I’ve started to chat more with the groups between songs, going over the composers, the year it was written, who was noted for the recordings, what show or movie the tune was from. I may even point out that the tune will change keys during the bridge, or something special about the song.
Yes.....shows/movies and just about everything in the stratosphere. Who starred in Casablanca....and the female love interest...can you name more stars in the movie.....Peter Lorre....Claude Reins. What movie star did Humphrey Bogart end up marrying? Then play the William Tell Overture and ask what show had that as a theme song? The Lone Ranger......no, it's the Loan Arranger!. What was the name of his sidekick? The name of his horse? The Social Security # of his horse? What other cowboys can you remember from that era? What were the names of the horses...the dogs.....the Indians? Point out a major key vs a minor key (play Jingle Bells in F and then in F minor.....like Larry said. And so on.....
I figured it out. That's the way to go now. Been doing it a lot lately as I figured out that, as musicians, we have enough knowledge of songs, etc to do the whole hour just talking about the music. And as an audience member, appreciating a song is one thing, but knowing the history of the song enhances that appreciation. I can get 5-10 minutes of patter out of just the history alone of After the Ball from Showboat.
This past weekend I gave a piano performance of 90 minutes and spent almost half that time talking about "show business," different songs, different shows, jokes, parodies, stories (like some of the members present on this forum.....recently the damaged goods post).
It's a fine line though that you have to walk. You always have to balance your presentation and watch your audience closely for signs of "impatience" for more music.
But, I'm enjoying my performance so much more now and so are the people. I ask some of the audience at the end of every show did you enjoy the patter along with the music? I receive thumbs up every time.