Successful Corporate Events

Light At The End Of The Tunnel? 

We've been on a long, frustrating and in some unfortunate cases, tragic journey through the last year.  This has put a lot of events on hold.  Which is understandable.  As a jazz band located in the Tampa Bay area, we've had many, many events postponed or outright cancelled. 

However, in Florida at least, it looks like there is light at the end of the tunnel.  The vaccines have been being administered to the most vulnerable of our population, which is the elderly.  We sometimes perform at retirement facilities and one for one, we find that the entire population there has received the vaccine. Since the vast majority of the fatalities of this virus have been +70, this is great news.

Also the deaths and positive cases in Florida have fallen quite a bit from the  fall.  This doesn't mean that we're out of the woods just yet; however it shows that  we are likely over the hump.

So now is the time to plan that event that you've been putting off for so long!  If you live in the Tampa Bay area or in the surrounding counties of Hillsborough and Pasco and need a jazz band or solo jazz performer as a jazz band based here, we can help.

We'll help your next even be a real success!

Have a Great St. Patty's Day Event 

 

St. Patrick's day is coming soon on March 17th.  As a jazz band from Tampa Bay, we've performed at many St. Patty's Day events.   With a few modifications there's no reason to abandon this tradition this year.   Here's some tips for having a great event:

As weather is nice in the spring typically in Fl, plan your event outside.   If yours is a corporate event, consider renting the space outside of a ballroom in a hotel.   You could check your guests in in that room and guide them to join the main festivities outside.  This way everyone will feel safe and will tend to naturally social distance.

If your event is much less formal,  go with a spacious back yard or even in a park.  Decorate the tables with green, pots of gold snacks and Leprechauns. 

If part of your event will be held inside, consider having St. Patrick's Day masks.  This way your guests will be following necessary protocols and still having fun.  Here's a link for these:

https://www.amazon.com/50Pack-Patricks-Disposable-Adults-Irish/dp/B08SQN74YR/ref=sr_1_3_sspa?dchild=1&keywords=St.+Patrick%27s+day+mask&qid=1614015348&sr=8-3-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExODhLUE1FMVVaWTFCJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMDkzNzkzM0lVTzlOSU9LRFlMUiZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwODUyMTQ2MVY3S085RTZDV1MzTSZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=

As is tradition, encourage everyone to wear green.  Include the green theme throughout with snacks, cookies and even green ice cream. 

If you want to really get your guest's heads to turn, consider creating green beer!  Here's how to create it  https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a26413547/green-beer-st-patricks-day-recipe/

Follow festive decorations and maybe hide a pot of gold for your guests to find.

Stay Safe but remember to also Have Fun!

Happy St. Patty's Day! 

 

 

Valentine's Day Backyard Bash Tips  

Valentine's Day is approaching. 

Perhaps you're thinking of inviting a few people over for a safe and enjoyable celebration.  Here's a few tips that will make the event a lot of fun. 

Make a great visual impression on your guests as they enter your home by decorating using pinks and reds, along lots of hearts.  Streamers, table cloths and balloons can create the Valentine's Day vibe you want.

To make sure that everyone is safe, have a tray at the door with some decorative red and pink masks available.  Here's a link with some reasonably priced Valentine's Day themed disposable masks that you can make available to your guests:

https://www.amazon.com/Stock%E3%80%9150Pcs-Valentines-Disposable-Elastic-Coverings/dp/B08N67FCT4

Next in Florida we're blessed with typically mild winters, (with some recent exceptions BRR!)  that make it possible to have events outside.  So plan to have your event in a backyard or covered patio.  As a jazz band in the Tampa area, we've performed at many such events.  In this way your guests will naturally social distance, rather than being crammed into a room inside of the home.

A jazz band based in the Tampa area is a great addition to your party.  Have them play romantic favorites in the background to set just the right mood.

Serve a full dinner or just snacks along with heart shaped cookies or candies.

With these ideas, your guests will leave with great memories.  Everyone will be safe and still have fun!

 

How To Have a Safe Event During This Time  

 

Despite the pandemic, many people are continuing to put on safe  events incorporating jazz in the Tampa Fl area.   The difference is that they are taking creative precautions that allow their guests to have fun, but most importantly, stay safe.

One key part of the strategy is to have the event outside.  We're blessed to be in a warm weather state.  With some notable exceptions, it's mostly comfortable outside, even in winter.  So we can start with that as a foundation.

Have the seats and tables for your guests separated.  This creates natural social distancing without being overly obvious.  

As masks are an important part of virus prevention, they are a must.  However, they needn't be the drab white hospital like variety.  One client recently had a plate of decorative, chic masks  at the door.  They were black and gold.  Guests were able to each take one.  This had the double benefit of making the idea of mask wearing fun, while creating a unique look for the entire group.

Another idea is to go "all in" on the idea of masks.  Since we all have to wear masks, why not wear fun masks?  I've seen some hosts make it a contest with their guests on who can wear the most creative and fun mask.

If there is food, consider calling up small groups from specific tables so that there is no crowding to get it.  Have the band set up away from the general crowd.

