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Based in the Cotswolds, JAM Duo are an award winning Cello and Piano Duo who provide live music for Corporate Black Tie events and Charity Dinners all over the UK.

What Is a Gala Dinner? 

A gala dinner is a large formal or semi-formal event, including a drinks reception, a sit-down dinner, and dancing.

There will usually be some form of presentation, speech, awards ceremony, or announcement between dinner and dancing. Often, a gala dinner serves as a fundraiser for an organisation, and the host may raffle off prizes. Each section of the evening will have its own tone, and it’s the host’s job to set that tone with decorations, music, and ambience!

Anne Marie Humphries
JAM Duo Cellist

Welcome Drinks Reception

What’s the first impression you want your guests to have when they walk in for the reception? Whether you’re holding the event in your own space or a rented hall, a sense of elegance and atmosphere are essential. The best way to set the tone is to have a small ensemble or solo musician playing from the start.

Remember that the drinks reception is a fairly causal portion of the evening. Your guests will want to greet one another, chat, mingle, and possibly form some important connections! Take that tone into account when hiring musicians for the task.

Another thing to consider is the theme of your event. Does your theme suggest a particular musical genre – perhaps a period or musical style? Choose a performer or ensemble whose repertoire can complement your theme and elevate the whole affair.

The number of guests will also play a role. The drinks reception will usually (though not always) take place in a space separate from the dinner itself. An acoustic soloist will do well in a small lobby, while a large, well-attended area might demand something more imposing.

The drinks reception is an excellent time for your guests to mingle, relax and even do a little networking. Depending on your chosen event theme, there are several directions to take, both in terms of style and music.

An elegant, low-key soloist or duo will be ideal for small events of less than 50 guests and can usually be found within budget. As guest numbers increase, you might like to take the atmosphere up a notch and increase the number of musicians. You’ll also need to consider AV requirements to ensure guests can hear the entertainment above the chitchat.

plates and wine glass on table
Gala Dinner

Dinner and a Performance

How does music help transition between the drinks reception and the dinner? It serves as a musical cue that it’s time to move from one space and atmosphere to the next!

Your priority should be putting your guests at ease as they move from the small reception space to the larger event room. If you’ve assigned the seating, this might mean mingling with new people. They may well be feeling a great deal of anticipation as they await the big meal!

You should anticipate that dinner will be predominantly a social portion of the evening. Your guests will want to chat, eat, and relax. Choose music that won’t compete with the desire to socialise.

For example, a large band with vocals might send the message to your guests that they’re watching a performance. That can stop all socialisation and conversation in its tracks!

Instead, consider an instrumental ensemble or acoustic performer. You’ll also want to take the size of the space into account. A more intimate dinner might demand a quieter performance, while a large hall might need more sound to fill the air!

South West Wedding Awards
Awards Dinner

JAM Duo Cello and Piano – Entertainment for your Event

Jules and Anne-Marie have performed for a wide range of corporate and charity events. Depending on the venue, the number of guests and the ambience required we can either perform an acoustic set with our beautiful wooden acoustic cello or a more upbeat amplified set using our fabulous Yamaha Electric Cello.

Jules and Anne-Marie

If you are planning an event and unsure what sort of entertainment you need or perhaps would like to talk to us about the range of music we can bring to your event then please get in touch via our contact form.

If you prefer you can contact us directly using WhatsApp.

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