How to Host a Senior Recital Reception

  • 01 of 03

    Planning a Senior Recital Reception

    Music Conservatory
    Westend61 Getty Images

    Every college music major will have a senior recital and with that comes a reception. Parents can help their students by planning the reception and designing invites. It is an easy event to prepare for and your assistance for this important occasion will not be forgotten.

    The Senior Recital is a Big Deal

    Whether your music major is a soprano, a trumpet player or a composer, the most important event in their conservatory experience is the senior recital

    This performance is the culmination of not...MORE just four years of college work, but an entire (though young) lifetime. For many musicians, the senior recital is a more significant event than their graduation ceremony.

    How Parents Can Help with a Senior Recital

    Your music major's recital performance is up to them to plan, but the senior recital reception? The invitations? The accompanist's payment and gifts? Those are all areas where parents can help.

    In the following pages, we will take a look at the recital invitations and finer details of planning a recital reception.

    Continue to 2 of 3 below.
  • 02 of 03

    Senior Recital Invitations

    senior recital invitation
    Photo by Jackie Burrell

    There is no right or wrong wording or look to a senior recital invitation. Some college kids simply post their invites on Facebook or send out texts and emails.

    However, it is nice to send something a little more formal to grandparents, aunts and uncles, family friends and childhood music teachers. Plus, it gives you something for your scrapbook!

    Designing a Senior Recital Invitation

    You can print your own invites using a good-quality card stock, like Strathmore cards. Many of the online services...MORE that print photo cards like Shutterfly and Moo can print invitations too.

    For the cards pictured above, I used a cool graphic I found on the Stock.Xchng stock photography website. Any photograph of your young musician, a detail of his instrument or another music-themed image will work too.

    Run the cards through your ink-jet printer with the image on the cover and the invitation text inside.

    Sample Senior Recital Invitation Text

    The invitation text can be very simple. Here is an example of what to include:

    [Student's Name]

    Senior Music Recital

    You are cordially invited to a performance of [Show Title].

    Works for solo voice, strings, brass quintet and more.

    [Date and Time]

    Music Conservatory of the [University Name]

    [Address, City]

    Reception to follow.

    Continue to 3 of 3 below.
  • 03 of 03

    Beautiful Food for a Senior Recital Reception

    Crudite, sandwiches, fresh fruit and cupcakes are perfect fare for a post-concert reception. Photo by Jackie Burrell

    Senior recital receptions can offer unusual culinary challenges. They are held in rehearsal halls, the concert hall's "green room" or an alcove in the foyer. There are often no kitchen facilities, few electrical outlets, and the only running water is in the restroom.

    Oh, and the parents throwing the party only flew - or drove - into town that afternoon. Ahem. But that's OK. You can still throw a spectacular party!

    First of all, you will need to scope out the logistics of the space...MORE ahead of time and find out what you have to work with.

    No Running Water?

    Don't rely on the restroom faucet to fill an iced tea pitcher or lemonade carafe. Those faucets tend to sit too low in the sink, so you will need to bring a 1- or 2-cup measure to transfer the water. Better yet, bring water in jugs.

    Use the restroom to dump out leftover lemonade, not to make it in the first place.

    No Stove or Outlets?

    Use a slow cooker to keep a hot bean dip or artichoke-parmesan dip warm. You could also skip the hot food completely.

    If you are serving coffee, reserve a big to-go carafe from Starbucks or another coffee house.

    No Refrigeration?

    Use coolers and stash them in a corner or under your buffet table with ice or frozen gel packs.

    Ideally, you will set up the buffet table before going into the concert hall, so the best trick is this:

    • Icy Cools makes reusable ice mats that measure 10- by 6-inches and they are only half an inch or so high. These can be tucked in the bottom of a tray or basket. Cover the ice mats with leafy greens, then add your layers of vegetables and dips or sandwiches.

    Booze or No Booze?

    Even if college rules allow alcohol on campus, serving booze at a reception attended by mixed ages is a bad idea. Skip the wine.

    Instead, serve a stylish lavender lemonade, sparkling citrus punch or another chic twist on the lemonade.

    Finger Foods

    Receptions like these are grazing affairs, so finger foods that need nothing more than small paper plates and cocktail napkins are best.

    Offer an assortment of crudites and dips, strawberries, grape clusters and stylish little sandwiches. Order up deli platters and small rolls for DIY sandwiches.

    Fill long skinny baguettes with a garlic aioli, sliced turkey breast and leafy greens or pesto, tomato slices, and fresh mozzarella. Wrap them in plastic and refrigerate them overnight. When you are ready to serve, slice them into 4-inch servings.


    Finish the feast with an assortment of baby cupcakes, whoopie pies, macaroons or other stylish sweets.

    If it is suitable for a graduation party or a fabulous cupcake buffet, it's perfect for this too, especially when served atop tiered platters and cupcake towers