Choosing music

Q. What are the benefits of having live music, as opposed to a DJ or an iPod?

A. Music makes the party. Live musicians bring pleasure, excitement, and happy memories to any event. You are getting a custom performance by experts in their field — something very special that doesn’t happen every day. Where music is featured prominently, such as a wedding ceremony, live ensembles add a touch of sophistication that prerecorded music cannot reproduce. And where it sets the atmosphere, such as a dinner or reception, guests will appreciate the opportunity to converse without shouting over a loud sound system.

Q. I know I want to have live music at my event. Where do I start?

A. Think about what you would like, and what your guests would expect. Consider the vibe of your event — formal or casual? Traditional or modern? Religious? Nostalgic? Funky? Our specialties are classical and Irish traditional music, but our ensembles can cover a wide variety of styles. See our music page or feel free to contact us to discuss further.

Q. How do I choose musical selections?

A. Consider choosing music that has sentimental value to you. Check out our repertoire list for frequently-requested pieces. You can also search for music on iTunes or Amazon.com. If you have no strong preferences, that’s perfectly OK; we’d be happy to put together music that’s appropriate for the occasion based on our experience.

Q. Can you play a piece/song that is not on your repertoire list?

A. Yes we can, provided we have enough lead time — usually two weeks to find and/or arrange the music. Please see our booking page for details.

Q. Where is it appropriate to have music in a wedding ceremony?

A. There are many opportunities for music in a typical wedding ceremony, most commonly:

The choice of where and what music is played is up to you.

Choosing an ensemble

Q. What kind of ensemble is right for me?

A. There are a number of factors to consider:

  1. Your music choices. If you’re hiring a classical ensemble, do you prefer Bach and Mozart? Strauss waltzes? Jazz standards? Strolling violin? If you’re looking for Irish music, do you prefer songs or instrumental tunes? Will this be background music, or will your guests be dancing? (Or singing along?) See our music page for suggestions.
  2. The size of the venue and the number of guests you will have. For an intimate gathering of 20-30 people, a large ensemble can be overwhelming; a soloist or duo is recommended. By contrast, if you will be in a hall with several hundred people, the more musicians, the better — a quartet or larger.
  3. The length of time that music will be playing. The longer music is needed, the larger the ensemble — both because of the endurance required of the musicians and because music is often more interesting, varied, and fun when more players are involved.
  4. Your budget. See our booking page for fees.
  5. Outdoors? While amplification is usually not needed, it can be harder to hear musicians if there are no walls and floors for the sound to bounce off of. You can stick with a smaller ensemble as long as the musicians are positioned close to the bulk of your guests. Keep in mind that if you plan to have an electric instrument such as a digital piano, you’d need an outlet nearby (and shelter from rain!).

Q. Can you perform with a musician that I provide, such as my church organist?

A. Of course. Please give us the contact information for your musicians ahead of time so we may coordinate our performance.


Q. Where should the musicians be positioned?

A. Put us where the most people are likely to enjoy listening to us without tripping over us — in the corner by the hors d’oeuvres, near the entrance, to the side of the altar, etc. If cues will be needed, as in a wedding ceremony, make sure we have a clear line of sight to where the action is happening.

Q. What kind of chairs and other equipment do you need?

A. One armless chair per musician. Please note that we do not bring amplification unless specifically requested (it’s typically not needed for the type of music we play).

Q. Will the musicians play outdoors?

A. Our instruments are valuable, sensitive, and can be damaged by extremes of temperature, moisture, and sunlight. In addition, strong wind can blow the bow off the string, the airstream off the flute, and can knock music stands over. If you are planning an outdoor event, you must provide shelter for the players from wind, rain, and sun. If the outdoor temperature is likely to be below 60 degrees, you must provide a heat source. Please note that we will not be able to perform unless these conditions are met. This is to protect our instruments from damage.

Q. How will you know when to start and stop the music?

A. We require cues, which are typically arranged with an event coordinator or wedding officiant. We will end the music at the right time so there are no awkward cutoffs or “dead air”. We just need to know what will be happening during each musical selection (how many people and how far they they will be walking), and we will take care to time the music to fit.

Q. What will you wear?

A. Dress for classical ensembles is typically tuxedo for men, long black for women. Irish ensembles are everyday casual. If you have other preferences, please let us know.

Q. Do I need to tip the musicians?

A. While tipping is certainly welcomed, it is not expected.

Fees and booking

Please see our booking page for details.