Friday, December 19, 2008

Julie and Ryan Mix it Up for Their Wedding

Julie and Ryan are seriously into music-She is a flutist and Ryan sings in barbershop quartets. So, they wanted to include all kinds of music at their winter wedding.

Here's what I played (for more information on these songs, check out my repertoire list).

Pre-Ceremony Seating Music:
1. "Star of the County Down" (traditional Irish)
2. "Unchained Melody"
3. "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty" (Christian hymn)
4. "You'll Never Walk Alone"
5. "Silent Night"
6. "La Vie En Rose"
7. "In Dreams"
8. "Come What May"
9. "Canon in D"
10. "Clair de Lune"
11. "Arabian Dance"
12. "Annie's Song"

Wedding Party of 3 Bridesmaids: "Ave Maria" (Schubert) 
Bride's Entrance: "Here Comes the Bride" 
Music played softly behind Ceremony: "Some Enchanted Evening" 
Music during the Lighting of Unity Candle: "You Raise Me Up" 
Recessional: "March" from the Nutcracker Suite

Post-Ceremony Music Played During Photo Session:
1. "The Angelical Hymn"
2. "Into the West"
3. "(Everything I Do) I do It For You"
4. "Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow"
5. "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes"
6. "Ice Castles (Through the Eyes of Love)"

The scene was set for the wedding, with candles lit throughout the indoor gazebo at David Walley's Resort in Genoa, Nevada.

When Reverend David Beronio arrived, I checked in with him about my cues for the ceremony and then seating began. He checked in with Wendy, the wedding coordinator. I began playing "Ave Maria" just as Reverend David walked up to the altar with the gentlemen. Trouble was, I had not set my harp in the correct key after coming off of playing "Annie's Song" for the seating.

In walked the bridesmaids on cue, and I just continued flipping harp levers, playing an errant note here and there, until the harp was finally in the correct key. I felt like a gymnast who starts off her routine a little wobbly and has a flawless finish. All else went perfectly. The bride walked in to her majestic music, and I was in sync with all my cues from the minister.

Did the bride and groom notice, in that candle-lit room decorated like Christmas? Did the bridesmaids notice? Not that I knew. Everyone complimented about the music. Only Reverend David took notice and mentioned afterwards, "Was wondering about that first song, but it all came out beautifully!" (Rev. Dave is a fan of music played during the ceremony).

As I left at the end of Julie and Ryan's photo session, Julie gushed about how she loved "Some Enchanted Evening" played during her ceremony, and off they went to their reception.

Tips for Brides:

Go ahead and mix up your music list for your wedding. Like Julie and Ryan, you can let your music selections be a reflection of you and your fiancé. Just make sure to clear your ceremony music choices with your officiant, especially any tunes played during the ceremony itself. 

In the above example, you'll notice that I was in touch with the wedding coordinator and the minister before and during the ceremony. When you hire services providers who are professional, they work together as a team to make everything come out perfectly. It is a plus if the service providers have worked with each other in the past, too. For instance, I am familiar with Reverend David's ceremonies, so I know that he welcomes music played within the ceremony.

When you hire your wedding service providers, ask how long they have been in business as well as whether they know some of the other providers you have already hired. Then, you can relax in the knowledge that you have hired a team of professionals who will take care of your wedding needs.

Tips for Musicians:

Check in with everyone prior to the wedding ceremony to get your cues, even if you have worked with the minister and the coordinator in the past. Every wedding is different, and you might find out that there was a change made in music or cues at the last minute.

And if your instrument, your voice, or your ensemble members crack a wrong note, just keep on going. You can't go back and fix that moment, but you can perfect the remainder of your performance. We're all human, and stuff just happens. Professionals make mistakes all the time--they just know how to cover for them.

Many more tips are available from my book "The Musician's Guide to Brides" available wherever Hal Leonard Books are sold: music and bookstores, and through online retailers including,, and of course, at my website at

I'm looking forward to reading your stories, comments, and feedback. Have a wonderful Holiday Season and a Very Happy New Year!

