Sound Choices

Where to find musicians for your big day



Wedding Bell Blues—and Rock, Country, Soul, Classical, Jazz, Gospel and more. . .

 

Whether you want Pachelbel for your processional, Tchaikovsky for your cocktail hour,  rock & roll for your reception—or all of the above—these Westchester musicians can make it happen.

By Carol Caffin

 

 

 

Wedding Bell Blues...

 

Let’s be honest. Five years from now, your guests won’t remember the Champagne you served at your wedding, whether they had filet mignon or chicken, or whether your centerpieces were made out of orchids or tulips. What they will remember is whether or not they had a good time. And what’s the best way to ensure a good time for your guests? Good—make that great—music.

From the wedding march to your first dance to the tossing of the bouquet, music is at the heart of every wedding. But where do you find the harpist, quartet, orchestra, or rock band that suits your style—as well as your budget? Right here! We’ve found the best music—of all types—in the county. All you need to do is call.

 

CHAMBER MUSIC/CLASSICAL

 

CLASSICAL CONSORTS

(914) 948-0902

www.classical-consorts.com

 

This clearinghouse for classical musicians and ensembles, founded by flutist Donna Elaine a decade ago, allows you to choose from what Elaine says is “an infinite pool” of super-talented, classically trained musicians.

Offers: Chamber music (generally up to four musicians); classical soloists and ensembles (duos, trios, quartets). If you’re not sure what you want, the company will help you choose the ensemble and musical repertoire that’s right for you.

Prices: One hour: $290 for a single; $855 for a quartet. Every hour thereafter is prorated at $60 per hour, per musician. A 25-percent deposit is due upon contract signing. The deposit is non-refundable, except under “very extenuating circumstances,” says Elaine.

Worth Noting: Elaine started Classical Consorts because, she says, she was tired of being booked by companies that did not know what instruments were right for various kinds of venues and situations. “If a wedding is on the beach and the bride wants a harp, that’s not going to work,” Elaine says. “You can’t put a harp on the sand.”  It’s her knowledge and understanding of such things that separates Elaine from the pack.

 

MAURA & CO

Tuckahoe

(914) 337-1867

www.mauramusic.com

 

Founded more than two decades ago by vocalist Maura Molloy, who holds a master’s degree in vocal performance from Mannes College of Music in New York City, this innovative company provides classical and jazz music for weddings.

Offers: Molloy says her company specializes in music for Catholic ceremonies, noting that “to do a Catholic mass, you really have to know what you’re doing. I know all the rules.” The company also provides Celtic music and music for weddings with mixed religious ceremonies.

Prices: A two-hour minimum booking is required. Prices start at $500 for a solo harpist for two hours. Other vocal and instrumental ensembles start at $375 per instrument or vocalist for the first two hours; an hourly fee based on type of ensemble and number of instruments is charged thereafter. A deposit of 25 percent is due upon contract signing; balance is due day of event.

Worth Noting: “I work only with alumni of the top schools in the country,” says Molloy, whom, she assures, will not only perform to your liking but “will arrive looking fabulous.”

 

 

BANDS, ORCHESTRAS, AND MUSIC COMPANIES

 

HAL PRINCE MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT

Rye Brook

(914) 937-4700

www.halprince.com

 

After nearly five decades, Hal Prince is one of the first names people think of when it’s time to look for a wedding band because, whether it’s Motown, Beatles, Top 40, or swing that you want, this 45-year-old, family-owned and -operated music agency and production company can provide it.

Offers: This one-stop-shop offers a wide array of musicians, bands, and orchestras, as well as DJs, dancers, and emcees. Though the agency says it “can get just about anyone,” it also represents its own stable of professional musicians, including the Jay Prince Band, a 10- to 14-piece “variety band” that has a full horn section.

Prices: Depending on the size of the band, prices range from $5,000 to $15,000 and more. DJ packages start at $2,000. A non-refundable, 20-percent deposit is required; balance is due three weeks prior to the event.

Worth Noting: Hal Prince provides lighting and audiovisual design services at an additional charge. In addition, live music and DJ services can be combined.

 

HARBOR LIGHTS MUSIC & PRODUCTIONS

Ardsley

(800) 870-1431

www.harborlightsmusic.com

 

Harbor Lights Music & Productions not only provides music and entertainment for all kinds of celebrations, but it also offers a variety of peripheral services, including DJs and emcees, as well as audiovisual rentals and productions.

Offers: Six bands and orchestras from six to 26 pieces playing rock, pop, jazz, soul, salsa, swing, and contemporary. Harbor Lights’ singers and musicians have performed and/or recorded with such luminaries as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Celine Dion, Billy Joel, BB King, and the Rolling Stones.

Prices: Prices vary depending on the scale of the event, time of year, and other factors, but a six-piece band for a smaller-scale event starts at around $5,000. Grand productions can run $50,000.

Worth Noting: This company received a personal testimonial from Clive Davis, founder and president of Arista Records, for whom the company provided music for a family function. Can’t get much cooler—or more credible—than that!

 

PEAK ENTERTAINMENT

Tarrytown

(914) 631-0052

www.peakevents.com

 

This one-stop shop for wedding music can provide anything from a jazz quartet to a Baroque trio to an eight-piece dance band for your wedding. Specializes in Middle Eastern and Latin music, and also offers Klezmer music.

