I feel compelled to write this article, because it is the very reason I started Anthology Strings. A contractor or contracting house, the companies that offer “All music services, bands, jazz groups and classical ensembles” is the reason we exist.
What a lot of my clients don’t know is that these contractors have little to do with or even know about what it means to play music at a wedding. They send various miss-matched groups of musicians out to play a ‘gig’. This ‘gig’ happens to be Your wedding. As a musician who plays many many weddings, I’ve been on these gigs. You get a phone call, you show up at the ‘gig’ and you meet or perhaps know the other musicians playing. The music is almost never arranged, or put into order. Since you’ve never played with these other people, it’s hard to tell who is in charge, especially if the person playing the concertmaster position isn’t a good leader.
When people get together to play music for the first time, it’s a delicate and intricate dance. Each person plays an important role in the ensemble, each person supports one another by leading, influencing, suggesting, pulling, pushing… you get the picture, it’s a complicated thing.
Now, put the pressure of playing in front of an audience of at least 100 people. Making sure that you get each person down the aisle properly, that you start at the right time, and most importantly, that you end each song perfectly. How do you know how the first violinist is going to cut off the group? What if he gets lost and the bride and groom are waiting at the end of aisle for the music to stop and then… the unthinkable, the scratching record -crash-and-burn of a bunch of musicians not ending correctly. Yes, we’ve all been there and YES this is the reason I started my ensemble.
The general contractors are concerned with volume at the expense of value. They are concerned with keeping their company aloft and this means piecing musicians together to play music on your one of your most carefully thought out and planned days of your life. As a musician we’ve all played these weddings, the reason these companies exist is because generally speaking, the music is not difficult, you are sight reading, and most likely you know how ‘Canon in D’ goes.
Anthology Strings was formed from this need: to provide the utmost professional performance, with the highest degree of personalization and attention to detail. We are as concerned with music as you are with your dress and flowers and location… you get the point. My suggestion is to always go with small ensembles, groups put together specifically for the purpose of playing weddings. Groups that have been around for a while, groups that have great recommendations from other clients and that can prove their value.