Fredericktowne Trio Q. What is a string quartet or a flute/string quartet or a flute/string trio?

A string quartet consists of a pair of violins, a viola (a slightly larger, deeper sounding version of a violin) and a cello, roughly corresponding to the soprano, alto, tenor and bass sections of a choir. In our Frederick Flute/String Quartet, a flute substitutes for one of the violins, producing a bright and elegant sound. Our Fredericktowne Trio consists of one flute, one violin, and one cello. Composers such as Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn and Brahms have been writing music for quartets and trios for over 200 years. When they wanted more sound, they simply added more players.

Q. How do your musical ensembles fit into a wedding celebration?

String quartet and flute/string music is smooth, romantic and refined. Whether your event is an intimate gathering or is a lavish formal affair, music can be used to create an elegant atmosphere throughout your special day and will make an impression that will last long after the wedding celebration is over. Our groups can play indoors or outside (which is handy when there is no piano or pipe organ), and unlike a single instrument or singer, our ensembles offer harmony and a blend of sounds with a range that far exceeds that of any human voice.

Marriage Q. Of what does a typical wedding ceremony consist of?

Typically, a wedding ceremony finds us arriving early (before your first guests) to set up, and then playing prelude music so that your guests arrive to the sound of music filling the air. We then play the processional for the bridal party and the bride. Very often we play a selection during the ceremony--either for the lighting of the unity candle, or for a special interlude. We then play the recessional, and finish with music for your guests to exit by.

Q. How do I select music?...especially if I don’t know much about music?

Visit the Wedding Music page for assistance in selecting the music for different parts of your ceremony. No matter how much or how little you know, your taste is vital in deciding what music you want played at each point in your wedding celebration. First, think about the mood and tone you want to set: joyous and uplifting, quiet and reflective, some of each as the celebration unfolds. Also the Complete Repertoire page will point you to our full repertoire for each of our ensembles—many of the songs have demo sound bites for you to listen to. Also, feel free to call us. We can work directly with you to select music from our repertoire that has special meaning for you and will enhance the occasion. Our repertoire is extensive and varied—from the early Baroque to contemporary love songs, and everything in between. If there is a music selection that you would like that is not in our repertoire, we can usually create a suitable arrangement for a modest fee (advance notice requested).

Q. What do the musicians need on the day of the wedding?

All we generally need is a chair for each musician, and complete protection from the elements if we are to perform outside (see the Where We Perform page for more information on outdoor weddings). The chairs should have flat backs and no arms (folding chairs are fine). We prefer to set up in an area where we are in full view of the wedding party and the ceremony for timing purposes. As we work with you to plan the music, we will talk to the coordinator at the church and/or the reception place to work out these details and to insure a smooth flow.

Bride and Flowers Q. I really want an outdoor wedding. Can the musicians perform outdoors?

Generally, if your guests will be comfortable, the musicians will be as well. Our musicians must be protected from the elements to protect our valuable instruments. A canopy, porch roof, large umbrella, gazebo, or pavilion setting are all adequate.

Q. What will the musicians wear on the day of the wedding?

Musicians wear black, traditionally, so as not to draw attention away from the music itself. We follow that tradition, with the occasional addition of white accents. In the late spring, early fall, and summer, we sometimes wear black and white (particularly to afternoon events) in order to keep ourselves a little more comfortable. If you have a particular preference (e.g., formal floor-length black dresses for the women; black bow ties and tuxedoes for the men), please be sure to indicate your preference. We are always dressed in a professional manner.

Q. I have a large (or small) bridal party. How do I time the processional?

You do not need to worry about the length of the music you have chosen for the processional. We know how to “seamlessly” repeat music or conclude each piece at an appropriate point in the music, without sounding “cut short”. We are familiar with all types of weddings. All we need to know is who is in the bridal party, and the order in which they will walk down the aisle. Just be sure to walk slowly and enjoy the moment—it’s your special day!

Q. Do you need amplified sound?

We do not amplify our sound, as that is not how our instruments were meant to be played. The instruments carry very well, and normally, no amplification is necessary.

Q. Do I need to provide a meal for the musicians?

No meal is required for events of less than three hours in length. For events of three hours or longer occurring during normal meal times, your contract will be written to include some food refreshment. We always aim to fit our breaks and mealtimes so as not to disturb the continuity of your event.

