Not to Impress, But to Bless
I highly recommend playing music when you host a gathering. I must confess that probably 50% of the time, I forget, which is a shame, because the right music can add so much to setting the mood.
Let me tell you some of the ways that we have used music when we have opened our home to guests.
We have had background music playing, using CD's in our own collection.
Background music that is soothing and beautiful helps your guests to unwind and begin to enjoy themselves. I have sometimes played classical music--Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" at a tea, Handel's "Messiah" at a Christmas breakfast, a collection of Mozart or Beethoven at a dinner. I have also played instrumental or vocal hymn collections. One of my favorite CD's (for entertaining or for my own listening pleasure) is The Best of Classical Praise, a lovely collection of hymns played on piano and strings, some of which are artfully blended with classical pieces. Gorgeous.
We have used online music streaming, such as Grooveshark.
Oh what fun we have had with Grooveshark! (Of course, there is lots of unsavory music out there, so be sure to have a responsible adult in charge of the playlist.)
It began at a New Year's Eve family get-together when Bekah wanted us to hear Poirot's theme song. Then someone else wanted to hear a song, and then another, and before we knew it, we spent the evening singing and dancing to everything from "Arthur's Library Card" to "It's a Wonderful World" to "Who Let the Dogs Out?" to "The Chicken Dance!"
~ We used Grooveshark to play French café music at Bekah's French-themed birthday party.
~ One Mother's Day, we had each mother choose four songs for the playlist. There was lots of lovely music played that afternoon, and we enjoyed the generational variety. It was such a hit, we did the same on Father's Day.
~ We choose theme music for birthday parties. Songs from the 30's for the Vintage Kitchen Birthday Party. Big band music for my dad's recent 75th birthday party.
Occasionally, we have live music!
~ We have had family sing-alongs...evenings when we gather for an informal meal (like a fondue dinner) and my pianist niece Amy plays song after song after song as we sing together. (Non-singers listen in, or chat in another room.)
~ We sing a Thanksgiving hymn together before praying the blessing on Thanksgiving Day. Bekah is our accompanist for this.
~ Last year, we had two families over for dinner and one of the ladies asked ahead of time if we could sing some hymns. So we borrowed some hymnals from church and had a wonderful time of worshipful singing and fellowship.
Do you use music when you host a gathering?