Tired of the usual wedding reception activities – can’t do without the usual traditions but still want something that will surely be a hit? Then why not inject rockeoke into the program and watch how guests literally infuse a different kind of life into the party?
Rockeoke is singing along karaoke style with a live band playing the music. Think of it as a combination of the words “rock band” plus “karaoke” – “bandeoke” for some. But no matter what the term, the essentials are the same: a microphone, a live band, and a song book that will showcase the lyrics which a person can follow. The most important element: the singer!
The best way to start is to hire a live band specializing in rockeoke – usually made up of a drummer, a keyboardist, a bassist and a guitarist. Make sure that the sound system is up to the task, both for the singer and the band. The next is to decide whether to have it “open mic”, that is, anyone can come up to the front and sing impromptu with the band, or inform guests about the setup by indicating it on the invitation. With the latter, a list of songs to be played can be included so that those who are more inclined to sing can practice them beforehand. Perhaps participating guests can also inform the couple or the event organizer which songs they would like to sing so that the band, too, can prepare for it.
Rockeoke, however, need not be limited to rock and roll music. The band should have a huge repertoire of songs covering a wide range of genres over different eras, whether rhythm and blues, folk, new wave, novelty, or ballads. A good rockeoke band should also be able to quickly adjust to the pitch and tempo of the singing guest, although admittedly, it’s usually more fun if the singer is full of confidence despite being out of tune. The band should also provide a menu of songs that the guests could choose from; be willing to take requests from the crowd; and be able to play those requested songs.
Rockeoke may be a craze in Western countries, but it’s perfect for a music-loving people such as Filipinos, and what better time than a wedding reception? A live band where anybody can play the role of lead singer will surely loosen up an otherwise formal occasion. It’s sure to uncover talent that may have been hidden in some guests, and will also bring out in anyone and everyone the secret desire to be a rock star, to be in the limelight and have their (less than) 15 minutes of fame – or shame, as the case may be. It can be a truly exhilarating experience for everyone in the reception.
A few ground rules need to be laid down, though. First, rockeoke is not for the onion-skinned. Participating guests should be game to receive either cheers or jeers, and take everything in stride. Second, it is not for the faint of heart. Those requested to sing should not waste everyone else’s time by playing coy in rising to the challenge – in Tagalog, “huwag makiyeme.” Third, a mobile bar, or at least a few drinks, should be made available. Remember, some people need a little shot of tequila for that added boost of confidence. Fourth, no mic hogging! Rockeoke is meant to be a shared experience, not a concert. Even with repeated shouts of “More! More!” a participating guest, no matter how good a singer he or she may be, should politely decline and let others take their turn with the mic, even if they sound horrible in comparison. Fifth, guests are only allowed to sing, not take the place of any of the band members as if it were jam night. Sixth, group singing is allowed, but only for a limited number of people, so as to avoid chaos on-stage as well as to allow the band to play their piece in peace.
Finally, make sure that the rental of the reception venue allows for extended hours (be prepared for the extra charges!). Remember: time flies when one is having fun, and rockeoke is sure to be that.