Tonight I played at a “Grand Opening” event for Carlton Plaza in Elk Grove, a senior living community that just opened its doors back in December. Carlton Plaza is a company I’m familiar with, because it has facilities in Sacramento and even in the Bay Area, where I used to live and do shows. Tonight there were literally HUNDREDS of people at this big celebration.
The company really went all out for this event, as evidenced by the wine, hors d’oeuvres, the valet parking, and the 8-piece big band that was playing before I started. I often think about events from the planners’ perspective, having put on lots of events myself, and having played hundreds of them. It was great to be at an event that was so successful in terms of having a good turnout. The entire building was packed, and buzzing with conversation. It felt more like a classy exhibition center than a retirement facility. This was the kind of turnout people dream of. When you invest all the time and resources into having a “Grand Opening,” you want it to be worth it. And I bet the owners were happy.
On the flip side, for me personally one of the drawbacks to this was that when I played the buzz from the guests was so loud that people could hardly really hear me. Those who did hear said they enjoyed my playing. On this occasion, I did not mind being upstaged by the atmosphere. I still enjoyed playing for those who could hear me. In fact, I find it kind of exciting to be there, and since I was dressed in my white tuxedo jacket with black bow tie, I definitely fit in. Speaking of which, the few guys I saw walking around in t-shirts and tennis shoes really stood out… and not in a good way!
This was a very well attended, classy occasion that certainly helped make this new facility look like a really fun place to be at, which has got to be good for business. And personally, it was satisfying to play at.