**************** 2010-2011 HOLIDAY PARTIES ********

To receive information on our services (entertainment only or complete Event Planning packages) for a upcoming holiday party (Bastille Day (July 14), Mardi Gras (music or full Mardi Gras party), Christmas party, NY Eve, etc.)...simply send us a request for info in our no-obligation questionnaire or give us a call.

We save you lots of time in looking for a great band & entertainment; after determining exactly what you want, we'll put together a demo package of 5 to 8 bands that best fit those needs. This can save you weeks of phone calls, waiting for demos, etc...it's all in one comprehensive package. Plus we know which bands are the best at playing certain styles of music; we do not accept bands who aren't at a top professional level. You'll have each band's repertoire list, photo, demo, and clearly marked pricing, as well as a "comparison page", making it even easier. For those that want an Event Planner for a Christmas party or other event, we can take care of everything-----getting the hall, setting up the menu/caterer, decorations, entertainment, invitations, etc. Whether you'll want to follow a traditional Christmas theme (carolers, Ms. Santa playing piano, dance band including some Christmas music, elegant English Christmas meal, etc.), or if you want to keep it politically correct and non-Sectarian (winter theme, D.J. or dance band, food stations, or sit down dinner, etc.).....we'll come up with a party that your guests will love. Simply fill out the questionnaire to receive the info, or call us and Linda will get a demo package out to you. For those needing an event planner, we can meet with you to see exactly what we can do for your party that will fit within your budget.

OKTOBERFEST - We've got authentic options to celebrate this month long German holiday usually accompanied with a myriad of specialty beer brews. We can provide the food (German sausages, sauerkraut, saurbraten, oven baked breads, hearty salads, cherry streudel, Viennese pastries), music (festive polka bands in leiderhosen, dancers in costume, yodelers, Viennese string quartet, etc.), walk around characters (Swiss Miss caracturist, opera singers from The Valkeries, Nietsche doing German beatnik poetry, Schwartzenegger look alike, Kissinger look alike, etc.).

HALLOWEEN (Oct 31 or the weekend before) - We have some inventive party packages for this date...whether it be a home costume party or a large Halloween ball. Perhaps you want an instant photographer to come and capture your zany costumes (giving the "photos in a frame" to your guests), or our M.C. can organize the costume contest. Our collection of Halloween decor is quite extensive (graveyard, iron fence, skeletons, pumpkins, etc.). We suggest you contact us at least 45 days before event if you may want the decor.

THANKSGIVING (Nov 25, 2010) - most people will celebrate at a family gathering. (if you would to sit around and sing, after eating...we can send a solo pianist who can "play anything" to accompany your family members). If you don't want to cook, we can come cater the meal for you.

CHRISTMAS / DECEMBER PARTIES - (Also see our webpage just for CHRISTMAS PARTIES. We have some excellent choice for versatile dance bands (3-9 pcs), as well as bands that specialize (e.g. R&B & funk....or all rock and roll, etc.). This year we not only have the wonderful Dickens carolers (quartet...dressed in 1800's attire), we have a hip FEMALE ACAPELLA TRIO, singing Christmas music in an R&B styles. We also have a delightful "MS. SANTA" who plays piano and can help lead the singing of carols and pop Christmas favorites. Another popular option is the musical toy soldiers (3 horns and a drummer) in full toy soldier costume. For dance music, we've got a wealth of bands to choose from, or if you prefer, we have 3 D.J.'s...also an affordable D.J./karaoke combination.

NEW YEAR'S EVE - We have some excellent dance bands (compact, medium and large show bands) that will really make this your party as fantastic as you want. We also have some disc jockeys, with music from all eras available. Another option for a smaller home New Year's Eve party if you have a piano in your home, is a talented pianist....to play background jazz in the beginning, and then being at your beck and call to serenade you or accompany as your guests sing --with elegant 1940's show tunes, well known R&B / Motown favorites, European (French, Italian, etc.), Beatles songs, even classical arias---you name it.......and of course "Auld Lang Syne" at midnight, as we ring in 2010. We have introduced a novel activity last year which went over very well....a "Trivia Contest" package. The guests loved it.

VALENTINE'S DAY (Feb 14 or weekend before)- It might be nice to set aside a wonderful party to celebrate with your significant other (or a serious prospect). If you want it quiet and elegant, we have the serenading solo violinist (straight out of a 1930's movie scene), or a string quartet...or perhaps an elegant pianist playing the great romantic standards of the 1940's, or backing you up while you and your friends sing those songs. If you prefer the folksy singing guitarist to set the tone for a more informal romantic party, we can do that. If you want to whoop it up, we've got some hot dance bands. If you're having several people of a like romantic mind over, let us create the entire party package...including a fabulous supper followed by a scrumptious spread of chocolate desserts. We actually have a fellow that impersonates Cupid, complete with bow and arrow...who can make a surprise visit.

