From gospel to show tunes, music sets the mood for any special event. If you're having a reunion barbecue, country tunes can have the whole clan line-dancing. Express your family pride with ethnic music or set the tone for a formal banquet with timeless classical performances. Whether you raise your voices in song or gather 'round to listen, music should be shared. Dazzle the family with your DJ skills and swap CDs to broaden your musical horizons. Invent a family song, perform in a lip-synch contest, or march in the family band; there's a fun-filled music activity here for everyone.
- Find out what types of music the family likes to play and listen to. Ask guests to send in top 10 lists, have a family anthem contest, or invite family members to submit favorite pieces they would like to play or sing together.
- Purchase music to establish a mood or express a theme. Look in record stores or at online retailer CDNow or music retailer Tower Records for all kinds of music.
Sing a song of the Smith family. Compose an original family song or write your own lyrics to a popular tune. Glorify an ancestor, tell of a grand family romance, or celebrate your ethnic heritage in song. Could there be a Cole Porter or Paul McCartney in your family? Find out -- have a family song-writing contest. If the muse doesn't strike, go to the online company Keepsake Family Moments, which will write a song for you (including lyric sheet and tape or CD). Budding directors and pop stars might enjoy making family music videos to be shown at the reunion.
- If you write a family song (or have one written), make a tape and send out copies so that everyone can learn the song before the big event.
- For a songwriting contest, send out rules, such as how long the song should be, and suggestions for subject matter.
- People can either sing their song at the reunion or send in tapes to be played. Let the rest of the family vote for their favorite.
- Ask people to bring their family music videos, too.
Make a joyful noise by having a sing-along. Sing folk songs, ethnic songs, pop songs -- any kind of songs, as long as you sing together. Share your heritage with music; teach everyone songs in the mother tongue. Think globally; include international folk songs and have a multicultural sing-along. Appoint a family choirmaster to lead you in song, or hire someone from a local college or music school. Choose a program and send out the music for people to learn before the reunion. For a less formal sing-along, distribute lyric sheets to popular songs like "Yankee Doodle" and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." You can assemble your favorites in a family songbook.
- Appoint a choirmaster or hire one.
- Decide on a program.
- Buy tapes or CDs of ethnic music. Look for ethnic music in music stores and at music retailer Tower Records.
- Transliterate lyrics to ethnic music so that guests can sing along.
- Send out lyrics and tapes.
- Make copies of popular song lyrics for an informal sing-along.
- Look for songs in music stores and at online retailer CD Now.
You'll always have a song in your heart with a family songbook. Ask everyone to send in favorite songs. Put lyrics and sheet music in a binder or folder with a tape or CD. Write down who chose which song and include family pictures. Songbooks can be used for sing-alongs and party favors.
- Have guests send in a tape or CD of their favorite song, with lyrics and sheet music.
- Assemble a tape of all the songs and make copies.
- Copy the lyrics and sheet music, and put them in decorated or personalized binders or folders (Marnex Products has customized binders and folders).
Continued on page 7: Music, part 2