Planning a Holiday Wedding – Things to consider

A holiday wedding can not only be incredibly beautiful but it can also make travelling a little easier for your out of town guests who will usually have an easier time taking some time work.  That said, it can come with it’s own challenges.

holiday wedding


Holiday season. No, I ain’t talking about Halloween. I’m talking the meat and potatoes. I’m talking about the mother of all of the holidays of the year. Yes, Christmas and Hannukah are coming. Possibly this season can end up being the most stressful and financially burdensome time, while also having the beauty of re-connecting with family and friends. As with most things in life, pleasure usually doesn’t come without some sort of pain.

Making a holiday wedding for this season will definitely have its pros and cons. With all of the goodness that comes from this time, when we remember the days of our youth and the warm feelings we got when sitting around the Christmas tree or for those of us of the Jewish faith, lighting Hannukah candles, we also have the huge undertaking of making a huge event that is usually a once in a lifetime thing, and one that everyone wants to enjoy to the max.

A few tips on prepping for a holiday wedding:

1. Make sure to breathe. Remember, no matter how well you plan things out, there will always be twists and turns and unexpected happenings that will test your patience. The only real preparation is the preparing your mind and emotions for all of the things that can and will go wrong. Maybe the wedding planner will have you around 45 minutes behind schedule, maybe the band will show up late (Well, not the Elevation Band, of course!), maybe the food will come out and not taste right or be too cold or even not cooked enough. Whatever calamity that befalls you, always remember the couple will see through this day in the end with smiles on their faces. In truth, most people don’t even notice when something goes wrong, so like I said before, make sure to always stay calm and expect the unexpected.

2. Hire only experienced professionals for every part of the wedding. The last thing you want are people who have never been through what can be a daunting task if never done before. Before I ever sang at my first wedding, I sang as a guest singer for at least 5 weddings before being confident and ready enough to book an entire evening. There’s massive planning that goes along with the evening. I’ve worked with very well planned out pros who have all of the music ready and prepared with proper musicians who have done this many times over and I’ve also worked with people who have very little experience. There was one event I sang at in England with an inexperienced keyboard player. There were tons of mistakes that thankfully only I noticed. He told me at the end of the night that without me running the show it would have been a total disaster. I realized that from then on I needed to be more careful about who I worked with for weddings.

3. Take into account other peoples’ schedules. Since you’re making this wedding during Christmas time it serves you well to send out the invites well in advance to find out who will be around and who won’t. This is a time of year that a lot of people like to go down south for a little golf and to catch some sun, so make sure you’re prepared and ready well in advance as to who will be coming to this event.

Otherwise, drive safe and remember to look up Toronto’s best wedding band when looking to perfect your evening.

A Short List of First Dance Wedding Songs – Toronto Wedding Band Blog

If you are about to get married and still trying to pick your first dance wedding songs then I hope our short list helps steer you in the right direction.

Of course, like most people I think of the bride walking down the aisle and how this day is usually geared towards her. Everyone is fixated on her dress and her emotion as she walks down the aisle to complete this very special union.  Assuming you agree that this night is basically centered around the lovely young lady, it would only be fitting that we focus our attention on the best possible music that relates to her. You know what I’m talking about. The first dance wedding songs. That first tune being played for the bride and groom while they have their very first dance as man and wife.

Which songs would be best for such a moment? Obviously, knowing women the way I do, they probably would like this song to be PERFECT just like they wish most things in life. So we must realize that this moment is one of the things she has been waiting for her whole life, and just like she felt she found the perfect man, now we must find her the perfect song.

For those of us who truly love music, we are of the understanding that when it comes to romantic first dance wedding songs, there’s such a wide range to choose from. We aren’t talking hundreds, we’re talking thousands. So of course, only a music encyclopedia could begin to give you ALL of the options available out there, but me being only one humble man can just give you an idea of my top 5 to choose from. Here are the best 5 songs I could think of to enjoy your first dance:


1. Can’t take my eyes off you – Frankie Valli and the four seasons.

Yes, I know I’ve mentioned this tune before. But does it get any more
romantic than this? This tune was really before its time, penned by Bob
Gaudio and Bob Crewe as the anthem of love songs and certainly Frankie
Valli’s signature stamp that he will be remembered for.

2. Wonderful tonight – Eric Clapton

Amazing thing how this iconic rock/blues guitarist can write such sweet
melodies. With a beautiful guitar riff at the beginning of the tune that
is one we all know and love, it’s a great tune to use with fitting lyrics
and a sweet melody.

3. I can’t help falling in love with you – Elvis Presley

This old Elvis tune says it best. With the words ‘take my hand, take
my whole life too’ we can safely say this will certainly put her heart
and sentiment in the right place at the right time. Add a little bit
of that booming voice from the king himself and we have a winner.

4. Heaven – Bryan Adams

Another one I kind of go on and on about. This was the first ever
#1 song in the U.S that was released by a Canadian artist, so it’s
obvious that when it came out how revolutionary it must have been
to make such an impact.

