What Stubby Kaye Taught Me about Wedding Music and Party Music

by Robbie Schlosser · 9 comments

Thanks in advance for reading this article. I appreciate your interest and hope you get a few good ideas. I'd love to hear what you liked. Please write me a little COMMENT below. Start a conversation. Tell me what you think, and I'll reply. Promise.

Stubby Kaye inspires Robbie SchlosserStubby who?

Stubby Kaye, the cheerful singer and comic actor.  Know him?

He had a long career spanning vaudeville, television, Broadway and films.

Stubby Kaye taught me a few important lessons that inspire me whenever I entertain at any celebration.

Well, he didn’t really teach me these things personally.  I learned them by admiring his example and following his lead.

I’ve seen Stubby Kaye many times.  Maybe you have, too.  In all his movie and television roles, and on all the YouTube clips people have posted.  Watch two of his best film performances, from Guys and Dolls and Cat Ballou

I saw him in person only once.  As “Marryin’ Sam” in the original Broadway production of Li’l Abner.

And there he was, cavorting non-stop all over the stage, a stout little dynamo singing his heart out with sunshiny humor and enormous feeling.  His clear voice rang with a gorgeous tone that grabbed everyone’s attention.  I’ll never forget that first impression.

Maybe that’s because I was just a little kid.  I’m sure that’s part of it.

Young as I was, whatever he said or did, I felt sure he was telling the story to me.  Since then I’ve learned that many stage performers, especially in the early days before microphones, would perform with the same enthusiasm.

So what has Stubby Kaye taught me?

Many things, I’m sure.  One is noticing that an outstanding musician can deliver a memorable performance with ANY song — a masterpiece, or a little “throwaway” tune, or anything in between.

It’s all in the performance.  I’ve seen this over and over, and hearing Stubby Kaye do his magic was probably the first time I noticed it.

But I think the most important lesson is realizing how deeply people enjoy the emotion in music.  Stubby Kaye always performed with enormous feeling, and his audiences could never get enough.

Especially me.  To this day.

I think of several musicians whenever I play, and they all performed with great expression.  Inspired by their examples, I always strive to play with feeling.

I’m always playing to please someone.  Wherever we are, I’m always looking around the room to establish some “eye-contact”, to keep me focused on the people.

And “ear-contact”, too, if you know what I mean.  It’s as though the more passion they hear, the more effective their music will be.

Have you found this, too?  Tell me about it.

So here’s a tip for planning the music at your next celebration.  Be sure the selections and the performance appeal to your guests’ feelings.  Don’t distract anyone from the main event, but you’ll keep them in the right mood, and they’ll enjoy your festivities even more.


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Thanks for reading this article. I appreciate your interest and hope you get a few good ideas here. Got one or two? I'd love to hear what you liked. Please write me a little COMMENT below. Start a conversation -- I'll reply. Promise.

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Meanwhile, the Magnolia Jazz Band entertains at weddings and parties throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. If you are ever nearby, you’ll love catching us in action, seeing and hearing us create a great mood.

How can I help you? Call 408-245-9120 or use Robbie@MagnoliaJazz.com. Planning a celebration? Ask about our availability.

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Wendy Bottrell

Music is the great connector! Having the passion for it and sharing that is cool! Sound advice you share to think about the audience when planning the music. Don’t distract from the main event. That is advice that can be used in so many environments. Thanks for sharing it! Best Regards, Wendy
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Robbie Schlosser

Thanks Wendy,
Sorry I’m replying a year late, but I’m glad you like this little story. And the notion to act with our audience in mind. I agree this advice applies everywhere. For example, how do you use it?
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Laurie - the Adventurous Writer

What a pleasure to meet you, Robbie!

I started teaching myself to play the flute a year ago, and just had my third band practice last night (the North Vancouver Community Band!). I love it – even though the director is particularly fond of jazz and I’m finding it a bit beyond my capabilities. But I can tell I’m improving, and it helps to have a band of 35 to get lost in 🙂 For now, anyway…who knows where my flute playing career will go!

Thanks for sharing the lessons of Stubby Kaye – I’ve never heard of him until now. I’ll look him up on YouTube.

In peace and passion,
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Robbie Schlosser

Thanks for your note, Laurie. Glad I was able to introduce you to Stubby Kaye. Do you learn something from him, too?

And good luck with your flute playing. Sounds like you’re enjoying the experience. Learning something from it?
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Music definitely can add to the special occasion and help to make it memorable. After years of attending various weddings, an orchestra quartet helped stage the perfect ambiance for a beautiful outdoor wedding with pieces that were not the “traditional” symphonic numbers. They beautifully played modern songs with an added flair of pizzazz conveying the personalities of the bride and groom.
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Robbie Schlosser

Thanks Renae,
I’m with you, about what music can add to any special occasion. Who, where, and when was the quartet you described. Sounds like they did a fantastic job for the bride and groom. And their guests. Were you one?
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Robbie — No, I definitely was not one of the musicians. However, I do play guitar, but not any other strings. The group was a group of friends that play for enjoyment for the local community events, but they definitely pulled it together with another of their friends that can compose and adjust the music. 🙂 Thanks for asking.

Lily Leung

Just as I suspect, you write beautifully. 🙂 I have heard of Stubby Kaye and I love jazz.

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Robbie Schlosser

Thanks Lily,
Glad I can reintroduce you to Stubby Kaye. What do YOU learn from the example he sets?

I enjoy browsing through your blog and just subscribed. I’m sure I’ll be learning something from you.

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