Toasts, Tributes and Reunion Music by Jeff Perso

At one time or another we all need one, we’re all called upon to make one and we all rise to the podium with the same sense of dread and excitement, perspiring, nervousness and heart palpitating glee.

The occasion needs one, requires one. And you are the one to deliver it.

Yes, I’m talking about the toast. The tribute. The telling anecdote. The ceremonial prayer.

Oh, for a Shakespeare! Or the guy with the long nose: Cyrano de Bergerac penning perfect poems!

Alas, it is not to be. You are alone. The room quiets, all eyes cast your way. You stand, mop your forehead. You fumble in your pocket, searching for hastily scribbled, illegible notes. Or worse, you try to extemperize, relying on an already fading memory. You cough, clear your throat, unclamp your suddenly uncooperative mouth …

But wait.

That’s not the way it must be.

As more and more speakers are discovering, official reunion toasts, tributes, poems, and invocations can go a long way toward relieving stage fright, pre-toast jitters and mumbled monologues.

Warren Wirebach, Middletown, Pennsylvania, composed the following invocation for the Weyerbacher Family Reunion.

“Father, we thank thee for the privilege of being together as a family. As the generations grow farther apart, let them be brought together with the memory of the loved ones who were once with us, but now live only in our memories. Strengthen the bond of relationships as we face the future, but always keep with us our ties of the past.”