5. My Girl – The Temptations

Another popular one we all know and love. Sung and performed by one
of the greatest vocal groups of all time, these voices blended so well
together to make up this Motown classic that will never be forgotten
in the history of Motown music.

Well that’s the short list for the first dance wedding songs.  If you’re looking for a Toronto wedding band contact us. 

How to Stay Warm this Winter with Music in Toronto

The winter blues are fastly approaching which leads many of us into a new state of being. Those warm and sweltering summer days have been put away for another year. The golf clubs are stored away until be spring and we’ve started accustoming ourselves to hat foul, he sweet stench of our old hockey equipment.  In comes the live music in Toronto to warm us up.

Interestingly enough, this is also the season where the music in Toronto starts to pick up. The open mics are jammed, bands are booking gigs non-stop and wedding bookings are really happening which means music in Toronto is really alive.

The reason everything picks up in the fall and winter is because summers are kind of designated as hibernation season. It’s the time families go up to cottages and musicians take some time to do more writing and prepping for their upcoming projects. My Facebook is constantly being flooded with show after show every single night of the week, so if you’re a night person this time of year should be most heavenly for you.

I’ve spoken before about some of the hot spots in town to see live music – and now I’ll let you in some of the best artists you should go and check out. Go to their Facebook page and ‘like’ them because you’ll find out about all of their shows through that. These are the artists I suggest:

JP Saxe – A serious up and coming singer-songwriter with a huge soulful voice will blow you away with his musicianship and brilliant songwriting abilities.

Christian Bridges – This artist will melt you with his great stage presence and vocal ability. A very unique songwriter with a unique sound, Christian is one we’ll all know of one day.

Jay Pollock – A real underrated artist because if his very humble demeanour, Jay’s guitar ability and song interpretation is bar none and I’ve seen very few around as good as him.

Others to check out: Phil Nozuka, Angela Saini, Victoria DiGiovanni, Eric Bleich, Erin Hunt, Dale Luarca and Denise Dunn.

In this big old city of ours the musical entertainment is never ending. These artists I’ve mentioned are only a few of the many who are out there and talented to the max.

So don’t be down about the winter and the damp cold. The great melodies of the music in Toronto will be bound to keep us warm until summertime.

Stay warm friends,



How to Arrange Music for Your Wedding

Trying to figure out how to arrange music for your wedding might seem pretty simple before you actually learn all the options you have in front of you. There are so many ways to skin this cat but I hope to shed some light on this topic for you.

Any event for any evening is unique. A wedding is always a rare treat and the music that is provided is the deal maker of the evening. We must choose our music like we chose the hall for the wedding. There must be seriously deep thinking when it comes to what you want the stage to look like on your big night as that is where the majority of the attention will be focused on.
So many options, so little time.

What kind of music should there be? You could have a few string musicians playing at the reception for an hour with some nice jazz melodies or maybe a little classical to put all the guests into a peaceful and tranquil mood. Maybe forgo that and just play a backing track with some elevator music.

I personally enjoy seeing one of those whopping stand up bass’s being plucked on while you have a nice smooth jazz thing going on. It makes me feel like I’m in some 50’s nightclub, my hair glued over by the strongest hair gel known to man, a woman in some glittery dress, and of course some kind of smoking device like a cigar or cigarette to complete the mood. Of course, nowadays we can’t really smoke anywhere so I guess that whole vibe has been laid to rest.

The main event, however, is the dancing and dinner music. The options are also a plenty. Maybe a keyboard with all the fixin’s already programmed into his high tech instrument would do the trick while he belts out all the tunes without any additional band members. Maybe you could add a guitarist and some drums and you have a night.

These options could all work in reality. You and your guests might not walk away from this night thinking anything of the fact that the band was missing a few pieces.

To me, the main component to an awesome wedding band is the horn section. There should at least be a woodwind (usually sax) and one horn (trombone or trumpet) at every wedding. The reason being because the more full the sound, the more engaged the crowd will be and the more your well spent money will be used for people’s enjoyment as opposed to them calling it an early night due to boredom.

Horns have the ability to fill out the all encompassing sound of a great tune and bring it to its full peak. If the music being played at your wedding is of Motown nature, dance, soul or even rock n’ roll, a great horn section is what will complete the evening. You remember Huey Lewis and the news? Those were some great tunes all filled out with awesome horn lines.

When trying to arrange music for your wedding, make sure there’s a great horn section to go along with it. This will ensure you of having a wedding to remember.

If you’re in the Toronto or GTA area and are looking for a wedding band, or just some free advice contact us.

How to Make Your Wedding Night Last

If you’re like most couples soon to be married you’re probably caught up in the whimsical and emotional count down to the big day.  This blog post is dedicated to making sure the romance of your wedding night lasts for the rest of your lives.

I’m not one to get political. Actually, yes I am. But because things have gotten shall we say, a little bit chaotic when it comes to people and their political beliefs, I think I’ll just stay mum on my own personal opinion and just spew out a few useless facts about the world we live in. For some strange reason unbeknownst to me, marriages these days have become expendable. Divorce is now becoming a little too popular throughout the world and the numbers continue to grow. A sad situation indeed. So the question begs as to why this is going on.

