Sealed with a kiss!

Sealed with a kiss!
Laura & Chris' Wedding at JCRaulston Arboretum

Monday, May 10, 2010

Choosing Musicians for your Wedding!

Mary Page Block who founded and "orchestrates" Arioso Strings, the premier ensemble for weddings in this area, wrote this article on her blog today. I am reproducing it here as it is very valuable information for couples looking for musicians to provide music for their ceremony. The original blog post can be found at Arioso String Reviews

 Professional and Experienced Musicians Make the Difference

I really enjoy coordinating the music for weddings. I look forward to playing and working with my good friends and musical colleagues and being part of a very sacred time in a couple's life.
When it comes down to the moment that the mothers are ready to be seated and the bride is waiting for her entrance the importance of having professional and experienced musicians is essential. The entrances and endings for the music set the tone for either an awkward processional or an incredibly touching moment of beauty that you will remember forever.

It is sad when I get a phone call from a distressed couple asking if we can possibly play their wedding the next week. The tale I've heard many times is that the musicians they've hired aren't returning phone calls and emails and that the couple is not sure if the musicians are going to show up for the wedding. At this point I do all I can to help, but the stress and worry for the bride and groom is terrible. Hiring a reputable group along with a signed contract will ensure that on the day of the wedding you won't have to worry about the music.

Good sources for referrals to musicians are the other vendors who are helping with your wedding: Officiants, wedding planners, photographers, and those that run the venue can give guidance on the professional musicians they've worked with; they can also warn you away from vendors who have an unreliable track record.

Read reviews, check references, talk to the owner or lead musician and hire early. Always have a contract with a deposit. It is binding on both parties and will ensure that you have musicians at your wedding. Hiring a friend of a friend who plays the violin and is glad to be there is fertile soil for disaster. They have nothing to lose if they don't show up or have a last minute conflict and cancel.

A Smooth Ceremony Starts with Good Planning:

I have a great spread sheet I keep that really dictates and reiterates details from our contract and music planner. Specifics such as the date, starting and ending time, the venue, the type of group and which of our musicians are playing for each wedding. This spread sheet not only keeps track of when we are playing, but also helps me the week of the wedding as I send out reminders to all of our musicians and get music to everyone involved.

There is a Music Planner on our web site that organizes the ceremony music and additional selections for the prelude or reception. I have all couples fill this out and send it in the month before the ceremony. This way I can make sure we have the music they've requested, I have it organized in the books and ready to go. When I receive the planner I double check all the information I already have and confirm it with the couple. This keeps us all on the same page and stops misinformation or conflicting information from happening.

Choosing your musicians:
  • Are the musicians professionally trained and experienced? Performing classical music takes years of training and practice. Having an advanced music degree does make an enormous difference in the quality of the performance.
  • Can you easily get in touch with the head of the group and have questions answered in a timely manner? Can you contact them by phone and do they return your call?
  • Does the group have a web site that can answer some of your questions and allow you to hear samples of their playing?
  • Does the group have an extensive library and listing of all their music?
  • Ask yourself what style of music you want for your ceremony. If you wish to walk down the aisle to music by David Bowie or Metallica, a string quartet might not be the best type of group to perform that song. Beware of a string music group that says they can do any pop or rock song. Vocal pop and rock music played by a string quartet can become boring very quickly because their are no voices singing lyrics, guitars or drums. It will be only a shadow of the song you love and though it may be your favorite song, your guests will have no idea what they are listening to. If it isn't commercially scored and available for String Quartet, Trio or Duo it's most likely because it doesn't work on those instruments.
When we arrive at your wedding

On the day of your wedding I personally contact every musician early in the day to double check that they are ready to go. Earlier in the week they received all music and confirmed the time and place of the wedding. We always arrive thirty minutes prior to beginning the prelude music. This allows us time to set up, set cues with your coordinator and warm up. Professional musicians and experienced professional coordinators know how to pay attention to all the details as they are happening. This creates a wonderful setting so that you, your family and guests can enjoy the ceremony.

1 comment:

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