Music For His Mom

June 12, 1994|By Beth Hannan

When you get down to it, weddings are very women-oriented. Everything focuses on the bride, her attendants, her mother, etc. But one woman is usually neglected -- the groom's mother. Singer Mikki Viereck is slowly changing that.

Ms. Viereck, who has been performing at wedding receptions in Massachusetts for 20 years with her band, Mikki and Company, noticed that while brides could dance with their fathers to "Daddy's Little Girl," the groom's mother had no special song for dancing with her son.

That omission led her to write "A Song for My Son" in 1991 with friends Steve Moser and Bob Casinghino. (The song is available for purchase on tape, compact disc or sheet music. See accompanying box.)

"A lot of times they [mothers of the groom] would pick an instrumental, which was sad because there weren't any words for them to say to their sons," said Ms. Viereck.

"Being that I have sons and a mother's love is universal, I sat down and put the love I have for my sons and what I would wish them on their wedding day in the song. That's pretty much how it started -- seeing a need for something and filling the void by finally giving Moms a song for their son on his wedding day."

Ms. Viereck, who lives in Longmeadow, Mass., sang the song at a few weddings. When the families cried and thanked her, she knew she was on to something. With about $5,000, she had a tape made and began promoting it. Disc jockeys at wedding receptions began using it but they preferred compact discs, so she had CDs made. When bands began requesting it, she had sheet music printed.

"It just exploded," Ms. Viereck says. "It started from my kitchen table and now we have a mini-warehouse set up [in her partner's house]. We have four [phone] lines coming in; a 1-800 [number]; Mastercard and Visa. It mushroomed so much."

Although there has been no paid advertising of the song, 100,000 copies have been sold so far. Ms. Viereck believes the strong positive reaction is a response to lyrics such as "Be kind, be sweet, be a gentle man/Care and share and always be fair/And remember/Though you now have taken a wife/You will always be my son/My loving son."

"What she's saying to him is take these good traditional values I've tried to instill in you and take these in your life with your wife, but remember I love you," says Ms. Viereck.

Although she has tried to interest several record companies in widespread distribution of her song, there have been no takers so far. Recorded wedding music doesn't sell, she was told. Still, her song has struck a chord with mothers in the United States, England and Australia. Sales have resulted strictly from word-of-mouth and newspaper articles (mostly the former, she says).

"The real force behind this is the Moms," says Ms. Viereck. "They take it to the office, to the hairdresser's. I imagine these scenes . . . all over the country where women get together to talk about what's most important to them. This has nothing to do with a big recording company. This is about women talking to women. They're the force behind the song."

This force behind "A Song for My Son" also inspired Ms. Viereck to write two new songs. "A Wedding Thank You" doubles as a song of gratitude from a bride to her mother and from the bridal couple to both their families.

On the flip side of that record is "One More Time," a song suitable for brides who want to dance with their fathers to any song but "Daddy's Little Girl." Ms. Viereck explains: "Thousands of brides -- and I'm not exaggerating -- called and said please write a song other than 'Daddy's Little Girl.' They said, 'I know "Daddy's Little Girl" means a lot to my dad but I'm not a little girl any more.' We literally took those words and put them into the song. It's a bride's answer to 'Daddy's Little Girl.' "

The lyrics include: "I'm not your little girl anymore/But I know what it means to you/So one more time I'll be in ribbons and curls/And one more time I'll be your little girl."

So will Ms. Viereck's songs choke her up when her sons, Lino, 21, and Zack, 16, get married? Probably.

"I'm your typical Italian mother. I'll cry. They'll be tears of joy though. Everybody cries at weddings but they're not sad tears. They're tears of happiness."

Tapes of Ms. Viereck's songs are available for $7, CDs for $9 and sheet music for $6. The price includes shipping. "A Song for My Son" is on one tape. "A Wedding Thank You" and "One More

Time" are on another. Orders can be sent to New Traditions, Box 827, East Longmeadow, Mass. 01028. For phone orders, call (800) 44-SONGS.

L A small handling charge is added to some credit-card orders.

SONGS ON SUNDIAL

You can hear excerpts from "A Song for My Son," "A Wedding Thank You" and "One More Time" on Sundial, The Sun's telephone information service. Call (410) 783-1800 (268-7736 in Anne Arundel County, 836-5028 in Harford County, 848-0338 in Carroll County). Push 6208 after you hear the greeting.

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