Contact Keyboardist/Vocalist Billy Wray

717.461-3366

www.billywray.com

Mon

21

May

2012

Sing Along Concerts at Retirement Homes

One type of party I enjoy playing are sing alongs. I play at many of the retirement communities in the Central Pennsylvania Area. The Bridges at Bent Creek, Mechanicsburg and Hershey Country Meadows, The Essex House in Lemoyne are some of the venues I perform on a regular basis. I usually play one hour concerts and try to get the audience involved when I play. Most of the songs I play are familar and ones they know the lyrics. Some of the tunes are: Let Me Call You Sweetheart, Alexander's Ragtime Band, You Are My Sunshine, Shine On Harvest Moon, For Me and My Gal, Five Foot Two, It Had To Be You, and many Patriot songs including one I try to end with- God Bless America. As a introduction (on some of them), I try to tell the history of the song and how the song came into existence. Sometimes I'll tell a joke to keep things from getting to serious. I have found out that they respond best to upbeat songs, ones that keep their foot tapping. If you think your family party or event might benefit from a sing along form of entertainment, please feel free to give me a call @ 717.608.1400. I will be happy to customize a song list that will suit your style. By the way, take a look at my song list and start choosing your requests today!

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Thu

10

May

2012

A Wedding Ceremony Held in the Home

Last Monday I had the opportunity to play a wedding ceremony in the home belonging to the parents of their son and new daughter-in-law. It's the first time in a long time that I played this type of venue and it turned out to be a pleasant experience. I arrived a hour and a half before the wedding. I set up in a 1/2 hour and played about an hour as the guests arrived to mingle and eat. About 6 PM the bridesmaids came down the stairs from the second floor followed by the flower girl throwing rose pedals. I played Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring which is a great tune for the wedding party. The flower girl, who was the last in the wedding procession, finally took her place down stairs in front of the "flower altar" that was set up in front of their fire place. I was set up to the right so I could have a view of the top of the stairs for their entrances. The mother of the bride gave me the high sign, so I started the Bridal March by Wagner (Here Comes the Bride). As the lovely bride in white came down the stairs, we was met by her father at the bottom. It was a short walk from the stairs to the altar's front. The ceremony was brief and I was instructed that the bride and groom were going to have their first dance immediately after their introduction as man and wife right infront of the altar in their great room! That was a first for me since usually there's a processional played as they walk down the church aisle to greet their family and friends. Since no aisle existed, I thought this was a great idea but here's the kicker: I wasn't told about this dance idea until that afternoon! The mother of the groom called me at 12 noon on the day of the wedding and asked me if I could play Journey's "I've been waiting for a girl like you" since the groom liked to sing it to his financee during their engagement. She wanted to surprise him with this song. I aim to please so I told her "no problem" since I'm sure I could find it in one of my many music "fakebooks". I hurried back home. As I dug through my 10th book, I realized this song wasn't in any of my books. What was I to do? Well, I better learn it! Thank God for the internet. Time was running out so I immediately downloaded the words with the guitar chords in the key of A. Since it's been a while since I heard this tune, I went on youtube and listen to many of the video versions until I found the one in the correct key I downloaded. I didn't realize Journey performed that tune in so many different keys! In a half hour I learned the song well enough I could play it instrumentally. As I played the song and they danced, the mothers were passing out the glasses of champagne for the toast.  The last one was served and we gracefully ended the dance. After the father's toast, I played for another hour as the family and friends ate. I was thanked by the parents and the wedding party, had a piece of cake, and headed home with a smile on my face as the party continued. 

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Thu

03

May

2012

Welcome to my 1st Musician's Blog

I have been playing professionally since the age of 9 (I'm 59), so that's a long time. My first gig was for my friend's dad and I'll never forget it. My dad lugged a big Conn 25 pedal console organ up the street to my friend's living room and I think I played for 3 hours on a saturday afternoon. I remembered I made $50. That was back in 1961 so that was a lot of money back then. I don't know how many gigs I have played since that day but I know it must be in the thousands. One thing I've tried to remember is always play what the listener requests. I guess it's because of what my dad has always ingrained in me by saying: son, the customer is always right. I still try to follow his advice every time I play a gig. Well that's a little history of me and I hope in the future to talk about things my readers may want to hear. I play many weddings and receptions and always try to discover and suggest songs that the bride and groom have a special attachment to. More about that in a later blog. So long for now.

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