WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT TO HEAR YOU PLAY LIVE?
Most venues have really cracked down on viewing at other weddings. It’s considered “party crashing,” as you’ve probably heard, even though Shine plays almost every weekend. Many night clubs, where bands play a real variety, are now using a DJ or karaoke format due to the economy. Some have simply closed. Showcases run by entertainment agencies generally feature the bands with very little work, or ones that are recently-formed—having no track record compared to an established band. Occasionally it is possible to hear bands play at a wedding or private event and it works out. Finding convenient times and locations can be get frustrating—the truth, with no negativity intended!
WHAT ARE HELPFUL FACTORS IN CONSIDERING SHINE?
After listening to our music online or on CD (basically the same music), you can get a clear idea if our band is talented or not. Checking out Shine’s extensive song list, locations played and the extra info on our website really helps. We hope you get the impression that a band that has played 60–100 weddings a year since the 80s has done so for one main reason: we’re good and we play what people want. Establishing a reliable reputation year after year is crucial. There are many available references that you can speak with or email who can attest to our level of dedication. Believe it or not, a high majority of couples have not heard Shine at an event before their wedding—which is personally all the more reason to prove our reliability. Please call John, our band leader—he’s available to give you a direct answer to any of your concerns.
WHAT IS YOUR PRICING STRUCTURE?
Our rates vary depending on the season. Generally speaking, Saturdays in the months of May through October are the premium dates, as you would expect. Shine discounts all other dates, and is consistently known for working with people on a variety of pricing issues. A substantial discount is always offered on all Fridays and Sundays—as well as all wedding dates occurring between November 1 and May 1 (except for New Year’s Eve). Travel charges are sometimes applied, there is no tax required, and the band is almost always available to perform for more than four hours at a reasonable overtime rate. Please contact John anytime for a quote!
WHERE WON'T YOU PLAY?
Tough one! After performing at the myriad of the top venues as well as older mansions, restaurants, historic sites, tents of all sizes, porches, beaches, boats, barns, backyards, and in almost all weather conditions—there isn’t much left! The smallest wedding we’ve done is for 13 people, with the largest party having about 1,500 guests. We have no special power requirements, and are consistently relied upon to troubleshoot performance-space issues.
HOW FAR IN ADVANCED DO YOU GET BOOKED?
The popular dates (Saturdays in May through October and holiday Sundays) always go first, about 9–18 months in advance. The other dates follow in no particular order. Sometimes we are booked just a few weeks before a wedding. There’s no harm in checking availability!
WE WANT SHINE. WHAT'S NEXT?
Simply call John Harris, Shine’s bandleader, at 781-545-6011. After confirming availability and answering any further questions, the date will be closed off. A contract is emailed right away in .pdf (Adobe Acrobat) format, along with a very helpful Reception Worksheet (returned by you later on with song choices, etc.). Regular mail is used if preferred. A deposit is sent back with a copy of the contract, securing the date. The balance is paid at the wedding.
WILL YOU LEARN OUR SPECIAL DANCE SONG IF
YOU DON'T ALREADY PLAY IT?
Absolutely! Simply send a copy of the song and the sheet music—which can normally be found fairly easily for less than $10. Shine band members are very adept at reading and writing music, and can arrange a song to fit your needs if it needs to be abbreviated or lengthened.
DO WE PICK THE SONGS YOU PLAY?
After performing at over a thousand weddings, we’ve found several things that work best. Getting an idea of the music styles that a couple prefers most is essential. Almost all weddings require a true mix of genres to entertain guests of different age groups and tastes. Often one reception needs a very different musical menu than the previous one. This is not a problem, and we never play the same set list twice! Sometimes a bride or groom enjoys sending back our song list (printable from our website) with songs they’d love to hear, and a few they do not want. (There are some on the list we aren’t wild about either, but they are “necessary” in some cases!) Shine is very careful to pay close attention to this. Obviously, a live band featuring different vocalists (and spontaneity!) is different than a DJ format or queuing up an iPod playlist. Our experience in reading a crowd has come in handy so many times that the following saying often rings true in musical performance: “The more you plan, the less goes according to that plan …”
WHAT KIND OF MUSIC DO YOU PLAY?
