Using testimonials can be very powerful.

Depending on what we want, we have many ways to use testimonials.  To gather information or to provide information.

Magnolia Jazz Band in Mountain View, 2014
Brides and party planners use our testimonials to help plan the music for their celebrations.  For example, a client recently posted a wonderful testimonial for us on Yelp, and included this photo.  Thanks, Kayla.

I recommend you read testimonials whenever you can.  Learning what others enjoy can give you eye-opening inspirations and trigger fresh ideas for you.

In my experience marketing the band, I’ve found that testimonials and reviews are the next best thing to word-of-mouth recommendations from your trusted friends.

And these w-o-m recommendations are the next best thing to your experiencing first-hand the upbeat, elegant mood we create.

So I hope that someday you can be a wedding guest or attend one of our parties. In my opinion your first-hand impression is the most effective way to learn about what we bring to any celebration.

And once you know what kind of festive mood you want, what to expect from us, and how to get the best from us, then you can begin planning the music for your celebration.

But if you can’t catch us in action, and if a good friend hasn’t recommend us, I hope you’ll read many of our testimonials. I’m doing my best to make them easy to find.

Now looking at testimonials from a broader perspective, most businesses use testimonials to help their prospects learn what their product or service can provide.

Do you manage a business? I’m sure there are dozens of ways to use testimonials for marketing your business. How many are you using?

I’ve been using a few good ones. Four of them:

  • Include testimonials in my printed material (brochures, etc.),
  • Post testimonials on my social media channels,
  • Post testimonials on a dedicated page on my website,
  • Ask happy clients to post reviews on Yelp, WeddingWire, Facebook, etc.

Recently several savvy colleagues suggested a few more ways. Thanks Jason, Yehudit, Stephanie, Sarah, Jennifer, Harry, Tri, Ken, Robin, Norman, Robert, Jamie, Denise, Liliana, Carolyn, Barbara, Auey, Christine, Joe, StephanieAnn, Karinn, and Lowell.

Four of the new ways they suggested:

  • Include a testimonial in a larger blog post,
  • Include a testimonial in my email signature,
  • Ask a happy client to send an audio or video testimonial, and post it on my website & social media,
  • Photograph a handwritten testimonial and post it on my website & social media

Do you like one of these new ways to use testimonials? Write a comment and tell me how you’d use it.


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How do I choose the band’s best promotion photos?

Are these some of our best promotion photos?

What features do I want in the pictures?

What would YOU want?

Here’s a clue to what I prefer.

Magnolia Jazz Band in Fremont,  2014

Recently my friend Eli Pitta gave me this picture of us he took at a wedding at the Palmdale Estates, in Fremont.  CLICK to enlarge photo.

Eli is a wonderful photographer, and he caught exactly what feature I think makes the best promotion photos.

Can you guess the crucial feature?

Here’s another clue:  Some Realtors tell me they like to “stage” a house so their prospective buyers will visualize the place decorated with their own furnishings.

Peninsula Grill, Charleston, SC

Still another clue:  Some time ago my wife and I enjoyed a wonderful dinner at The Peninsula Grill, in Charleston, SC.  Since then I’ve subscribed to their email newsletter, mainly to remember that evening and to see beautiful examples of their best promotion photos.  Here’s a recent one:

Got it?

I think your best promotion photos show people enjoying whatever you provide.

In my case, I like photos that show people enjoying the upbeat, elegant mood we create.  Wherever we are — at a lively party, business reception, formal banquet, or romantic wedding ceremony.

Browse around this blog to see more pictures of people celebrating with our music.

It kills me to see a hotel or a restaurant advertise their facility with a photo showing a quiet room full of tables and chairs, but no people.  Imagine you’re searching for a room to hold your next celebration.  Wouldn’t you want to visualize your festivities in a room filled with people happy to be there?

Don’t get me wrong. I like our “studio” portraits, because they show who we are.  Of course, people want to see what we look like.

But I think our most effective promotion pictures show what we DO.  How our music helps people have a good time celebrating.

So whatever YOU do, let me give you a simple tip for selecting your own best promotion photos:  Include people enjoying what you provide.

YOUR turn:  Do me a favor.  Tell me about your best promotion photos.  Show me your favorite.  What makes it special?


CLICK here to tweet this post, and join our Magnolia Jazz Band fans on Facebook.  You’ll receive daily tips for planning wedding and party music, and you’ll get reminders for our public events.


Last summer we entertained at a wonderful garden party in Woodside, and I used history to choose the party’s music.

