Wedding & Event Bands | Cleveland Music Group
We would like to thank our clients and friends for all your votes for us in the 2009 Fox 8 Hot List Contest! After being in third place for the past two years, we made second place this year!
We are entered in this particular contest as a full-service agency, but many of our bands also run as well. So we were very pleased to see that spots 3-5 were taken up by bands from our roster! Redline took the third spot, Heart & Soul placed fourth, and Rick & the Cutting Edge won fifth place.
This couldn’t have happened without our happy clients and supporters taking time out of their day to vote for us. We sincerely appreciate this effort!
Such is the nature of our world in the music business that much of the payment for our services rendered happens in a face to face exchange at the end of any given gig. Of course, in most cases the “gig” in question has probably been one in which some pretty heavy drinking by the clients has been involved. This can make for some pretty interesting if not downright challenging situations during that final transaction. And so I write this open letter to our beloved customers:
Dear (insert special event name) Client,
We musicians realize that much like Dickens’ ghost of Marley we carry the chains forged from decades of bad reputations for not showing up or showing up late and then raping and pillaging your entire shindig. We also realize that this negative stereotype makes your parting with your balance check BEFORE the gig about as likely as head table place settings for the rhythm section. But could YOU realize that at midnight after an entire day of revelry and all the Jack and Coke that goes with it, you’re probably not in any frame of mind to deal with important financial transactions like making sure the band actually gets paid for services rendered?
Let me explain. In many cases where musical entertainment is contracted, a NON-REFUNDABLE deposit (don’t even get me started on this oft-ignored policy) is required ahead of time to reserve the act for your event. Most of the time this deposit is 50% of the total due, with the other half due the night of the event. Fine. This first half of the transaction usually occurs on a weekday when everyone is sober. Don’t get me wrong. All of us in the industry are grateful you’ve contracted our services. But here’s hoping that more fathers of the bride and other special event benefactors realize that after a gig, we’re sweaty, tired and just want to get paid, pack up our gear and head to bed. The challenge for many beleaguered band leaders and DJ’s is actually collecting that balance check in a timely fashion once the lights come up at the end of the night. It’s hard enough finding you among the remaining guests, probably interrupting whatever slurry conversation you might be in and holding our hand out like Oliver Twist asking for “more”. Here are a few classic examples that can make it even harder (you know who you are!):
The Scribbler – Once you actually locate him after 20 minutes, this is the completely snockered dad who can barely hold his checkbook and a pen at the same time. Often the bandleader will politely stand before The Scribbler for an extended period of time while he goes through an inordinate amount of checks, screwing each one up worse than the other. The upside down check….the check where he accidentally writes the same profanity he is speaking…the check he fell asleep in the middle of writing. In the end you usually get a crumpled, damp piece of paper made out to: “Je78XXX7s Prkdd#@# F**CK!”
The Socialite – This is the mother of the bride or similar player who gets that classic look of “What? We owe you money?” look in her eyes upon your approach. She then proceeds to tell you to “follow her”, and like a compensation-starved puppy you are on her tail throughout the entire reception. Of course, making a bee line to the source of the money would be too much to ask, so naturally she stops at every group of relatives for another extended conversation-the bandleader at her side like a personal valet. By the third or fourth stop to chat, she has completely forgotten who you are and where she was going in the first place and finally asks you to go get her another drink.
The Concierge – This is the would-be payer who left his checkbook up in the hotel room. This is easily a half-hour wait and you know once he finally gets up there, he forgot to get the keycard to the room from his wife.
The Hot Potato – This tactic is usually committed by a group of relatives who must be a joy to dine out with once the check comes because their paying-avoidance skills are honed to perfection. These are the folks who deflect you like running backs and refer you to another player like the best man who they think was in charge of disbursing checks…of course Best Man looks at you like you have three heads and you get passed off to Cousin Vinnie….Vinnie to Aunt Fannie..Fannie to…well, you get the picture. By the time this merry-go-round stops it’s 3 am and you’re looking at the busboy wondering if the tips in his pocket would be enough to cover the balance.
So…how to avoid this frustration? Take care of all the business transactions before the reception starts. Organize and write your vendor checks ahead of time and pass them out. Get it out of the way. We totally understand that paying before the party starts makes you nervous. But rest assured, we didn’t spend the last three hours to set up a full ten-piece band and complete sound system only to dine and dash. We’re there, we’re staying and you will get the great entertainment you imagined. The artists at companies with reputations like Jerry Bruno Productions are consummate professionals who only want the best for you and for you to continue referring us to your friends and families. We’ve grown up from our wanna-be rock star days of raping and pillaging your gentile events. So pay up…early. You’ll have a happy and content band and you can party ’til you puke! You’ll be safe and we won’t have to incur the wrath of a drunken Aunt Fannie. Check please.
Geoff Short (aka Oliver Twist)
At the time of this posting, Geoff was the Sales and Promotions Manager at Jerry Bruno Productions (now Cleveland Music Group) and the bandleader for its band The Avenue.
