By Gershon Veroba
Like anyone else working 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. Still, 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 of the many times you tried the same thing 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 with or perform for a wedding client or when I direct a performer in the studio, the first thing I turn to in order to maximize success is my past experience. After all, the person or group I’m working with came to me because of my experience, so not utilizing 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, caterer, planner, or photographer to understand the joy of benefiting from those services performed well. The more familiar a client is with the service he or she is receiving, the more precisely he can define what he wants from the expert he hired. With this stress reduced, the client is comfortable knowing he will get the most value for his 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 learn about music and sound. After it is explained, clients will clearly be more relaxed and agreeable because they now have the confidence 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 one’s expertise 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 throw 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. While singing, I often compare it to landing a plane, in order to evoke landing 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 a moment’s notice, without the need 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 in 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 I’m 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 a video. Almost everyone has something to ask or contribute when discussing entertainment. For me, it not only makes great conversation, 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 advanced more in the last 10 years than I witnessed in at least the previous 30. Musicians, singers, planners, caterers, and photo and video pros have opened their eyes, 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 advances, 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 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 expertise. 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 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’ve 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 e-mail 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!
Gershon Veroba has lived in the Five Towns/Far Rockaway area for over 30 years. A composer, producer, musician, and singer since childhood, Gershon has been featured by 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 and appeared on over 100 albums, including over a dozen of his own, and in concerts and festivals 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. The owner and editor-in-chief of the first Jewish Community Magazine until 1995, Gershon is now a contributing writer for the 5TJT. Visit GMajorEvents.com for information, videos, and social media. For more on Gershon, visit Veroba.net.