Nicole Miller:
I don't think it matters what you play late in the evening, because everyone is so engrossed in their conversations that they're not listening. It's more important what you play earlier.

Carolyne Roehm:
I go for classical music for the most part, and I stay away from vocals before and during dinner because it's too hard to concentrate on conversation. I like Bach—particularly the Goldberg Variations—Haydn and Vivaldi.

Preston Bailey:
At the beginning of the evening you want something kind of mellow. I'm from Panama, so I start off with classic Latin music. I especially like La Lupe and a singer named India. As the evening progresses, I love R&B, Whitney Houston, Annie Lennox—the temperature goes up a bit. Sometimes, if you realize people are starting to get a little happy, you can put on some dancing music. The host should be in tune with the environment and how people are reacting and follow it. Also, I have friends who are singers, and I have a keyboard, and sometimes someone starts playing and singing, and as soon as one person sings, someone else wants to. People love to sing.


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