So in conclusion,  is it possible to have events during this time?  The answer is "yes".  It's just necessary to use a bit of foresight and creativity.  Then everyone can have a good time while staying safe!

Make Your Next Event a "Mardi Gras" 




One of the most fun event themes that we've seen as a jazz band performing for corporate events around Los Angeles is the Mardi Gras idea. Just saying "Mardi Gras" conjures up a fun time and image.

Technically Mardi Gras is the celebration that happens on the Tuesday before the religious observation of Lenten. It's a time for revelry and indulgence prior to a period of fasting. However, people celebrate the idea of Mardi Gras year round.

To start, create invitations or announcements that reflect this theme. The colors associated with Mardi Gras are gold, purple and green. These colors represent justice, faith and power by the way. Include those colors in any promotional materials. Adding graphics of beads and masks and you're on your way.

For the event you'll need some New Orleans style jazz. We've performed with bass, sax, keyboard and drums for events like this. Vocals are a plus too. Make sure that the band leader has the correct styles and songs to fit the event motif. You want rocking upbeat celebratory jazz.

During the event you can create fun games for people to "win" beads, give a prize for the best costume and create other types of group participation.

If you like, include cuisine from the area for the total package. With that, your guests will feel like they're right on Bourbon Street having great time!

Here's a link to one of the many suppliers of masks, beads and other stuff to make your Mardi Gras event a real hit.

www.orientaltrading.com/1/3/mardi-gras-party-supplies

Top Five Tips For A Great Backyard Party 



It's funny how little things can either make or break a party. Sometimes, what might seem to be obviously important points can be missed or neglected. The result is a party that's a bit off. Here are our top five backyard party tips:

1.  If your party is going to go into the evening, make sure that you have adequate lighting. We always carry our own for music reading, but your guests will enjoy themselves more if they can clearly see each other after sundown! It's really interesting how this point is often missed.

2. In Southern California it can get a bit cool after dark even in the spring and sometimes early summer. Nothing puts a "chill" on your party like cold guests. Portable outside heaters can be rented from party planning establishments.

3. Discuss with the band leader the demographics of your guests and plan out the music. If your party is to celebrate an individual for a birthday or accomplishment, add some songs that you know that they'll like, or at least the style that they favor. Do your guests want to dance too? Make sure that the musicians can adopt to the "vibe" of the event and change on a dime if they have to.

4. Band placement can be important. In many backyard parties the party is really outside and inside the home. It's a good idea to place the band where the music will entertain both segments of guests.

5. Make sure that there are trash receptacles readily available outside. I can't tell you how many times we've seen guests walking around with empty plates and cups wondering where to dispose of them.

Keep those points in and have a rocking party!


Roaring Twenties Event Theme 






Looking for a unique and memorable theme for your event that is almost guaranteed to make it a lot of fun? How about a Roaring Twenties party?

The Roaring Twenties, even today, almost 100 years later, are remembered as a time of great social change and most importantly FUN!

Dancing, socializing, great nightlife and Jazz were the order of the day.  Even mentioning the "Roaring Twenties" conjures partying. So this as a theme can make a mundane quarterly meeting or annual convention really jump!

At a minimum you'd want to encourage your guests to dress in the period. It's relatively easy to find costumes and accessories for both men and women to create an authentic touch. Here's a website that I found that specializes in Roaring Twenties events and supplies:

www.dinnerandamurder.com/themes/1920s.htm

Jazz was a big part of the Roaring Twenties, so you'll need a Jazz band that knows songs from the era. Have the band dress in tuxedos.   Have the band keep the music lively, in keeping with the era.

If you've got the budget, add a dance instructor to help everyone learn the Charleston.  How about an award for best costume?  Add more period touches to the venue and transport your guests back to the time when things were really "Roaring!"

 

Who Gets the "Oscar" At Your Event? 




My last post about performing around Los Angeles as the piano player "Sam" for corporate events reminded me of another successful theme for your next event.

How about "The Academy Awards" for your company?

This can be really easy to put on and fun too. Imitation "Oscars" can be purchased inexpensively. Here's the location of one vendor I found by Googling "imitation Oscar". They were about $10 each.

www.hollywoodmegastore.com/frame-set3.htm

The next step could involve a little creativity. Instead of "Best Actor" how about "Best Handler of a Catastrophe"? This would be followed by the person coming up on stage to receive the award and perhaps speak a bit about how he handled the time shipping was really late or whatever. He could share a funny story.

Of course you can simply give out awards that your company normally would and skip the jokes. Sometimes that is best as it fits the company image better.

One of the keys to the evening is to have either a solo pianist or band play some classy "Academy Awards" music as your winners come up to receive their awards and as they leave. This mimics the famous broadcasts. I remember one attendee coming up to me after the event to state "I almost cried when I heard the music for the winners." It adds just the right touch.

Everyone should be dressed in evening clothes. If you can afford it, hire a couple "paparazzi" and have a red carpet before entering the event hall. Attendees could be presented with pictures of them arriving and of their acceptance of their "Oscar".

