experienced violinist
wedding dance

MP3 Music Samples

Trumpet Tune
Air on a G string
Eine Kleine
Con te Partiro
All I Ask of You
Moon River
The Rose

Planning Music for Wedding
and Corporate Receptions


cello with wedding flowers

In addition to wedding ceremonies, the Great Lakes Chamber Players also performs for wedding receptions and corporate events, adding an elegant ambience to your event. We can perform during the cocktail hour and during the entire dinner as well. We can even arrange to have a small chamber orchestra at your reception to play waltzes! Although each event is unique, all involve similar planning issues.

Ensemble Selection

The ensemble you select will be determined by the number of guests, nature of the event, and your personal tastes. We generally recommend one musician per 50 guests to keep a proper balance between conversation and music. This is not an absolute rule as brass instruments are much louder than strings, such as the violin or harp. One also needs to decide the nature of the event and the atmosphere that one would like to set. A grand opening might be best accented with brass or brass with strings while the atmosphere of an elegant restaurant may require a string trio. Please feel free to contact the Great Lakes Chamber Players to discuss various possibilities.

The Great Lakes Chamber Players also offers the Nichol Jazz Combo for wedding receptions. This ensemble works well for small and large receptions.

Here are some possible ensemble ideas for events:

Small Reception: Cello/violin, cello/flute, string trio, flute trio (flute/violin/cello), cello/piano, violin/piano, harp/flute, harp/violin.

Large Wedding Reception or Corporate Social Event: String quartet, flute quartet (flute with string trio), piano quartet (violin/viola/cello/piano), piano trio (violin/cello/piano).

Grand Opening Event: Brass quintet or quartet (available through the GLCP on a limited basis), trumpet with string quartet.

Repertoire Selection

The Great Lakes Chamber Players specializes in classical music yet we often intersperse this with music of a more popular nature such as Broadway and show tunes. We are careful to choose popular music that works well with classical instruments. We also offer jazz for receptions with the Nichol Jazz Ensemble. Please let us know if you have any special requests.

Opportunities for Music During Reception

Several opportunities for music exist during the reception. Some couples will hire a DJ or band for the reception but have a classical ensemble play for other parts of the reception. Some couples, especially for small weddings, hire a string quartet for the whole evening and have the strings play waltzes for the bride and groom first dance and the father/daughter dance. It all depends on what type of mood you would like to set at your event. Here are a few ideas;

Cocktail Hour
It is a great idea to hire a classical ensemble, such as a string quartet, to play for your guests during the cocktail hour as they wait for dinner.

Introducing the Wedding Party
Have you thought about classical music for the introductions? If you have a DJ, he or she can still do the announcing while a string quartet performs classical music.

Classical Music during Dinner
Is your goal an elegant atmosphere for your dinner? Nothing matches the elegance and romance of strings during the dinner at your reception.

A group of strings can play waltzes and other appropriate popular tunes for the father/daughter dance and the bride and groom's first dance. This works particularly well for smaller receptions. Also, a piano/violin or piano/cello combination works well for receptions.

Placement of Musicians

One important factor is the placement of the musicians to allow for traffic flow. Place the musicians on the opposite end of the reception hall from the bar or food station. Also, be sure to seat the musical ensemble at least 10 feet from the nearest table to allow the servers to move freely around the tables while serving the food to your guests. Plan on each musicians needing 4' x 4' of floor space.

Outdoor Events

The main factors in playing outdoors are sound projection and protecting the instruments from the elements. Generally speaking, for large outdoor receptions, we recommended a string trio or string quartet (2 violins/viola/cello), to adequately project the sound. Placing the musicians on or next to a hard surface, such as a patio or against a wall, helps in sound projection. For a large reception, raising the musicians up on a platform can also help the sound. For large outdoor receptions, electrical outlets are sometimes necessary for amplification.

To protect the instruments from damage, musicians need to be out of the direct sun in a shaded area. If shade is not available, renting a 10 x 10 foot canopy may be necessary. If possible, placing the musicians out of the wind is also helpful to facilitate page turns. Also, in order to protect the instruments from damage, a minimum temerature of 60 degrees is necessary.

For more information on outdoor events, please see our outdoor or beach wedding page.

Dress Code

The dress code for the Great Lakes Chamber Players is concert attire; black tuxedo for the men and all black for the women. Please feel free to contact the Great Lakes Chamber Players with any questions you may have.

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