MARDI GRAS (Tuesday before Lent ) but people celebrate it whenever they feel like it) is a perfect opportunity to throw a party. The best choice for music we recommend is a Cajun or New Orleans R&B band. We also have bands that play other New Orleans style music (New Orleans piano -originally played by Professor Longhair), Second Line (lots of horns), trad jazz (early Louie Armstrong style), blues (Bessie Smith, Lil Armstrong, etc.), and later styles (like Fats Domino, etc.). If you want more than just music, hire us as your personal "Mardi Gras Event Planner"----we take care of everything (including music) and have some fantastic Mardi Gras menus, including slow cooked gumbo, red beans and rice, Jambalaya, black eyed peas, greens, cornbread, pralines and beignets. We can decorate your party to look like a New Orleans waterfront...and even give out those Mardi Gras beads. Note the band "Linda Wiggins & Finesse" has played several Mardi Gras parties (can play lots of fun Mardi Gras music!).

ST. PATRICK'S DAY (March 17, 2011) For this Irish holiday, we have some wonderful options --solo bagpiper, solo female accordionist, Irish jig trio, step dancers ..... For full Event Planning we provide not only the music, but also a traditional Irish feast of corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, soda bread, a green frosted cake, along with Guinness, and other Irish drinks. (If you prefer a more extensive gourmet menu, we've got a zany but delightful "menu of green dishes", which is fun also).

EASTER -(Sunday usually in April). For those restaurants featuring a special Easter brunch, we can offer an elegant musician (solo harp, or solo piano) who can include "Easter Parade" in their repertoire. For children's parties, we can help put on the Easter egg hunt, including having some live bunny characters to M.C. the contest. A puppet show, and other children's characters can add to the fun. For adults, we're most often asked for an elegant lawn party (wine, cheese, gourmet hors d'oeuvres, egg tea sandwiches, petit fours,.....and for music a classical string quartet, or solo harp...or for an indoors party, a solo pianist, or elegant jazz combo).

CINCO DE MAYO (May 5, 2011) - This Mexican holiday makes a great theme / opportunity for a party. We have about 8 options for latin music------ a "mini-mariachi" group (3-5 pcs), a full sized mariachi (8 pcs), a couple of romantic Mexican guitars.... a Tex-Mex band, a Latin rock band (Santana style), a very hip latin jazz band or even a full sized salsa band for dancing. Our catering menus for this theme are lots of fun, and of course we can bring all along the requisite Margaritas, as well as Mexican beers. (our "informal" Mexican buffet-to-go goes over very well, with warmed chips and absolutely knockout guacamole....and an extensive make-your-own burrito, and Mexican desserts. We can decorate your patio, courtyard or indoor venue to really complete the scene. For company "5 De Mayo" parties, we can do a complete "party package" (food, drink, music, decor, venue) that is amazingly affordable (and easy for you).

MOTHER'S DAY(Sunday in May) - Let us surprise your mother with a romantic guitar serenade, or perhaps a string trio playing elegant classical music. If she has a piano in her house, we can arrive with a fantastic pianist to play (and sing) her favorite songs, or to play for a family singalong. You won't have to lift a finger; we can cater a scruptious backyard champagne brunch....with eggs Benedict, seafood platter, elegant fruit and cheese display, Viennese dessert table, iced drinks, and Espresso. If you give us a photograph, we can have our resident artist paint or draw your mother's portrait (later to be framed and mounted) or for a zanier approach, we can have our caracaturist on site, doing 5 minutes sketches of the party guests, to give out as mementos.

MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND (last weekend in May) Some people feel a 3 day weekend is a good opportunity for a huge backyard barbecue party. We've got some great bands that can get your guests dancing on the patio (R&B or perhaps New Orleans funk, or rock and roll....or perhaps some background steel drums. We also have a vocalist who has an entertaining show -- "Patriotic Music of America".

FATHER'S DAY (Sunday in June)You know which type of surprise party might appeal to your father....a Hawaiian luau with a roasted pork, grilled fish main course, with Mai Tais , Pina Coladas, or cold beer to accompany, and authentic Hawaiian band (including a dance troupe) or a steel drum band..............or perhaps a "baseball theme" party, complete with BBQ, hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, apple pie....and a fun country band to liven things up. Let us know what his favorite music is; we can either provide a D.J. to play it, or a band that specialize in his favorites (Jimmy Buffet, Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater, Van Morrison, The Eagles, Lynyrd Skynryd, ....or something of a different generation (Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Louie Armstrong, Perez Prado, Chuck Berry, etc.) or something totally different (steel drum band, jump swing band, female singing group,"improv singing comedy troupe", etc.).