Offers: All types of music, including dance bands, Reggae bands, classical ensembles, ethnic music and more. Also offers “Peak Yoga” for the bride-to-be.

Prices:  $10,000 for an eight-piece dance band (the minimum size).

Also Worth Noting: These folks are big on hand-holding—if you need it and want it, that is. The company will work with your venue, caterer, and other vendors to make sure that the music is in perfect harmony with the rest of your wedding.

 

THE LA BLANC BROTHERS BAND

Bedford

(914) 234-7481

www.lablancbrothersband.com

 

Led by brothers Brian and Robbie La Blanc, this popular band has a repertoire that is broad but not generic. Want pop, rock, and oldies? They can play all the standard selections and tons more besides.

Offers: A no-holds-barred, rocking and rollicking good time—professional musicianship, versatility, tight arrangements, and a fabulous sound.

Prices: $4,000 to $6,000 for a seven-piece band.

Worth Noting: The La Blanc Brothers have played with notable musicians including Felix Cavaliere (the Rascals), Rupert Holmes, Bobby Kimball (Toto), Michael Bolton, Paul Shaffer, and Ronnie Spector.

 

HOT BAND NEW YORK/H&R MUSIC, INC.

Cortlandt Manor

(914) 737-2925

www.hotbandnewyork.com

 

Hot Band New York co-founder Jim Hynes may not be the most humble guy in the tri-state area, but he certainly is one of the most sought after. If it’s killer chops you want, look no further than this outfit, led by Hynes, the self-proclaimed “busiest studio trumpet player in New York,” and drummer extraordinaire Ralph Rolle, best known as the resident drummer for NBC’s long-running It’s Showtime at the Apollo. 

Offers: Though this company can provide virtually any type of ensemble from a string or brass quartet to a 35-piece orchestra—and, of course, H&R Music’s signature band, the high-energy, 14-piece rock, soul, and disco ensemble Hot Band New York—please don’t confuse it with a jack-of-all-trades entertainment agency. You want classical? How about some members of the New York Philharmonic or the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra? Want rock, pop, jazz, standards, or hip-hop? You’re sure to find the best among this company’s stable of professional musicians, who have recorded and toured with the Stones, Santana, Tony Bennett, and Queen Latifah.

Prices: They vary depending on the number of musicians and type of ensemble required, but expect to pay from $13,000 to $20,000 for a four-hour engagement. A 50-percent deposit is due upon contract signing; the balance is due on the day of the event.

Worth Noting: This is a full-service company. “We handle the sound, lights, all the logistics,” Hynes says.

 

THE JOE HOLMES SWING BAND

Norwalk, CT

203-838-8744

www.joeholmesswingband.com

 

Elegance, sophistication, and fine musicianship—that’s what this band is about. If you’re looking for a group to play just Motown covers and top 40, you may want to look elsewhere. But if it’s ballroom dance standards from Cole Porter, George Gershwin, or Swing-era classics from Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller, and Duke Ellington you probably need not look further.

Offers: This versatile outfit offers a blend of styles, including soft rock, Latin beats, and mainstream pop, but its specialty is the great standards of Porter, Gershwin, Berlin, etc., as well as Big Band and Swing. The company can provide a variety of ensembles, from a solo pianist for a cocktail hour to an eight-piece swing band with vocalist.

Prices: Generally $1,700 to $3,500 for a four- to eight-piece band. A $500 deposit is required at contract signing; balance is due on the day of the event.

Worth Noting: These longtime (25+ years) musical cohorts are seasoned jazz musicians who are experts in pacing and timing—they perform tight, coherent arrangements at an appropriate volume. They believe that you are the “star of the show” and take pride in playing music that is “danceable, listenable, and versatile.”

 

BOCK & BLU MUSIC

White Plains

(914) 682-7078

www.bockandblu.com

 

Bock & Blu is a 20-year-old, 10-piece band (though it will perform with as few as seven) led by New Rochelle native, multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Gary Blu. All of the band members have toured, recorded, and performed with Steely Dan, Barbara Streisand, Michael Jackson, and other top-name artists.

Offers: An extensive repertoire of songs and musical styles, including rock, pop, top 40, and more. 

Prices: $4,000 to $8,000, depending on the number of musicians, the location/distance, and the duration of the event. A seven-piece band for a four-hour event typically costs $4,500.

Worth Noting: These guys are perfectionists. They will meet with you in advance of your wedding (generally two months) to discuss the tone, theme, and ambience you want to create.

 

HEARTBEAT DANCE BAND

(800) 545-2825

Fairfield, CT

www.heartbeatdanceband.com

 

Heartbeat Dance Band, which has been performing at weddings and events in Westchester and the tri-state area for more than a decade, is a great choice for couples looking for versatility, particularly for mainstream, danceable music.

Offers: Heartbeat Dance Band performs with as few as six pieces or as many as 11. You can also hire one or two of the band’s musicians for your ceremony and/or cocktail hour. For receptions, the band is adept at big band, swing, Motown, R&B, rock, pop, and dance music.

Prices: Saturday night weddings are $6,500 for an eight-piece band (minimum size) plus a solo musician for the cocktail hour. On other nights, a six-piece band (the minimum size) is $4,500 and $750 per supplemental musician.

Worth Noting: Heartbeat also offers DJs and emcees. Lights and sound are included in all pricing.

 

 

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