Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bands vs. DJs- a Band's perspective

Keyboard player Mark Shilansky of the Hip Pocket Orchestra in Boston,MA offers some great advice when deciding on your entertainment for your wedding.

Hip Pocket Orchestra
Music Mangement

Bands vs. DJs.
As a keyboard player who has been a full-time and sub member of some of New England's finest wedding bands (currently a member of Hip Pocket Orchestra, have played with Moment's Notice, Night Rhythm, Stardust), I'm obviously in favor of you hiring a band for your wedding or other event.

Our singers interact with the crowd, often dancing with guests and leading dance contests and the like. As instrumenalists we can interact, as well, upping the intensity as the dancing becomes more intense... having seen a band like Earth Wind and Fire live, I can tell you it's much more fun to dance to them live than in my living room. A couple gets an even more special feeling if a human being stands before them and sings their favorite song, than when a human being pushes a button on a CD player or an ipod. And, with a band like Hip Pocket that has choreography and great soloists, the members of the crowd who don't feel like dancing get treated to a concert.

Not to discount the value of DJs. They can play up-to-the-minute current stuff, and can also get crowds worked up. And I wouldn't recommend working a Bar Mitzvah without a DJ (and dancers) for the kids, as well as a band for the adults. But, if you have the money, it's worth the expense to have the extra warmth and energy a band can generate.

You need to choose a band that is capable of playing the music you want to hear, or is capable of playing the widest diversity of styles imaginable, to meet you and your guests' needs. Ask if the band plays specific tunes by specific artists; a good band almost always includes in its basic pricing one or two special requests, with more available at a small fee. Try and hear the band live to see if you want to spend several hours with them. And, back to the diversity issue: our band can play the latest tunes from the pop charts (we're currently seeing the dance floor fill up to "Single Ladies" by Beyonce, and Lady Ga Ga's "Just Dance"), and disco and 80's classics (EWF's "September" and, surprisingly, the novelty hit "Come On Eileen" are huge for us), but then play jazz and James Taylor for the cocktail and dinner sets, and even provide musicians for the ceremony.

So, thanks for reading, and consider weighing these options when choosing entertainment for your event! Congratulations!

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