Sending Warm Wishes, 
Anne :-)
Celtic Harp Music by Anne Roos

P.S.--Musicians--Get a jumpstart on your New Year's Prosperity Plan. Attend one of Bob Baker's workshops.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

‘Tis the Season to Party—The Economy Isn’t That Bad

Rich contacted me to perform at his company's "Holiday Family Luncheon". He was desperately looking for some kind of entertainment that would fit the budget he was given. When I gave him a quote, he exclaimed, "You're much cheaper than a dance band or a DJ! Those guys want $1500 or more, and that doesn't even include their mileage." Within 24 hours, I was hired for a 4-hour holiday party.

About 250 employees, along with spouses and children, attended the banquet. Trees with twinkle lights, fountains, and park benches decorated the Tuscany Ballroom of the Peppermill Resort Casino in Reno, Nevada for this special event. And there I sat, with my harp, dressed in my white and gold gown. Rich said I looked like a snowflake.

I played every holiday classic tune you could imagine, including Victorian Christmas carols and music from the Nutcracker Suite. I also took requests, playing "Stairway to Heaven" for Rich (never mind that it wasn't a Christmas song). And then, when Santa entered the room, I played "Santa Claus is Coming to Town". (For more information of the extent of my song list, check out my corporate repertoire list).

I was tickled to hear from so many guests that the music set a wonderful backdrop for the occasion. People could visit with each other without having to shout over a loud PA system. Many of the attendees stared at me while I played, mentioning later that they had never seen a harp before and were amazed. At the end of the party, Rich, and another company event coordinator Sheryll, said they would certainly consider me for their future employee events and next year's holiday party.

Though there is so much talk of a bad economy and companies pulling back on their holiday festivities this year, this example proves that there are companies that are not in trouble. Rich and Sheryll worked for two merged companies that make chocolate and pet food-both staples that people continue to buy, even in a recession. Holiday cheer still exists.

Tips for In-House Corporate Event Planners:

A down economy does not mean that you have to say, "Bah Humbug!" And put the brakes on your annual employee holiday parties. They can still happen-Just scale them back to fit your present budget.

Instead of the expensive DJ or dance band, opt for soloists or small ensembles. Your guests will be able to mix and mingle without shouting, and not as much space will be required for the performance area. If it is a family party, you can even host a talent show or have employee's children perform, with a little backup accompaniment from a professional musician. There are many inexpensive ways to entertain.

You can also opt to have your party in a smaller venue, go with a buffet service instead of a sit-down meal, or serve only one course, for instance appetizers or desserts. What other budget-saving ideas can you think of?

There are many ways to trim the expenses on your holiday festivities without nixing them altogether, and you can always afford live entertainment.

Tips for Musicians:

Do you truly think that the economy is so bad that no one is partying this year? Think again. Companies that are in recession- proof businesses are doing just fine.

Make yourself affordable to your clients. If you are a large band, let clients know that they can hire just a portion of your group. If you are a soloist, you are probably charging quite a bit less than bands or DJs, and this is a major selling point.

Give the client one quote for the entire package and don't itemize the cost of everything that you are including. Give a secondary package quote if the client doesn't have the budget for the first quote you supplied. Offer to match the theme of the event with your costumes and repertoire. Offer no-cost amplification or other complimentary frills to land the gig.

When you are at the event, be willing to take requests. Play an encore--be generous with your abilities and your time. Bring a few CDs to give as gifts to those who hired you and to the CEO. Realize that corporate clients are in a position to hire you for their future events. The goal is to attract repeat business, and this is accomplished by bending over backwards for your clients.

Stay positive in this tough economy, and you will attract clients to you.

Many more tips are available from my book "The Musician's Guide to Brides". This book is written primarily for wedding musicians, but it's also filled with advice about marketing, advertising, and promoting your business as a working musician. It's available wherever Hal Leonard Books are sold: music and bookstores, and through online retailers including,, and of course, at my website at Celtic Harp Music.

I'm looking forward to reading your feedback about performing at corporate functions. Check back here again for next week's story.

Anne :-)

Anne Roos
Celtic Harp Music by Anne Roos