, The Sound Of Music, Camelot, Cats, Phantom Of The Opera, and Chicago. Also, as you have requested, Dave sings more Broadway audience favorites in their entirety.

    This program is a show-stopper!

    “A big thank you for your GREAT performance! You were also a terrific emcee and auctioneer!”
    Gail Mersbach, Northwood Woman’s Charities

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    Oscar Hammerstein: The “Rodney Daingerfield” Of Broadway

    Oscar Hammerstein won Oscars, Tonys, and even 2 Pulitzer Prizes. He wrote the books and lyrics for Show Boat, Oklahoma, South Pacific, The King And I, and The Sound Of Music. In large measure, he composed the songbook of our lives. And yet – throughout his career – even those who knew him best thought he was simply the beneficiary of a string of creative genius / writing partners. But, through this program, Dave demonstrates how Oscar epitomized the word “genius,” as characterized by Thomas Edison (10% inspiration – 90% perspiration.) Songs include “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Do Re Mi,” and “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.”

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    America’s Patriotic Melodies: The Stories Behind The Songs

    America’s treasury of heart-stirring patriotic songs will grow even more meaningful to audiences who hear Dave’s re-telling of the courageous, humorous, and even incredible stories behind their composing. From Yankee Doodle to God Bless America, with many stops in between, you’ll get to know the composers and their times, while discovering the common thread that unites these wonderful tunes: “American” ends in “I can.”

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    Big Band Saturday Night!

    A Celebration of the Swing Era’s Greatest Songs

    The decade prior to WW II was a time of fabulous orchestras (Glenn Miller, the Dorseys), outstanding composers (Hoagy Carmichael, George Gershwin), the finest lyricists ever (Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer), and singers whose talent and style made them legends (Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, et al.) Thrill again to Moonlight Serenade, Stardust, Night And Day, Sentimental Journey, and the stories of those who created “America’s Music.”

    “On behalf of all of us at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Inc., please accept our sincerest thanks. Rest assured, your name is at the top of our list.”
    Howard Mosher, CEO

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    Nashville: The Stories Behind The “Sound”

    The very name Nashville means Country Music around the world. Dave’s 9th and newest program takes you behind the scenes to meet the creative dynamos who turned the staid and proper “Athens of the South” into “Music City.” With songs, humor, and wardrobe straight from the Grand Ol’ Opry, Dave’s tour down Music Row introduces you the lives and songs of Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, and other Nashville legends.

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    Texas Attitude

    This is Dave’s most requested program. Dressed as every proper Long Tall Texan should be, and singing Texas songs literally from A to Z, Dave charts the growth and development of our unique Texas perspective on the world. With tales of the Alamo, Apaches, and “yes“ Aggies (and that’s just the “A”s!), Dave reflects the pride both native and adoptive Texans feel in our Lone Star State.

    “Words cannot express how grateful we are for your outstanding, professional, and overall superb performance.”

    Judy Houghton, Dr. Pepper Co.

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    America’s Gospel Treasury: The Stories Behind The Songs

    Slave ship captain John Newton composed Amazing Grace, after his prayer for deliverance from a storm miraculously changed his life. Horatio Spofford lost his family, yet could still write It Is Well With My Soul. Gospel favorites, spirituals, and hymns have offered both inspiration and consolation to millions. In this program, Dave will sing His Eye Is On The Sparrow, How Great Thou Art, and a dozen more sacred classics. Then you too will join in, for the singing of a Stamps-Baxter and Southern Gospel medley that includes: What A Friend We Have In Jesus, Leaning On The Everlasting Arms, I’ll Fly Away, and I Saw The Light. You are guaranteed to leave this program with a song in your heart and a smile on your face!

    “Your incredible talent went way beyond any of our expectations. Thanks also for being so accommodating.”

    Jamie Field, Event Planner

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    Songs Of The Greatest Generation

    Dave’s first music-only program, Songs Of The Greatest Generation is a concert of the tunes America sang during World War II (and ever since.) Some of these are Big Band favorites, like Chattanooga Choo Choo and I’ll Never Smile Again. Others, from Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy Of Company B</em>, to The White Cliffs Of Dover and Lili Marlene, evoke specific memories of those years of sacrifice and ultimate triumph. Patriotic melodies, including God Bless America and This Is My Country, are also on the bill, as are movie hits of the era (Laura, As Time Goes By).

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    “That’s What I Like About Texas!”

    When the Boy Scouts of America recently hosted an international convention at the Gaylord Resort, they called on a true Texan to emcee the proceedings – Dave Tanner.

    Dave not only is a Native Texan (5th generation), but he knows exactly what our non-Texan guests expect and want to see: that larger-than-life Long Tall Texan who embodies the Texas Myth. And that’s just what Dave gives them.

    Whether given as an after dinner speech, as part of a full evening of Texas Music (from Dave’s “Texas ProSession” band), or just sprinkled in between introductions as emcee, “That’s What I Like About Texas” is the ultimate visitor’s guide to the Lone Star State.

    “That’s What I Like About Texas” is…

  • Texas Music
    With an A to Z compendium of Texas songs and singers, from “Amarillo By Morning” to ZZ Top.

  • Texas Humor
    Everything from Aggie jokes to spoofing the way East Texans can stretch 3 syllables out of a word like “dirt,” all suitable for family audiences and told at our own expense. (We’re Texans, we love to laugh at ourselves.)

  • Texas Pride
    The story of Texas is filled with heroic men and women, colorful characters, and unforgettable tales of courage and sacrifice. From the pioneer families of the past to those who explore the new frontiers of space and medicine today, Texans are a fascinating people.
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    Christmas: The Stories Behind The Songs

    With this program, Dave will change forever the way you listen to the songs of the holiday season. Not only will you hear how Christmas music has evolved over the centuries, you’ll learn about the origins of our Christmas traditions as well. Many who have attended this program say they would gladly see it again and again, just to hear Dave describe the birth of Silent Night. (Program available from Thanksgiving until Christmas)

    “NEVER has a standing ovation been so deserved!”
    Oak Cliff Woman’s Club

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    The Stories And Songs Of Valentine’s Day

    If you’ve ever wondered who Valentine was, why he is a saint, why February 14th was named for him, and what he had to do with lovers (or even if you haven’t), this is the perfect February program! With sing-a-long sheets (so no one can say, “I didn’t know the words”), Dave traces the origins of this lovers’ holiday from pagan Rome through Shakespeare’s England, and all the way to the present. (Available February 1st – 14th)

    “You are such a quality act!”
    Brad Nelson, Lanier Voice Products

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    When Irish Eyes Are Smiling: Stories And Songs Of St. Patrick’s Day

    Dave’s most ambitious program (he plays 4 instruments, dances a jig, and speaks in a convincing Irish brogue), this is a loving tribute to Ireland and the Irish in all of us March 17th. Between choruses of Tura Lura Lura, and Danny Boy (lyrics provided), you’ll laugh at clean limericks, meet the original Patrick, and learn all about those Wee Folk, the Leprechauns. (Available March 1st – 17th)

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