Last week, Leigh answered the office phone, and on the other end was a producer from America’s Got Talent. The hit NBC show is holding auditions now and they were looking for special acts to audition. The producer, Shauna, who is originally from Cleveland, offered to set up audition times direct with the producers so our talent would not need to wait in line.
We gave Shauna a few recommendations and asked her to visit our web site to have a look at all the great talent we have to offer. She called back within ten minutes to offer auditions to Frederick Davis of The Orchestra, Tiffany Marchak of The Avenue, and our Wind & Sand Bellydancing troupe.
We are pleased to announce that Frederick Davis and Wind & Sand will both be auditioning. Tiffany Marchak is in talks with the producers along with her fiancé, magician Rick Smith, Jr. America’s Got Talent producers have invited Rick to compete on their show in previous years, but due to contracts and appearances on other shows, like ABC’s Master of Champions and The Ellen DeGeneres Show, it hasn’t worked out. Tiffany has previously appeared on American Idol and ABC’s The One.
Good luck to all of our auditioners, and stay tuned for updates!
Being in a special event band gives us musicians a very special perspective on things that can make the difference between a successful event and one that is primarily remembered for Uncle Shemp dropping his pants and passing out in the middle of the dance floor. It’s a good thing all prospective brides, grooms and wedding reception guests on the dance floor, at the bar or in the buffet line can’t see what we see from atop our wedding band risers week in and week out….there might be a lot less comedy in the wedding world.
Don’t get me wrong, 99% of the weddings we perform at are gorgeous, classy affairs that are painstakingly planned. From the band perspective, all of us at JBP work very closely with clients, planners, venues and other vendors to make sure we guide the reception smoothly through its timeline. But the recurrence of a certain amusing–if not downright awkward–nuptial phenomenon never ceases to amaze…usually starting with the first dance.
The first rule of planning a wedding reception is that there are no rules; whatever the newlyweds like is what should happen. But it’s always been my understanding that the first dance should be one of the most romantic moments of the big day. A few minutes that not only christen the dance floor, but that also give a new husband and wife the chance to hold each other and reflect with one another on having just started this new part of their lives together – all while listening to one of their favorite songs. It’s almost a private moment really. The most moving and romantic first dances I’ve seen are usually handled this way. And then there are the others…
You know the ones: the dance school flunkies, who despite weeks of bargain wedding dance class lessons still look like they’re in a boxing match as opposed to a first dance. And why is it always the grooms with the absolute worst rhythm in the world who seem to be forced into this choreographic conundrum? It never fails that instead of a lump in my throat I have to fight the giggles at the look of absolute terror on his face and the look of sympathetic frustration on hers as she is relentlessly counting to four through pursed lips. Rather than a beautiful moment of wedded bliss, these fumblings resemble the awkward prep school dance classes we were forced into as kids.
On behalf of dance schools everywhere, dance classes are great things and fun to do together as a couple. But a first dance is not a variety show. You don’t have to entertain your guests – yet. Newlyweds, do yourself a favor. Just hold each other and thank your lucky stars you’ve just married this prince or princess of your dreams. You should remember this moment as one of joy and love in each others’ arms – not one in which you’d rather be anywhere else than having to remember which is your left foot and which is your right. The genuine look of being in love on both your faces will entertain the crowd way more than any spin or dip. And your future kids will never look through your wedding album asking why daddy was sweating and looked like he had to go potty.
At the time of this posting, Geoff was the Sales and Promotions Manager at Jerry Bruno Productions (now Cleveland Music Group) and the bandleader of The Avenue.
For the past two years, we have placed Third in the Cleveland Wedding Music category of the Fox 8 Hot List Contest. Pretty good. But with over 18 bands, 15 DJs, and countless other groups, acts, and musicians as well as over 1,500 happy clients per year, we’re pretty sure we could reach first or second place this time.
It’s so easy to help us reach our goal. Simply click the yellow “Vote” button on our page at the Hot List contest site. You may have to register quickly, but you will not be spammed.
Voting ends November 6 and we will post the results as soon as they are announced. Thank you!
If you’re itching to get down to the classy sounds of the Jerry Bruno Orchestra, there are two big events to look into during September.
Tuesday, September 8
Lakewood Civic Auditorium – 7:00 pm
2009 FOP Benefit Show
Cleveland Fraternal Order of Police – Lodge No. 8 and the Western Cuyahoga Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 25 presents the Showcase of Stars. Entertainment provided by the Jerry Bruno Orchestra. Also featuring Elvis Impersonator, Kelvis.
Family ticket package admits 2 people: $20. For ticket information call (440) 843-4800 and ask for the ticket office.
Tuesday, September 29
Carrie Cerino’s Party Center
Doors: 10:45 am
Lunch: 11:30 am
Door Prizes: 12:30 pm
Show: 1:00 pm
Annual Salute to America’s Greatest Generation: The Greatest Songs of World War II Performed by the Jerry Bruno Orchestra. Also featuring Vince Mastro singing the songs of Perry Como.
Advanced Tickets $39.00. Group Rates Available. Call Jo Ann Fedorchak for ticket info: (216) 642-8944.