08/27/2016

Kate & Will

Stone Mountain Arts Center
Brownfield, ME

A rustic but beautiful late Summer wedding at the stunning Stone Mountain Arts Center where East Coast Soul performed for a group of old friends.

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In August of 2016, East Coast Soul performed at the Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield, Maine for the beautiful wedding of Will and Kate. The happy couple were already fans of the band after seeing us perform at another wedding in Concord, Massachusetts. We were thrilled that they enjoyed our performance and that we were their first choice for entertainment at their own wedding.

This was our first time working at a Stone Arts Center wedding. We are always excited to work with a new venue. It was even better because this is actually a concert venue, which gave us the opportunity to work in a setting we don’t often see for weddings. The staff proved warm, welcoming, and helpful and made our time there a true pleasure.

Once the big day arrived, East Coast Soul traveled to Brownfield and began our long process of loading in to the venue. It was a long trip for some of us who were traveling all the way from New York City, but the band has commuted further than this many times and we love having the opportunity to perform in new places.

The loading in process and soundcheck were unusual here, because this is an actual performance venue and the room has very strong acoustics, so the volume needed to be adjusted accordingly. Soundcheck is one of the most important elements of our preparation process. Every room we perform in is very different, acoustically speaking. Without sound-checking, what could have sounded good in another room can sound totally horrible in another. With this space in mind, we rehearsed some of the songs the couple requested to make sure that everything would sound great.

Part of our planning process involves outlining exactly what portions of the wedding East Coast Soul will be involved with. This wedding ceremony was held at a different location and they didn’t need our help with sound or music, but as is often the case, East Coast Soul was also asked to provide cocktail hour music. Their cocktail hour was held in the primary performance space, adjacent to the dining barn. We recommended what has become our most popular cocktail hour option, our jazz duo of guitar and saxophone. As musicians who love jazz, we always appreciate the opportunity to set a classy mood for any reception. Our musicians performed an hour set of Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, and more.  When that was finished, the wedding was ready to move to the reception portion of the evening.

In a majority of weddings, East Coast Soul is asked to provide MC services for the program portions of the evening. This wedding was no exception. We started out in the dining barn with a series of four toasts from the parents and siblings of the bride and groom, followed by dinner, during which we played recorded music to set the tone for the meal. After dinner, we returned to the performance area and moved immediately into the couple’s first dance. This is almost always one of the most meaningful parts of the evening. It’s a chance for the couple to take a moment for themselves. For this wedding in particular, we were asked to perform our rendition of “My Dearest Darling” by Etta James. At the couple’s request, we were able to change the lyrics slightly to personalize the song for the bride and groom. We also changed up the tempo of the song a bit, because Will and Kate aren’t big fans of slow songs and wanted us to keep the energy high. We love starting out the night strong, so we were happy to fulfill their requests!

In many weddings, we are also asked to perform the couple’s parent dances. This is a chance for the bride and groom to spend a couple minutes on the dance floor with their father and mother, respectively. In this case, the bride and her father were joined on the dance floor by the groom and his mother for a combined parent dance to Nat King Cole’s “That’s All.” After this song, we asked the guests to join the couple and their parents on the dance floor, and then moved directly in to the rest of the performance.

Our performances often start with older material. We’ve found this is a great way to get folks up on the dance floor with songs they’re familiar with. Will and Kate love Motown, so artists like Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, and more dominated the beginning of our set list. As the night went on, we worked our way to performing more contemporary material that everyone could sing along with. Guests danced non-stop from beginning to end, and we kept slow songs to a minimum and limited our breaks to ensure people had as much time to dance as possible.

Testimonial

"We saw these guys 2 years ago at a friend's wedding and they were amazing. We obviously took their card and within months booked them for our wedding. Now, a million weddings later (with a million other bands at each of those weddings), they are still by far the best band we have ever seen. Having them play at our wedding MADE the reception. They were incredible and we can't wait to see them again at another friend's wedding!"

- the Bride

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