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Park Swing Orchestra646-339-0920; parkswingorc.com
This orchestra can rock the house with up to a 22-piece ensemble (the musicians have been lauded for their big-band skills by the jazz press). Those seeking something more modest can hire just a few members to play classical, jazz, classic rock, or swing. Brothers Edward and Bill Kinslow direct the proceedings. Prices upon request.(good value)
Peter Duchin Music, Inc.212-972-2260; duchinentertainment.com
Performing since 1962, big-band leader Duchin is onstage more than 100 times a year, and his various bands play 200 engagements annually. His company will work with most budgets to provide great dance bands that can play anything from the Great American Songbook to contemporary hits. Also available are D.J.’s, string ensembles, trios, soloists, and everything from mariachi groups to Dixieland bands to classical orchestras. Prices upon request.
James Brown theatrics meet eighties, nineties, and today’s dance hits at every Prenups gig. The Brooklyn-based indie band turns every wedding into a rock concert, performing with a gospel-infused energy that keeps the party going. From $6,000.
Project Orange888-804-1466; projectorangemusic.com
This live-band production company has put on private shows for the likes of Prince and Missy Elliott. Its eight- to fifteen-piece ensembles play hits from every genre (including swing, Motown, pop, and rock), taking care to avoid played-to-death songs. Prices start at $10,500 for an eight-piece band.
The Rhythm Dogs212-206-7924; therhythmdogs.com
dance band specializing in Motown, soul, swing, reggae, and dance music, this group has members who have played with Aretha Franklin and Janet Jackson. A D.J. is also available. Prices upon request.
Robbie Scott And The New Deal Orchestra973-691-8500; newdealorchestra.com
Drummer and vocalist Scott is the backbone of this lauded ensemble, which plays twenties-era big-band swing, Frank Sinatra, seventies disco, and rock and roll. The seasoned group also performs traditional ceremonial music or morphs into a brass quintet or string quartet—and adds a D.J. at no extra charge. Prices upon request.
Sam Hill Entertainment—New York212-518-6554; samhillbands.com
Always in demand, this company books more than 1,000 weddings each year in the New York area and works with a long list of bands, including groups that don’t fit the typical reception-party mold. Many play clubs and shows on nights when they’re not doing weddings, and most offer complimentary jazz solos, duos, or trios for the cocktail hour. Packages range from $3,500 to $10,000.
SoulSystem Orchestras800-466-7685; soulsystemorchestras.com
This perpetually hip group plays a wide range—Rat Pack classics, Motown, Top 40, and rock. Its seasoned musicians regularly tour on the international circuit, and it boasts a rhythm section led by Skid Row drummer Rob Affuso. Soulsystem also features the popular “dancing horns,” which set the tone for a great event. Prices upon request.
Starlight Orchestras & Productions212-595-0999; starlightorchestras.com
After more than twenty years in the business, Valerie Romanoff and her team of bandleaders can shift easily from classic R&B and jazz to hip-hop, rock, and Top 40 hits. Its string ensembles can create a custom sound with a mix of classical and pop music. One played at the wedding of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas and another at the Super Bowl in 2011. Prices upon request.
Star Talent, Inc.212-541-3770; startalentinc.com
Covering traditional to contemporary genres, Star Talent represents ten bands with diverse specialties and offers D.J.’s and string ensembles as well. Its bands have performed at the weddings of both Paula Abdul and Stevie Wonder’s daughter. Five-piece bands start at $4,500.
Steve Wexler and the Top Shelf914-945-0567; stevewexlermusic.com
Wexler’s upbeat band includes professional nightclub, Broadway, and studio musicians. Playing original arrangements and familiar favorites, it can deftly handle a slew of genres: Motown, soul, Latin, rock, and R&B. Ensembles include eight to twelve musicians, and fees range from $5,000 to $15,000.
The Stingers Band212-337-2123; stingersband.com
This peppy band loves jamming out to Motown, R&B, and Top 40 hits. Its “rock and soul” style, cultivated over fifteen-plus years, has generated a huge following: Denzel Washington and Martha Stewart are fans. From $6,500 to $13,000.
Stuart White Productions212-757-3299; stuartwhiteproductions.com
This company has more than ten ensembles, ranging from solo harpists to Motown bands. The crown jewel is its ten-piece orchestra, which has performed at presidential inaugurations. Prices upon request.
Ten Tumbao917-254-6818; tentumbao.com
This top salsa band mixes hot Latin rhythms with passionate vocal harmonies and melodies. It plays a variety of styles, including Cuban, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Colombian, and Brazilian, as well as modern hits. Jazz, funk, swing, classical, and other genres are also available. From $2,500. (good value)
Trapp Music212-961-7420; trappmusic.com
Founder George Trapp, a graduate of Juilliard and the Vienna Conservatory and a veteran of numerous professional groups, oversees a collection of jazz and classical ensembles that incorporate a variety of instruments, ranging from flute to harp to the upright bass. They are especially popular for ceremonies. From $900 per ensemble. (good value)
Trevor Davison Orchestras and Musical Entertainment631-722-4824; trevordavison.com
This Long Island–based orchestra specializes in Hamptons-appropriate swing, jazz, and big-band music with a dash of Motown and contemporary thrown in. Its D.J.-and-band combination is especially popular. Prices upon request.
Vali Entertainment212-571-6931; vali.com
This event-production company’s four bands are nown for danceable covers of classics and energetic performances: They’ll play five-hour sets without breaks. Versatile and eclectic, they have gigged with such boldface names as Queen Latifah, Tina Turner, and Tony Bennett and performed at Chelsea Clinton’s wedding. Anything from a soloist to a 24-piece orchestra is available. Prices upon request.
Venus Ensembles877-888-3687; venusensembles.com
These concert-quality classical and jazz ensembles play elegant or upbeat music and have been on Late Night With David Letterman. Jessica Meyer, the Juilliard-trained founder, helps couples work out the musical details. From $300 per musician. (good value)
From the Summer 2014 New York Wedding Guide
- Jarrell Entertainment
583 11th Street #1 Brooklyn, NY 11215 ; Tel: 917-449-3435 ; jarrellentertainment.com
The preferred vendor for top venues, event planners and celebrity clientele in NY, LA, Hamptons and Miami, Jarrell Entertainment is an innovative global event entertainment company, offering an experienced staff of talented DJs and musicians.
- Soul System Orchestras
New York NY 10019 ; Tel: 800-466-7685 ; www.soulsystemorchestras.com
Young, fun, and elegantly hip! Founded by ROB AFFUSO, drummer of Rock's best selling act, SKID ROW! With their youthful enthusiasm, charismatic, high-energy performances, SOULSYSTEM is NY's hippest event group and entertainment agency!
- Star Talent Inc.
590 Madison Avenue, 21st Floor New York, NY 10022 ; Tel: 212-541-3770 ; www.startalentinc.com
With 10 bands plus DJs and string ensembles too. Dance Bands have performed at the weddings of celebrities like Lisa Kudrow, Paula Abdul and Stevie Wonder's daughter's wedding. NYC's source for customized music services.