I can tell you as a piano player who has performed for many corporate events and parties in Los Angeles, your staff will love it and remember it for years.

Casablanca Theme For Your Event 

 


Let's face it.  Meetings can be boring.  Despite our best efforts to be enthusiastic, staffs have attended numerous events that are really similar. People tend to tune out.  How do you combat this?

Create a theme!  A Casablanca themed event is a great choice and can be done on a variety of budgets.

You'll at minimum need a piano, a "Sam" and if budget permits a "Bogie".  Sam has to be able to play "As Time Goes By" of course!  Add some period touches and you're all set.

I performed at one event where there were cigarette girls, hostesses in period dress and a "Bacall" to be on the arm of the "Bogie".  Others have had card tables where people gambled with play money in evening clothes.  You can take it as far as you like.

From this point you can mix the theme throughout your entire event.  Use it as a reference from the podium and in touches at the tables and announcements.

Encourage your attendees to dress in the period from the movie and you've changed another boring annual sales meeting into a memorable occasion.

 If you're planning a Casablanca party in the Los Angeles area and you need a piano player who can be "Sam", let me know.  I always like hearing someone say 
"Play it again, Sam."







Roger Harrison as "Sam"

Top Ten Event Planning Tips 



Here's a copy of a blog from http://saltsolutions.blogspot.com that I thought would be great to pass on.

TOP TEN TIPS FOR EVENT PLANNING...
Key elements for consideration before you start planning any event.


1. Key Objectives

•Be sure to set out and understand the objectives of the event.
•Consider what you are trying to achieve and how you will achieve this?
•Who are you trying to target and where do you need to be to reach them?
•Be sure to identify the the unique selling point (USP) of your event and make sure you shout about it when marketing and advertising!
•Be original - don’t aim to copy other similar events.

2. Budget

•Decide on your budget and set it out in an easy to follow format. A simple Excel spreadsheet is more than adequate for this.
•Keep this budget sheet up to date and review regularly.
•Carry out a cost analysis to establish how much of the budget needs to be allocated to specific tasks. It’s no use planning a gala dinner dance if you have allocated 75% of your budget to the entertainer and then can’t afford to feed all of the guests.
•Be sure to set aside an element of the budget as a contingency – (approx 10% should be sufficient).

3. Team

•Establish a Planning Team and nominate one person as Project Manager to coordinate and oversee the progress and budget planning.
•Make sure everyone else knows who this person is and ask them to provide regular updates on their activities to the Project Manager.
•Agree a schedule of regular planning meetings. Make sure these meetings are minuted and clear action points assigned.
•Be certain to allocate timelines to each activity and set clear deadlines to avoid any creep in the overall project timeline.

4. Venue

•Compile a list of venue ‘must haves’ and appoint one person to research suitable venues.
•Be sure to check availability dates, seating and catering capacity, facilities and parking and any other events that might be taking place on the same day.
•Produce a shortlist for inspection and book the venue before announcing any dates to your attendees
5. Action Plan

•Set out key procedures for the following;
•Advertising/Ticket processing.
•Invitations/Location Map/Parking Permits
•Dress Code/Theme
•Delegate/Guest arrival and/or registration.
•Managing entertainers/speakers/sponsors/exhibitors and guests.
6. Catering

•Source caterer and ask for referrals from previous satisfied clients.
•Wherever possible ask to attend a tasting before making your final choice from the menus available
•Make sure they can accommodate the date you require.
•Establish menu and any special diet menus.
•Check available facilities for catering at venue.
•Agree timings and numbers of servers with caterers. Hire additional staff if necessary.
•Keep caterer up to date with guest numbers and dietary requirements.

7. Guests/Delegates

•Ensure all guests receive tickets/passes/parking permits in advance of the event.
•Check for any special dietary requirements.
•Check parking and accessibility for any wheelchair users, disabled or infirm.

8. Entertainment/Speakers

•Secure any entertainment, special guests or keynote speakers early on to avoid disappointment.
•Make sure the venue can accommodate their set up requirements.
•Check any licence requirements for the type of entertainment you are planning.
•Provide all entertainers/speakers with a clear itinerary of how the event will progress. Make sure they understand what is expected of them, at what time, and for how long.

9. Check, Double Check and Check again.

•Use checklists, plan ahead and don’t leave anything to the last minute
•Always double check rather than guess.
•Make sure that all bookings with caterers, entertainers, flower arrangers, key speakers are confirmed in writing and always, wherever possible, hold back a final balance payment until they arrive at the venue on the day.

10. On The Day

•Make sure that one person is ‘in charge’ on the day.
•Be sure to signpost the venue well so that guests/delegates understand where they need to go.
•Issue badges or coloured bands to identify guests or groups and manage numbers from a Health & Safety aspect.
•You could either use the services of an Event Coordinator or nominate a member of your team as the point of contact for all onsite staff, contractors, caterers etc. Whoever you decide to use it is vital that you have one person who can stage manage every aspect of the ‘on the day’ activity.