(As featured in the 5 Towns Jewish Times, 8/31/18)
by Gershon Veroba
Like anyone else working the in the same field for a long time, I’ve learned a lot and I am still learning more than I could ever share in a space like this, but it’s worth a try, so thank you for “tuning in.”
Experience can be good for many things, like anecdotes and on-the-job training, but it also provides perspective. Approaching a task while recalling the results from the many times you tried it gives you the chance to maximize your success by making better decisions. If you have limited experience in building a house, running a political campaign or (gasp) making a wedding, wouldn’t you be best advised to consult with professionals to get it right?
When I consult and perform for a wedding client or when I direct a performer in the studio, the first thing I turn to is my past experience to achieve the most success. After all, the person or group I’m working with came to me because of that experience so not using it just doesn’t make sense. They know I’ve seen what works and what fails. This is the reason we all hire experts, to benefit from something they specialize in… The event a client considers “once in a lifetime” is something the professional has done many times.
A person does not have to be a musician, a caterer, a planner or photographer to understand the joy of benefiting from those services performed well. When the client becomes more familiar with the services they’re receiving, they can define more precisely what they want to the experts they hired. With this stress reduced, the client is comfortable knowing they will get the most value for their money and that “it’s all taken care of.”
Whether or not you understand music on any technical level, there are still a few key insights that anyone can understand when it comes to music and sound, but many don’t know. After explaining, they are clearly more relaxed and agreeable because they are now more confident to ask questions and are more familiar with the service they’re paying for.
I actually enjoy educating the people I work with. The “teacher” in many of us gets a great sense of satisfaction sharing your experience with people and seeing them succeed when they use it. Appreciation can be the ultimate reward. Some don’t need that, but I’m in showbiz, so that makes me an applause kind of guy. Entertainers love appreciation, so I try to invest a little more to get it. I personally thrown in a few extra insights, if I have them, because I find it often becomes useful later in the project.
This has come in handy while working with vocal students, for example. I often cite the scenario of “landing a plane” while singing in order to land on a note gently and on key. Once I plant that thought, I can easily refer back to it by saying “ok…now land the plane…” to remind them at moment’s notice, without the need to to distract from the moment by introducing a new concept. Let’s call it “advance training.”
To me, an event client is no different. I was always a big fan of Sy Syms, a”h, who was famous for the slogan, “an educated consumer is our best customer.” Offering some super-basic advance training on what makes a great band or helping them ask the right questions can only make my job easier and the client happier. Many clients, for instance, benefit from knowing why I’m recommending to include the sax to their band before adding a violin or how a sound company can make the music better, not louder. If I have the proper experience, I can explain these things briefly and clearly.
Whether talking to friends on the sidewalk or responding to strangers from a podium, it’s always refreshing when people express an interest in my views of the business I’m in. I like making sense of the entertainment they get from the car radio, the bandstand or in videos. Almost everyone has something to ask or contribute when discussing entertainment. For me, it not only makes great conversation, but it gives me a chance to finally share the lessons I’ve learned in a career to which I’ve dedicated my life.
I can honestly say with whatever authority I’ve earned over time that the industries of Jewish entertainment and hospitality have all advanced more in the last 10 years than I ever witnessed in at least the previous 30. Musicians, singers, planners, caterers, photo and video pros have opened their eyes more than ever, embraced new styles and technologies, pushed the boundaries and have been enjoying unprecedented acceptance from the new generations in the Jewish communities here and around the world. Knowing how to benefit from these advancements, however, often requires professional guidance, probably more today than ever before.
“Expertise” is specifically the result of “experience” and it’s ultimately what makes an “expert.” All you torah scholars will recognize the common shoresh (root) in those three words. It’s a source of pride to have gone through the experiences I’ve had in my career and to connect with great professionals I can rely on for their own accumulated lines of specialty. I can’t think of any life besides entertainment that provides more excitement and drama, except working undercover for the CIA or perhaps interstate trucking. For good and bad, I’ve worked with the best and worst, learned from success and mistakes and played a part in people’s happiness.
I’ve learned a lot about getting attention and how to please an audience. Just give them a carefully-crafted combination of what they want and what you’re good at. Sure, I know… entertainers are show-offs. I’m one of them. But even caterers, planners and all those other vendors at the event are entertainers, too so why not take advantage of their expertise as well and let them show off for you? They been practicing a long time for it.
Find that professional you are convinced will work hard to please you and they can save you money, trouble and time. They call it a simcha for a reason, so stay happy!
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to comment or suggest topics. You can also post comments on facebook.com/gmajorevents, where this article is also posted. Thank you for listening!
Next time: “The Evolution: What Happened To Jewish Music?”
Gershon Veroba has lived in the 5 Towns/Far Rockaway area for over 30 years. A composer, producer, musician and singer since childhood, Gershon has been featured by most most major wedding bands since 1980. As a solo artist, he’s performed on stage and in the studio with the most popular Jewish performers. He has produced & appeared on over a hundred albums, including over a dozen of his own, in concerts and festivals in around the world, including the annual Rockami shows in Jerusalem until 2012. His company, Town 6 Entertainment Corp., provides music and video production services worldwide, now featuring G-Major Events, an orchestra and event planning company for weddings and other personal occasions.