Q. Will the musicians come to my rehearsal the day before?

Because of our extensive experience with wedding ceremonies, we do not need to attend the wedding rehearsal. Our coordinator normally arrives early on your wedding day to be sure the last minute details are in place. If you do wish the musicians to attend the rehearsal, the same rate schedule for performances applies to the rehearsal as for the actual ceremony, with a 90 minute minimum. Most couples opt not to hire the musicians for the rehearsal, since this will generally double the price of your event.

Q. How is the seating of special people (like the families) handled?

This is an area that deserves thoughtful planning. If you have not devised a plan of your own, may we recommend one? The musicians will be playing prelude music from the time your first guests arrive until the start of the ceremony. We find it to be a very nice touch if the seating of the special people in your lives did not just blend in with the prelude music. This can be done as follows: five minutes before the beginning of the ceremony, you can have a special song selected for the seating of your V.I.P.'s. This song, along with the purpose for which it is being played, can be listed in the wedding program. Ushers could escort these special people in, either by couples or one at a time. At this point, if there is to be a Unity Candle in the ceremony, the mothers could go up and light “family” candles surrounding the Unity Candle. Once the mothers have returned to their seats, the special entrance song would draw to a close and the processional would begin.

Q. How would you treat the entrance of the groom, officiant, and the groomsmen?

About half the time, the choice is made that the men go to their places silently, and once they have assumed their positions properly, the music begins for the entrance of the bridesmaids. The other half of the time, the decision is made that the music for the processional should begin before the men make their entrance. Of course, this is assuming that the men are coming in separately from the bridesmaids. Generally, the officiant, groom and groomsmen enter in a line. Sometimes, the bridal party enters as couples.

Q. How do we provide you with our musical selections?

When you book with us, we will send you our Wedding Music Planner Form to complete. You can fill out this form electronically, and then just email it back to us.

Q. I really want a certain piece to be played at my wedding, but it is not listed in the repertoire...

With advance notice, we can create an arrangement of most musical selections as long as we can get a piano score. We charge a modest fee for this because of the time involved in creating the appropriate arrangement.

Q. What can I do to make my wedding even more special?

The addition of a trumpet can create a marvelous regal tone. We can provide a trumpeter for an additional fee (contact us for quotes). We can also work with your vocalist, pianist or organist. There is an additional fee to work with your soloist, due to the extra coordination time involved. If we will be working with a soloist, you will need to extend your booking time by ½ hour to allow for a ½ hour rehearsal prior to the start of the prelude.

Q. How long should I book the music for?

Visit our Booking page for more information. Most ceremonies require at least 90 minutes to two hours, which ensures that you have enough time for the entire ceremony, and allows for any unexpected delays. If you wish to have music for the cocktail and/or dinner hour, you might need two to four hours. Since we often book more than one event in a day, it is sometimes not possible for us to stay longer than the contracted time (note that overtime charges apply in ½-hour increments even if it is only a few minutes over). Be sure to allow plenty of time for your event when making the decision about how long to book. It is a good idea to allow at least an extra 15 to 30 minutes to account for any unexpected delays, since many weddings run a few minutes late. A full Catholic mass requires 2½ hours, especially if there are soloists that need to rehearse with us.

Q. How do I book my wedding?

Visit our Booking and our Booking Advice pages and also fill out our Inquiry Form. After we confirm availability for your date, we will ask you if you wish us to mail you a contract to review. Once you return the signed contract with a 50% initial payment, your event is booked (we’ll hold your date for two weeks until this is received). The final payment is due two weeks prior to your wedding. You can send your deposit and your final balance payment either by check or by using PayPal (we accept all credit cards or debit payments through PayPal).

Q. Will I need to meet with the musicians before the wedding to plan the music?

A face-to-face meeting is not usually necessary, but we are happy to meet with you in person for a modest fee. Most of the time the necessary details can be worked out by phone or e-mail. We are happy to provide advice and assistance whenever you have a question, so feel free to call or e-mail at any time.

Q. Can you make our public announcements at the wedding reception?

Please respect our desire to make your event the most memorable experience possible for you and your guests by not distracting us from our primary focus of providing you with beautiful live music for your event. Therefore, please do not ask us to provide public voice announcements. These announcements are much more appropriately made by your wedding coordinator or disk jockey. If we are asked to provide voice announcements at the event, please understand that we have to refuse.

Q. Who else do you recommend for other aspects of our wedding?

Please visit our Links page for other resources and information.