FOURTH OF JULY (July 4, 2011) - Everyone loves to go to a party on this night (or you can do it the weekend following)...A good rock and roll band, versatile band, bluegrass band, or a C&W band, can set the mood....we have a piano player that can lead your guests in old timey songs (or songs about the various states, about America, old rock and roll, Broadway tunes, or whatever strikes your fancy). As Event Planner, we can also take care of the food.....the most traditional menu would include hot dogs (gourmet sausages with home made sauerkraut), grilled hamburgers, salads, fruits, apple pie, pecan pie, banana cream pie, watermelon and beverages to suit your tastes.

BASTILLE DAY (July 14, 2011) Ahh, soyons heureux - let's have a party to celebrate the French's 4th of July....We have a wonderful French chanteuse who can sing Edith Piaf songs, also small trios that play delightful French 1920's waltzes, a fantastic French female accordionist, a pianist that can play and lead "sing alongs" in French (she supplies "les lyriques"), or how about a string trio or pianist playing some delightful French impressionistic music by Debussy and Ravel. If you want your backyard soiree catered, we have a menu magnifique of traditional French hors d'oeuvres, cheeses, salads and plat du resistence, served with French or California wine, your choice. (try a blindfold test). If it's a larger corporate event, we can have some walk around French personalities.Also see our Bastille Day Party Page.

LABOR DAY WEEKEND (Sept 2011) - For those that stay in town, it's a good excuse for a backyard party... we have some fun, affordable band choices (A wonderful funk / Motown band........another band does al the oldies (1950's-1970's) rock.........another band does a fun "roots" repertoire (New Orleans R&B, Cajun, rock and roll, blues, etc.). (We've also got one band that can do a "American Idol" type set, having your party guests come up and sing with the band --we can provide the lyric sheets for them. (and if you want, we have the celebrity look alikes for the judges (e.g. snotty Simon Cowell, fawning Paula Abdul or Ellen DeGeneres, affable Randy Jackson).
************** GENERAL PARTY IDEAS *******************
If you want dancing, we have some c. 150 dance bands....(including the most popular local show bands), and they'll really make the party for you, playing songs that your guests will want to dance to. We have some smaller (4-8 pcs), affordable dance bands (most run between $1.5K and $4.5K. If you want something a little out of the ordinary, we have some great "roots" bands (Americana rock, mixed with Cajun, mixed with country) that will really get the party going. Or, perhaps an island reggae band, or steel drum band would be a good choice. If you want wild and crazy, we've got some wonderful affordable rock and roll bands, as well as fun C&W bands. For those into the latest trend - Cuban salsa , or even the long-lived trend - "jump swing" and its fun 1940's vintage clothing...wonderful horn sections pumping out that real danceable sound. If your party is more modest, perhaps a serenading guitarist/vocalist, or jazzy trio..or even a D.J. (We have demo tapes and photos available for all of our entertainment). Simply fill out the questionnaire to receive the info). We have some non-musical party ideas --Quite popular recently has been the group of "Hollywood look alikes" (classics like: Marilyn Monroe, Cary Grant, Carmen Miranda, John Wayne, etc. also newer like: Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Madonna, Justin Timberlake, Paris Hilton, Oprah, etc.) , T-V look alikes (e.g. the main characters from the huge hit "Lost"), or political look alikes (Obama, Ron Blugoyavitch, Nancy Pelosi, etc.) who will add pizzazz or humor to your event. We've got a couple of game show party packages based on "Do You Want to Be a Millionaire" (fun Regis Philbin impersonator, we bring the lights, music, questions, etc.)....and "American Idol"Jeopardy". Our popular "low tech" team building games (a multi media trivia contest, or "in the room scavenger hunt" are going over very well. Other options could be caracaturist, roving "close-up magician", jugglers, "candy girls", photographer, elegant space vixen characaters, mermaid, violin playing jester....all sorts of choices. And, of course we can do complete event planning - to handle everything from you from start to finish. (hall, catering, decor, music, photographer, etc.).
Some food/theme ideas: Elegant wine & cheese party, we have some delightful violinists that can serenade you with Mozart, Schubert and Debussy. (Since we do event planning, we can provide a very elegant menu, for example.... of oysters, salmon mousse, Thai beef satay and mango cheesecake. Or if, you'd prefer a fun Hawaiian luau theme party, with a small Hawaiian or steel drum band to soothe your modern nerves, Pina Coladas, barbecued coconut shrimp, pork in banana leaves....grass hut/bar, etc. ). We have many other fun party ideas. How about a great dance band, playing the funk hits from the 1970's...horn section, great vocalists? If you'd like us to give you specific ideas and prices, just send us your tentative date, location and preferences in a questionnaire (absolutely no obligation).
For company holiday dinner/dance show, we can develop a "theme" for the party. For example, in the past, for a "Hollywood theme" party, we provided some "celebrity look-alikes", as well as a hilarious comedian who brought down the house with his characterizations of John Wayne, Phil Silvers, Peter Falk, among others. We finished up that party with a D.J. playing the hits they had requested. Another party, we provided a large high energy soul band for a party of 1,300 people in San Francisco. Another client tells us they loved the Renaissance Christmas musicians we got for them....complete with colorful period costumes..really set the old fashioned ambiance. For a corporate party in the Oakland hills,and again at a real estate company in Palo Alto, we again provided "Ms. Santa" (in red velvet andwhite fur trim, playing Christmas carols on the piano). For an intimate home Christmas party in Palo Alto we provided a female pianist who played tasteful jazz, Christmas songs, as well as show tunes (Cole Porter, George Gershwin), and even some requested 1960's songs. If you're ready to set up your Christmas 2009 party, ..let us know what you need,(you can simply fill out our no-obligation questionnaire and we'll get a proposal out to you right away.

