We’re often hired to play for a banquet, reception or other corporate event. We know we'll provide ambient music, setting the atmosphere in the background. We’re not center stage.
So when the activities director at a senior living community asked us to play for a wine-and-cheese happy hour, we expected to play Great American Songbook and ‘50s/’60s music while people milled about and visited. We set up in a corner with just enough amplification to be heard.
And then the residents began filing in. The staff poured wine and offered plates of hors d’oeurves. We played our first piece, an uptempo Bach minuet, and as we finished realized people had arranged their chairs into a semi-circle facing us. Happy hour had become a salon concert. Or, probably, it was always intended to be.
We switched gears. We introduced each song and conversed with our listeners. When we came to a Sinatra song, one lady said, “I sat at a table with him at the Flamingo.” We had to find out about that.
It was great fun. We played a few minutes longer than scheduled, and our unexpected audience even sang along to “Over the Rainbow.” We’ll take this kind of happy hour anytime.