Costume Rock -3yr- Opera Tenor
Cindy in Madison, WI USA
My son attends an arts preschool and loves to sing. So do his friends. His birthday is on Halloween - so we decided to host a party, with little kids in costume - with the intention of recording the kids singing acapella or with background vocals/music(solos, duets with siblings and group)on a CD. We would rent professional equipment, create a CD cover shot, record and edit the songs. We had always wanted to memorialize our sons sweet voice, in fact, and guessed that his friends parents would love a CD with their little ones voices on it too. But, I am getting ahead of myself.
We sent out cute monster invitations designed by itty bitty, that had little plastic spiders dangling on the side Calling all cowboys one day after I returned from a trip out of the country with my ailing mother. I knew I would not have time to ready our house so I decided to make it easy and arrange for the event to be held at a club - before I left on the trip. We decided to host a "bewitching costume brunch" and then invite the kids to another area of the club - via a "red" carpet - for the recording session. We organized a dozen staff members each equipped with flash cameras to act as the "paparazzi". They took pictures of the dazzled kids and their parents as they said "look over here spiderman hello snow white-can you look over here?" The kids giggled and hammed it up for the cameras.
The bewitching brunch began at about 11 am. I arrived with friends early and set up each round table with balloon bouquets ghoulish halloween candy strewn and plastic spiders on the tables and placed felt halloween treat bags decorated like monsters witches ghosts or pumpkins (and with the childs name on it) at each childs place setting. I had monster sippy cups filled them with apple or orange juice and set them at each childs place setting. We hosted about 50 parents and kids that afternoon. I had made up fun brunch menus with halloween characters and chilling fonts. At my request the staff dressed up in costume and to my surprise so did all the parents. The kids ranged in age from 2 to 14 - and they were precious.
Since the day was going to be all about music and the children have been exposed to many styles of music at school I thought that it might be fun to introduce them to another style that is central to our family. My brother (the birthday boys godfather) is a professional opera tenor from LA. He created a short performance-geared to little kids to introduce them to the story and music of opera. He had them come up to the front of the room just before dessert and in a storytellers voice - shared an the story of his favorite opera (comedy and light for the kids). Then he passed out scarves and had the kids perform with him as he sang the first solo. The kids loved it and cheered.
He then sang my favorite song written for tenors Be My Love (an old Mario Lanza song)and explained to the kids that opera is all about human emotion - the most powerful of which is love. There was more to the discussion - but it was really sweet. Then he sings - and there was not a dry eye in the place. My son absolutely loves all kinds of music but especially loves to hear his uncle sing. He beamed.
Everyone then gathered their things and went down a grand staircase (great photo ops)and down the hall were I had placed a long red carpet and the "paparazzi" were waiting. The staff told me they tried to stay in character but could not help exchanging glances and giggling amused and delighted as each adorable kid came down the aisle. At the end of the red carpet I had an actor friend holding the microphone interview each child or family for the CD in the style of Joan Rivers. "You look fabulous today who are you wearing? Gymboree? Starfish and Dreams? She would ask them who was their favorite superhero? Do they perfer Ernie or Bert? It was really cute. The room we chose for the recording is all wood paneled with small round tables that I decorated with balloons of different shapes: witches goblins monsters and little plastic pumpkins with candy.
I used Shindigz wall art to create the look of a recording studio on the wall in back of the stage (small riser that could hold eight kids at once). My husband manned the recording equipment and all the kids took center stage for the first number. Each child had the opportunity to sing their favorite song and we had several group numbers. My children (3 and 5) were dressed as cowboys and sang Home on the Range. You know "where the deer and the antimals play" My husband and I had tears in our eyes they were so earnest and held hands. Most of the little ones still have those high clear voices - that we all say we will memorialize one day - but don't.
As each child sang I saw that all the parents were emotional. Their kids were on stage in costume holding a microphone…. I think there was a little bit of the movie "the Music Man" vibe going - remember when the kids got their uniforms and they started to play their instruments for the first time - a mom shouts out "there's my Johnnie!!!". It was a wonderful afternoon. We had the cake as we "wrapped" - I always order a round layered cake because it is fun to think of a design for the top as well as a story for around the side. The monster from the invitation stood near his haunted house on top while the sides illustrated four children in costume walking through a pumpkin patch.
I supply the artwork and the cake maker does a great job creating the same on the cake. After cake we all left together and stopped in the main lobby - which was decorated for Halloween in a old cemetery theme. I had all the kids group together and had a photographer friend set up the group "cover" shot in the cemetery. My husband edited the CD and printed copies for all the parents complete with song list on the back with artist(s) and beautiful thematic cover shot. "