Specialty Christmas Entertainment

* MISC "SPECIALTY" ENTERTAINMENT: Christmas carolers, Santa Claus, toy soldier, singing angels, singing Christmas tree, doo-wop carolers, bell ringers, juggling elves, photographer, caracaturist, magician, kareoke, etc.....may be available.

December 2010 Holiday Party Pointers
****5 Common Mistakes in Planning Company Parties:***

1. WAIT TOO LATE TO START PLANNING- If you're planning a dinner/dance, we advise you begin as soon as you can (especially if your party is 175 people or more). Disc jockeys and dance bands get booked up, halls becomes unavailable, etc. and you'll have less to choose from. It's just like everything else in life that suffers from procrastination... it's actually harder if you wait. But on the other hand, because we have a wealth of entertainers, we often can accommodate last minute needs (solo pianist, jazz trio, dance band, D.J., Christmas carolers, etc.). If you're considering having one of our local "celebrity" bands we start booking those usually a few months in advance. (See our questionnaire)
2. CHOOSE THE SAME BAND OR D.J. 3 YEARS IN A ROW- Even though some diehard committee members want "The Blandtones" or "D.J. Brian" back for a 3rd year, there are probably many more people who will be disappointed to have a predictable repeat 3 years in a row. Same policy with food (ham year after year gets stale)...or decor ( talking snowman was cute first year, bearable 2nd year, and 3rd year engenders physical violence).
3. HIRE SOMEONE'S RELATIVE TO APPEASE COMMITTEE MEMBER - Everyone has a brother, or uncle who dabbles in music, or catering, but really doesn't do a professional job. (That's why they make their living selling garden tools at Home Depot instead). It's kind of interesting for about 10 minutes, and then you realize you've got to listen to it (or eat it) all night.
4. COMMITTEE MEMBERS FIGHT OVER DISC JOCKEY VS. DANCE BAND - There's somewhat of a generation difference in preference for D.J. vs. band, and there's no need to leave out the wishes of 25% to 40% of your partygoers because 3 of the committee members disagree with the silent majority of the employees. If you are at a true impasse on this question, it can be solved by having a D.J./band package. The band can play 2 or 3 sets (with the D.J. "playing" on band breaks), and then the D.J. can finish out the last hour or so. Everyone will be happy and they'll wonder why you didn't think of it before. The package cost is less than the combined separate costs of D.J. and dance band.
5. COMMITTEE DOESN'T TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EVENT PLANNER - If you've ever been in charge of the party committee, you know it's a lot of work (on top of your regular work duties). People have been known to go "bonkers", or at least "bananas" trying to take care of all the details of party planning. Also there's the "nervous host" syndrome; you want everyone to have a good time, but you don't because you're frazzled worrying about all the details. We event planners have a wealth of party experience to rely on, plus a calm demeanor in helping you put it all together. And contrary to public opinion, we won't force you on a champagne budget, if you prefer Chardonnay, or bottled water. *********************************

If you would like to take the first step in planning your party, feel free to either give us a call, send us an e-mail, or fill out our no obligation questionnaire.

FINESSE PRODUCTIONS - Corporate and Private Event Planning

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