Can you guess what era I focused on?

Magnolia Jazz Band in Woodside, 2014

Choosing the right music for a party or a wedding can be a challenge.  I often let history guide my selections.  

Of course, you can use many strategies to search for a party’s music.  You can research Broadway shows, movies, flowers, Disney characters, colors, locations, people, food, literature, animals, to name a few.

But whenever you choose party music, and it suits the party’s theme, you might find using history very helpful, too.

How?  Why?  More in a minute.  First, some background:

The San Francisco Bay Area boasts hundreds of very elegant mansions built around a hundred years ago.  The area’s wealthiest businessmen built gorgeous homes and summer homes.

Rich and elaborate, enormous and opulent.  These homes allowed a lifestyle where pleasure and entertaining were essential social and business functions.

(By the way, there must have been successful women in business, right?  But I haven’t heard about them.  Somebody please tell me about them and the homes they built.)

Well nowadays many of these mansions, and their estates, are preserved as historic treasures.  They serve a great many worthwhile social purposes, including hosting banquets, weddings, charity fund-raisers, and other special events.

Last summer’s party was hosted by “Filoli“, one of the most beautiful of  these mansions.  Thanks to my friend Nancy Patten, for all these wonderful photos.

Step Back in Time” was the theme of this Downton Abbey / Great Gatsby / Roaring 20s party.  We performed on a bandstand on the tennis court, and our vintage music helped create the perfect mood for this garden party.  

Guests at Filoli's "Step Back in Time" party, 2014

Many of the guests wore stunning period dress, and created a dazzling picture as they strolled through the mansion and the gardens. 

Eventually they came to our bandstand for light refreshments, some dancing, and an elegant musical background for their conversations. 

Guests dancing at Filoli's "Step Back in Time" party, 2014

Looking out over the crowd, I tried to imagine what music the guests might have heard at a similar party during the “Jazz Age” about a hundred years ago.  Except for our microphone and amps, the band might have been identical — same instruments, tuxedos, and facial hair.  So I’m glad I’d done a little research several weeks earlier.

I’d spent a few happy hours at the library and searching through my own books, CD’s, and records (remember LP’s?  how about 78’s?).  And I found a wealth of great historical information on the internet.  Searching Google, of course, and also YouTube and iTunes.  Even a bit on Pinterest.

I was looking for the most popular songs of the 1920’s, and enough details about these songs to make an interesting, entertaining program.  Songs the guests would recognize and enjoy hearing and dancing to.

I’m happy to report the party, and our music, was a huge success.  

So let me give you a tip for your next celebration:

When it suits the theme, use history to choose party music.  Occasionally history will be the essential aspect of the party.  And if not, searching history will always contribute features to make your festivities memorable.

CLICK here to tweet this post, and join our Magnolia Jazz Band fans on Facebook.  You’ll receive daily tips for planning wedding and party music, and you’ll get reminders for our public events.


Selecting Garden Party Music

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Are you selecting party music or wedding music?  Planning should be easy and fun. Occasionally, however, small planning puzzles get out of hand and become big obstacles.  And usually they’re all avoidable. In a minute I’ll tell you why.  First, some background. Nearly every day I help people selecting party music or wedding music.  And then my […]

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Nearly every day, I help people planning party music and wedding music.  And then my band creates the perfect music at these celebrations. I’m so lucky to make a living this way! Recently I got lucky a different way.  Here I am, winning a bottle of wine at a networking meeting for special event pros.  […]

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I Help People Celebrate

What will you celebrate today?  I hope it’s memorable.  Will you include music? Our music helps people celebrate.  For example, here we are, back in October 2011, helping the San Francisco Junior League celebrate their annual Home Tour Preview Gala.  That was a spectacular evening for hundreds of guests, and it was an honor to […]

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Feelings About Music for Weddings and Parties

Feelings about music dominate many of my business conversations.   Feelings are how music conveys meaning, how music does its magic. What do I mean?  Let me tell you a story.  Here we are, entertaining at a casual cocktail party in Morgan Hill.  Thanks to Jordan River Productions for the nice photo. Nearly every day […]

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How is Preparing Wedding Music like Preparing Your Tax Return?

I’m always helping people preparing wedding music. Here we are entertaining at a lovely wedding ceremony in Sonoma back in 2009.  Congrats Kim and Chris! I think about wedding and party music often, but not always. For example, I just asked a professional tax preparer about possible changes to the IRS. And this expert advised […]

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