How To Select A Wedding Band

Published in the Jewish Press

by Shlomo Walfish

Selecting a band for your Simcha can be confusing and time consuming, but if you take this advice and set aside a few hours you will be very happy you did. A Caterer, photographer & florist are all very important parts of a Simcha, however a band can make or break it. There are two main things to consider when looking for a band (or anything else). Quality and Price. The statement "You get what you pay for" is usually true but not always. A more expensive band does not necessarily mean it's better. A bigger band or office is not always better either. What makes a band really good? A few things:

1. For starters you need excellent musicians.

2. The musicians have to have good chemistry with each other and work well together as a team.

3. The musicians should work together on a very regular basis.

4. A band is only as good as its leader. He has to know what songs to call at the right time, lead the band from one song to the next with a smooth transition, listen to the appropriate people at the Simcha and he needs to have and be capable of running a good PA system.

You should check out at least 3 different bands. The one with the middle price should usually be fare. Get at least 3 references from past clients for the bands that you are considering. Check out the bands live no matter how good the salesman is, you should see and here what you are getting, "The proof is in the putting".

The person that you are dealing with should sound professional and courteous. Find out from past clients if they were given special attention and service when planing Simcha details with the band. If you book a band and don't see them until the Simcha date. you are missing out on valuable service. Remember that you are the boss and you are entitled to ask the band for anything (within reason), however it is usually a good idea to trust someone who is on the band stand regularly.

Don't let anyone pressure you into signing a contract by saying if you don't book now someone else will and you won't get a good band. You don't want to take too long to book the band however take the time to do your research, unless it is a very busy date, you will have no problem finding a good band. Some caterers get commissions for recommending bands, that does not necessarily mean you will get the best band or value.

Sundays are very popular days. Big offices can send out between 5 and 10 bands at the same time. While all their best musicians can work together on a non busy weekday to produce a good sounding band, on Sundays these musicians can get sent out to the various different band stands many times sacrificing the quality of all the Sunday bands by spreading out to thin. A smaller office that guarantees you its regular weekday group for a Sunday Simcha will probably be a more solid, predictable and reliable band.

Some bands have more class then others some may be more Leibadick, try to find a band that has a good blend of both. Singers add a lot to a band. Listen to who is singing at your Simcha, make sure you like there style, accent and appearance, your guests will notice this. Ask what kind of attitude the band has about its volume.

Agents who knock other bands are focusing on the wrong thing, if a band is good and reputable they should have enough good things to say about themselves with out knocking their competitors. Salesmen knock their competitors when they feel that their competitors are a threat to themselves.

Just because you know 6 great musicians doesn't necessarily mean that they sound good together. there must be a lot a positive chemistry between the musicians and the band leader to have a tight united sound. Just like a good sports team. Don't worry so much about specific musicians names it's far more important to trust the band leader or agent you are dealing with, ultimately they will be responsible for making sure you get what you want. Make sure the person that you are dealing with has a good reputation and a solid history of taking care of past satisfied clients.

Chances are that a musician who is on the band stand regularly knows more about the intricacies and specifics of what makes a band good than an agent who doesn't perform on the band stand or may not even be a musician. Be careful who you deal with. Ask if the musicians read sheet music. Will they write up non standard tunes for you, if so will they charge extra fees? Ask to talk to the band leader personally to express what you want, things can and do get lost in translation. Check if you need overtime, you may be able to get a discount for booking extra time in advance. Make sure the office you are dealing with has musicians contract to it, otherwise how can they guarantee you a solid band. Don't be afraid to look into new ideas and things, "Nothing ventured nothing gained".

Mazal Tov ! and good luck.

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