Shine always keeps up with music trends—we wouldn’t work if we didn’t! If the band notices that folks are requesting a particular song at weddings, we’ll simply add it to our vast repertoire. (Although our song list isn’t always updated each time we add one.) We cover almost any genre. There are some styles that are very difficult to pull off as a live band. Techno and hip hop for instance, rely so much on prerecorded tracks that it’s nearly impossible to duplicate live. If those styles are desired, playing them on CD or iPod can be more effective. We love balancing the contemporary with the classic, and find the dancers do as well!
CAN YOU OMIT THE CHEESY WEDDING SONGS?
This is another Shine specialty. Playing familiar dance music for all ages is a must, but you don’t necessarily have to play “YMCA.” Here’s a recent account from a function director who worked at a wedding with Shine: “You guys were horrible! The staff and I play a game of ‘Wedding Music Bingo,’ marking off all the typical, tired-out songs we hear bands play at weddings here. You only played one—and I lost! Honestly, your band was so impressive to keep everyone dancing without all the schlocky tunes!”
WHAT ABOUT BREAKS AND BREAK MUSIC?
The idea is to play as much live music as possible. In a four hour block, Shine generally takes 2 breaks: a short dinner break (about 25 minutes) while guests enjoy their main course, and a short breather later on between dancing (about 15 minutes). Excellent pre-recorded music is supplied on all breaks—usually an easygoing variety during the main course, and up-tempo dance music on the second. Sometimes a couple will supply us with a with their own break music on CD or on an iPod playlist.
WHAT IS OFFERED FOR CEREMONY AND COCKTAIL MUSIC?
We have a flute & guitar duo for ceremonies (if the wedding and reception are at the same location). The same two musicians from the band also play as an excellent sax and guitar duo, featuring a nice mixture of jazz, blues, swing, Latin, and pop instrumental music—at a reasonable rate and perfect volume level in or outdoors. This has been very popular. Additionally, we offer the option of setting up a small sound system playing quality pre-recorded music at no charge.
DO YOU EMCEE AND ASSIST DURING THE WEDDING?
Definitely! We can announce using a wireless microphone as little or as much as you’d like. Shine is also known for helpful planning advice at any time before or during your event. An informative Reception Worksheet is used to create your own custom-made timeline. Our extensive wedding experience frequently comes in handy throughout many normal and unforeseen situations. We pride ourselves on good communication, and email or phone calls are promptly returned with clear answers.
WHAT DO YOU WEAR?
We wear tasteful wedding attire including tuxedos and classy evening dresses. Occasionally, folks prefer us to dress a little more casually.
DO WE SELECT AN ENTRANCE SONG WHEN WE ARE ANNOUNCED IN?
As you might imagine, singing a song and announcing names at the same time doesn’t really work. We normally play a very fun, upbeat instrumental tune behind the announcing and adjust the music volume accordingly to help keep the excitement level. This has worked very well. Every now and then we are asked to play a special CD as a bride and groom enters—not a problem.
SHOULD THE BAND PLAY A SHORTER VERSION OF OUR PARENT DANCES?
Most of the time yes, as an average song length of 3.5 minutes can really feel like a long time alone with your Mom or Dad or relative on a dance floor with everyone watching.
WE WERE AT A WEDDING AND THE MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT WAS SO LOUD!
It wasn’t us! Band members do not need earplugs—we actually all have our hearing still very much intact. We are very careful to make sure that people can enjoy speaking with each other, especially before and during dinner. Occasionally we are asked to insert a short dance set in between courses. Most of us have been to a wedding or function and had a bad time (or even left) due to the loud volume of the entertainment. Shine takes pride in knowing how to be in the background and when to get folks up and dancing. Experience counts!
In order to perform for a huge variety of live music for people, a band has to have a huge repertoire. If not, they shouldn’t plan on working much. Tired wedding fare is not an option for most. Brides, grooms, family members, guests all expect more. Deservedly so, especially around Boston, Massachusetts –one of the country’s true music capitals. From Frank Sinatra and swing material through Motown, classic rock, Latin, 80s,90s, 00s, alternative, country, pop dance, ballads, Top 40 –on through what is on the radio right now- a top band must play all the styles. And play them really well. One of the things Shine enjoys most is to perform a giant spectrum of material. It keeps things fresh, no two performances are the same. Folks ask us to concentrate on both familiar music as well as tasteful material one wouldn’t always expect at a wedding. We’re glad to taylor the repertoire for you and are adept at reading the crowd. Please take a look at our soglist page to get an idea of Shine’s exceptional range.