Friday, January 6, 2012

The Wedding Singer Wannabe

Last week Seth and I attended a fabulous-in-all-ways wedding at which there was a live band and not a DJ.

A band seems to have become a bit of a rarity these days.

There are cases to be made for both.
What a voice!

Since it might be a challenge to get the actual Steve Perry to sing "Don't Stop Believing" at your wedding, it's nice to be able to fist pump to the original. Yet a band, when good, is a huge treat.

Such was the case last week. 

This band, representing The Ken Gross Orchestras which has a huge roster of bands (and apparently infinite genres of music to suit any taste) was pure magic. Sax, trumpets, guitars, drums, keyboard and a sultry, slinky little feral beast of a singer were absolutely fabulous, providing sufficient entertainment to distract me from a vast "dessert room" in which Frangelico was being served in little chocolate cups.
Thanks, I don't mind if I do...

Rooted to my chair for the beginning of the reception as a result of having slugged down way too much champagne during cocktail hour, I spent a good portion of my time miffed about the cosmic mix-up that had somehow managed to give the wedding singer the body that was obviously meant for me (lean and bitchin') while I received the body intended for her (round).

If I had that smokin' figure and looked like that in a sleek little dress, I, too, might have had the temerity to drape myself over a microphone and sing "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" just like she did.

Instead, envious and slightly bitter, I poked at my meal as, in my mind, I stood in her place--purring a melody out into the crowd of wedding guests, some dancing, some eating, some -- perhaps -- entertaining similar fantasies to mine as I polished off the risotto first course.
The Duke.

The band itself, was superb. Eight pieces and all strong musicians as their solos repeatedly proved, these men could play.

And the repertoire, chosen by the young and stylish bride and groom*, was almost exclusively retro -- Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, moving up to the Motown era. This pleased everyone from the hipsters to the support-hose demographic.

The singing duties were shared by the little dominatrix at the mike and the lead guitar player who effortlessly sang Sinatra, Louie Armstrong, Marvin Gaye and Barry White
In other words--the music was perfect.
Ooh la la.

This point was proven when I visited the ladies room to be greeted by a tired attendant who, sitting protectively close to her tip jar while folding towels, looked up -- unsolicted -- to tell me how much she was enjoying the music. "Sometimes," said she, "all I hear in here is THUMP THUMP THUMP! This is a nice change."

While she was an AARP card carrier, the same sentiment was expressed by the young waitress who hovered over our table. In her early 20's and able to refold a dinner napkin at the speed of light, she too mentioned how much she was enjoying the music.

While it's, no doubt, a job -- in every sense of the word -- to the band, they certainly made it look like huge fun. I'm sure there are better nights than others but how could it not be fun and amazingly cathartic to, on a good night, belt out songs for a living?

Why couldn't I have been a wedding singer, dammit?

Well, let's begin with the most basic fact--I cannot sing. This, however, did not stop me from loudly performing my own renditions of every song I could remember from the evening's set lists as poor Seth cowered, unsuccessfully trying to wad up toll receipts to use as earplugs.

Unstoppable and merciless, I sang on.

If I couldn't be a real wedding singer, commanding the room with a sweep of a perfectly manicured hand and a flutter of my eyelashes, I was damn well going to fill the car with my own horrific, off key inimitable song-stylings.

So I did. All the way home.

I have already filed the necessary papers with the powers of the universe to be a wedding singer in my next life. 

Speaking of Steve Perry and weddings, this is -- in my humble opinion -- the single most romantic song ever recorded. I will perform it at your wedding if you'd like. Free.

* Many congratulations to Cara and Nick!!!


  1. I'm a wedding singer wannabe too. This blog made me laugh out loud. Thanks.

  2. I love all that music. Motown, especially. Duke Ellington and Armstrong too. I would like to have heard that band.

  3. When aren't you bitter and envious?

  4. Was the band "Bock and Blu?" If so, I agree that they are fantastic - all are actually professional musicians and the band is their "fun".

  5. Was the band "Bock and Blu?" If so, I agree that they are fantastic - all are actually professional musicians and the band is their "fun".

  6. Thank you, Claire! Maybe we could perform a duet?

  7. You would have enjoyed them, Calvin. Thank you so much for reading today!

  8. Tha answer to that question, Sharona is: Nev-ah!

  9. Megan, I am very, very sorry to say that I was so tipsified that I don't remember their name but it was not Bock and Blu. I promise to find out and will post it here.

    Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  10. I love, love, love bands at weddings. Both of my cousins humungous shindigs back in the 80s had terrific bands who plays all kinds of music. It was so much fun as a kid, and the parents and grandparents enjoyed it too.

    And I LOVE that movie, BTW. It's one of my faves.

  11. Hey, Alicia! You would have loved these guys. They put on a great show. I love the movie, too!

    Thanks for visiting!

  12. I LOVE singing in the car, I even love when you pull up to a light and you are singing with some steering wheel drum action and the people in the car next to you are wondering what song you are singing as they look over in curiosity. I'm not real big on realizing the window is down and they are not looking in curiosity, but some combination of horror and shock all the while playing a trivia game trying to be the first to correctly identify the song you are butchering so badly that it is unrecognizable.

    Very funny post.

    I may have to elaborate on my comment in a blog...


  13. Scott, I am very familiar with the singing-in-the-car-drimming-window-open syndrome. I haver frightened dozens in the past month alone with my rendition of "Stayin' Alive."

    Glad you enjoyed the post...looking forward to your elaboration!

  14. The cats get upset when I sing... sigh... everyone's a critic!

  15. Mine, too, Janet...but I don'y care. It's a small sacrifice to make for a lifetime of catnip.

  16. Susan, Yes, that band was fabulous!!! Before I left, I went over and told the songbird how graat she and the group were. How deversified they were. Outstanding!!!!! They were all unique, and any one of them alone would have stole the show, Together they were like Fort Knox! Solid Gold!

    You must have been very close to us, as our young Haitian server also refolded napkins like lightning.

    Those guys who played as guests, played at our wedding 46 years ago.

    And Cara and Nick - a sweet charming couple. Glad to be a part of their extended family.

  17. Hi, Freddie! I agree---solid gold! And wasn't tat wedding fabulous! Did you get powdered sugar from the zeppole all over the car on the way home? We did!

    My favorite part was the guest performers...Cara's uncle and grandpa!

    Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to leave me a comment!

  18. Hi everyone - That was my own personal group, "The Ken Gross Orchestra". Please visit our website ( and click on "Promo Codes" for money saving discounts!

  19. Hi, Ken...does that mean that you were playing in that group? Were you lead trumpet?
    That was such a great night...and I will include your info in an actual post on Friday.

  20. Indeed, the trumpet was I. (Of course there was also the guest who played trumpet.)

  21. Ken, so nice of you to let the Hilton Brothers join in.

    Grandpa Art on guitar, Uncle John on guitar, Uncle Bob on keyboard, Uncle Larry on trumpet.

  22. If a client wants a guest to perform, then why should I object? After all, if he's good, then we've done a good thing. And if he's not so good -- well, then everyone understands that he's not one of mine, so it really doesn't reflect on me. In the meantime and we've pleased the client.

    In this case, The Hilton Brothers Band was fantastic and a joy to listen to. I'm a good trumpet player and I'll tell you, Uncle Larry is pretty good as well!

  23. Fred and Ken, I am just so happy to have been the to enjoy all the fun and great music!

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