By Veronica Puleo
As someone who has been in the event industry both as a viewer (literally, as I have been an event photographer with VeroFoto) and as the lead singer in a band, The Replicas, suffice it to say, I’ve seen events and event entertainment, from both sides now! From both vantage points, I’ve learned that a great event is about engaging the guests, getting a reaction, moving them both with design and emotion as with music that touches the soul and the heart.
Thinking this way, I was struck to begin to write about music as architecture for an event. So allow me to present the tenets of what it means to be a “Special Event Music Architect.”
This is the bare basics; the outline of a performance. For me, there is nothing that honors the beauty of the musical blueprint than an Acapella performance. For an event hosted by California Wedding Day, we did a version of “Royals” by Lourde with only me on stage in a wedding dress backed up by drums and another singer. The dress was mapped with a variety of images in a darkened room. As you can see in the photos above, there is so much that can be done with this idea.
While usually the performer stands still for the projection, if the budget is large enough, you can get the projection mapping to move with the performer as happened when Carrie Underwood applied this effect to her 2014 Grammy performance. A great effect!
Laying the Foundation
Typically, there is music at the beginning of any event. It lays the foundation, and along with wine, it lubricates the audience as an ice breaker, slowly easing them into the event. We like to suggest a trio for this – a singer and two guitarists perhaps.
The Interior Design
Now that the walls are up – what color will they be? What type of sofa, what’s the lighting like? This is what I think of when, as the musical architect, we begin to build the heart of the event – the showpiece. Will it be an 8-, 9- or 12-piece band? Will the band be background music or the main entertainment?
At The Special Event, even though the band was scheduled for cocktails, the organizer still wanted us to come out of the gate swinging with enough musical styles that would get any toe tapping. We hit everything from Grease and Journey to The Meters’ Hey Pocky Way.
Our forte is being able to add in the DNA of a song by layering in those pieces that will identify it as that song, that style. But what separates us from simply having a DJ play those songs is the human element. We also are able to then make that song our own by adding a few unexpected elements and engaging the audience.
Once you get past a six-piece band, you want to then build in more layers – another singer, a percussionist, maybe four guitars. It really depends on the look, the space, and what musical profile you are trying to build. If you want Southern rock, add more guitars. If you want a funk selection, add more horns and singers. And of course with modern pop music, you want the keyboards and the computerized, synthetic sound.
There are so many ways to go, but when the band is hot, all roads lead to the dance floor!