Somehow the volume never seems to be right, it’s either too loud or too low. It really has to do with who you ask, and their perspective.
Have you ever noticed that there are many forms of miscommunication between people, especially when there is a generation gap? Without a doubt, this is very true for all our Yiddishe simches. There is always going to be some form of miscommunication and misunderstanding. Allow me to elaborate a little. Just bear with me.
There are three groups at a wedding:
1) Chosson and Kallah, their siblings and friends
2) Parents of Chosson and Kallah and their siblings and friends
3) Grandparents of Chosson and Kallah and ALL their siblings and friends.
Each of these comes with a set of opinions. As a wise man once said, “Three Jews, four opinions!” (Please note, I’ll refer to these three as Groups #1, 2, & 3 throughout this article)
The real misunderstandings rally around the following 2 hot button issues of every chassuna: volume and song selection. For now, I would like to cover volume control.
Group #1 is more often than not from this generation, between ages 19-23. For them the music volume must be as loud as possible that you can hear it the next town over. Just to be fair, most of this group would like the volume reasonably loud to dance to, but not too loud that you need to hear it in the next galaxy.
Group #2 seems to vary. There are those that don’t seem to care and understand that these are the needs of the chosson and kallah and this is going to make them happy on the happiest day of their lives. Then there are those who stand on ceremony. “My gosh! The music is so loud these days! Hearing loss! Hearing problems! Make sure that the music is so low that I won’t be able to hear it from 50 feet away!”
I even once had a father who had demanded about three times that we lower the volume to crazy low levels that it was barely audible on the dance floor. When it was accidentally raised a drop too loud, he came over again in a fit of rage. Every word sounded like its own sentence: “Turn…the volume…down!!! You are singing…too…loud!!! This is…MY…SIMCHA!!!!” (Graphic enough for you?)
Group #3 also may vary. They usually match the sentiments of the latter half of Group #2 (they sometimes feel stronger about it at let you know if you didn’t get it the first time), but otherwise they may be too old to care and will just sit on the side and let you do your thing.
So, with so many opinions vaster than a Congressional disagreement, you think they would have at least sat down to negotiate. But no! Somehow the same phenomenon occurs: all groups assume that they are the SOLE opinion and everyone else can jump in the lake! Mimeila, nothing is discussed and we on the bandstand are left to deal will nothing but confusion.
Because here’s what really happens…
Group #1 assumes that they are getting their way no matter what. After all, they are the chosson and kallah, and it is their wedding (which, I may add, they are not wrong about. It is worthwhile for parents to take this into account as I will explain soon).
Group #2 assumes that since they are paying for the chassuna, it is their and ONLY their opinion that takes center stage. Besides, they think, it is we who have more experience than our 20-year-old whippersnappers fresh out of Lakewood/seminary. Who are they to decide what happens at the wedding that we are paying for? After which they ponder with indignation: Where oh where is the hakaras hatov for all the years of money spent on them? Wait ‘til they start paying utilities!
And Group #3 looks on and says “You’re ALL crazy! Just do it as we did it in Hungary and you’ll all be fine!”
That leaves us at the band in a bind when Groups #2&3 want the volume and bass turned down and the chosson and kallah would like it to be the exact opposite. We would like to accommodate everyone. But it’s hard when a very well-meaning Yeshiva bochur comes running over telling us they can’t dance because the volume and bass are too low, which is then followed by an angry parent, grandparent, or someone else who thinks he’s in charge telling us to turn it back down.
With all this being said, I think it’s time to bring all groups to the negotiating table. So, gather ‘round and take a seat. Here’s the way I see it. I’m attempting to address all the groups.
I start with Group #3, as they are the oldest and most prominent. To all of you, we start with a big thank you for all the value and meaning you have put into our lives, imbuing our parents with the bren of the alte heim for Torah, Mitzvos, Yiras Shomayim, Chassidus, Mussar, Chessed, etc. We are bringing that same feeling to our weddings, yet we now live in the year 5780. Our sensitivities are little different, but not totally numbed. Even though you were probably able to dance without drums or bass, our generation cannot. We love your niggunim, we just sing them louder. This is the only way your einiklach can dance, sing and enjoy their chassuna at its best. As the singer, I am able to gauge—with the help of the band, of course—how the oilam is responding to the music. And with this generation, the only way for them to dance is if the volume and bass are turned up enough for them to feel it in their bones. While it may be a little hard to comprehend now, perhaps it makes sense to mull it over ponder how much you want your einikel to enjoy his/her chassuna in the presence of their family and friends. I don’t have life experience like you do, and since you do, I respect you. But I ask respectfully, is it worth it to mar the joy of an event so amazing that is only (hopefully) once in a lifetime?
To Group #2, I convey a similar sentiment. Yes, you are the parents, you raised them, and, indeed, you are paying precious money for their wedding. But like I suggested to the older generation as respectfully as I can, is it still not your CHILDRENS’ simcha as much as it is yours? I am not negating your feelings of how you would like your child’s chassuna to look, but it is your child who is the center of attention. His or her friends are craving to dance themselves crazy with them and shower them with this once in a lifetime honor of being chosson v’kallah! If I may, I think it’s only fair that the chosson and kallah have a say here as well. Because while you are going to be greeting guests during the second dance (assuming that you may stop dancing after a while), the younger guests have a lot of simchas chosson v’kallah up their sleeves, especially on the ladies side (those Mazel Tov signs are kind of tall; couldn’t help but notice on my side). A reasonably loud volume and strong bass is a good recipe for an amazing and unforgettable simchas chosson v’kallah.
And, finally, to our very special Group #1, our dear chosson v’kallah. We all know that this is the day you’ve both been waiting for. We know that you want this to be the day that you look back on fondly with a dreamy smile, longing to relive the beautiful start of a wonderful life with your spouse to be. But always remember the following story.
Someone came to Rav Shteinman, ztz”l, with a request for marriage advice. He said the following: “Three things! Be mevater, be mevater, and be mevater!” The message could not be clearer. Yes, it’s not gishmak when we can’t get everything our way, but it doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the world. At the end of the day, you have, Boruch Hashem, parents and grandparents who are shepping so much nachas from you and want you to enjoy your chassuna. Yet their ears are a little more sensitive than yours. Yes, you can have the volume loud enough to enjoy your chassuna but try to think of you parents and grandparents as well. We at the bandstand can try our best to find a volume that doesn’t compromise on their hearing and your enjoyment. It may take a little work, but Iy”H, it will be worked out and you will have a most enjoyable chassuna.
With a little communication, we can all come to a real understanding and real simcha.
Enjoy music? See Moshe’s post on the Top 5 Wedding Intros!