Many suggest the possibility that our grandparents and great grandparents only managed to stay together for their entire lives because divorce wasn’t popular in those days. People argue that their quality of relationship was just as lousy as the failed marriages of today, but since it wasn’t a ‘fad’ to get divorced and those surrounding would look down on them, they decided to stick with their miserable sham of a marriage rather than deal with embarrassment or scorn from their neighbors.

I will argue that this reasoning is untrue. The older generations had a certain understanding that we in our days seem to be lacking. The concept they understood about all aspects of life is that nothing good can come without HARD WORK. They worked hard at their jobs, whether they were big or small and they took that attitude into marriage and parenting as well. In our days we expect things to come easy, without hard work and everything should just fall into place the way we want it and if things don’t go our way, we throw whatever it is that is annoying us or getting in our way of living happily into the sea.

I firmly believe that marriages and weddings can have the same value as the marriages of yester year. The beauty of meeting that one special person is so hard to find, one can’t help but view this union as a great miracle of life. I mean, think about it. Day after day you can walk the streets of Toronto and see so many beautiful women, too many to count. Yet, you could meet all of those women and none of them will be right. There’s only ONE special someone that is right. When that person is found, ‘you better hang on tooth and nail’ as Don Henley says in the song “New York Minute.” We must cherish and appreciate this gift we’ve been given from up above and celebrate it with the most memorable event we can conjure up.

With all of this knowledge we have now and all of our inspiration that love is real and a blissful life really does exist, if we let it exist and make it exist, now we can start thinking about planning a beautiful wedding in the most beautiful setting with all of our beloved friends and family, flowers, food, drinks and of course, fantastic music from the best wedding band money can buy. The more you put in, the more you get out. Life is all about attitude. A great yiddish saying is ‘tracht gut, vet zayin gut,’ which means ‘think good and it will be good.’

We must realize that true love is still real and romance needs to be recognized as a must in order to preserve the soul of mankind. We need beauty through music and art, for this is what keeps reminding us of who we really are while we are bombarded with the modern world and new ideas. Ideas that seem to have put us in a city that is undergoing constant construction in the name of ‘progress.’ We should never allow ourselves to be reeled in by this beast and thus forget the most simple and beautiful things this world has to offer.

To make your wedding night memorable, you need the right music so if you’re looking for a wedding band in Toronto, contact us.

Music Lovers Connected

This blog post goes out to all the music lovers out there.

Part of me is jealous of rock writers and music critics in general. Kinda like the movie “Almost Famous” which is based on the teenage life of filmmaker Cameron Crowe, who is actually married to Nancy Wilson of the great female rock band, “Heart.” The character in the movie’s name is ‘William Miller.’ An over achieving teenage nerd with stars in his eyes and dreams of writing articles about the music he admired so much. To me, this movie is what represents those who absolutely live and breathe music from the bottom of their souls. I find myself tearing up in many parts of this movie as Crowe’s ability to soften your heart while laughing your head off is uncanny. Miller gets his opportunity to live inside the world of rock n’ roll while travelling around with the fictitious band ‘Stillwater’ where he learns about the realities of the rock world and the life in the fast lane that he was ill prepared for. While the turmoil of relationships and difficulty with ego’s and women are one of the great lessons of this movie, the bottom line is the way the movie ends with his first and last interview with one of the band members. Miller says “Russell, what is it that you love about music?” Russell answers “Well, to begin. EVERYTHING.”

One of the saddest thing’s in today’s crazy paced world is our inability to appreciate the most precious and wonderful things in life. Music being the one thing almost all of us have in common. We’re busy and bombarded with real life pressures and obligations with families, relationships, jobs and financial burdens. Because of all of this stuff we often times fail to stay connected with that inner youthfulness that is inside of all of us. That part of us who still remembers the ‘good ol’ days’ is our lifeline to this world and the part of us that keeps our soul happy and vibrant.

To me, great music is the key to life. Whether it’s listening to the radio in your car, enjoying a night out on the town listening to a great live band, or appreciating a talented wedding band, we should always be constantly engaged in our connection to music. Without it, we just become another statistic.

If you feel like you’ve lost your connection to this area in your life, I highly suggest you watch this movie. Once you hear those great old tunes from the old days, it’s sure to awaken the music lovers within you. The music in this movie is absolutely stellar. The Byrds, Elton John, Simon and Garfunkel, Iggy Pop, and a slew of other great stuff. Let alone the brilliant acting by Kate Hudson who plays the young girl trying to live an escapists dream life on the road with a rock band, I say this has gotta be one of my favourite music pictures of all time.

If you’re in the Toronto area and you’re looking for a wedding band, contact us.


Picking Your Wedding Music – Modern vs Oldies

When picking your wedding music there are many considerations.  One of them is how far back in history do you want to go to ensure that everyone’s fancies are met?

If one were to pick up the oldest book they could find under the sun, they would in all likelihood be picking up a copy of none other than the bible itself. The Old Testament. A picture of the beginning of history from the creation of the world.

One of the beautiful things pointed out very early in the book of genesis was the creation of music. A man named Yuval was the first to create a musical instrument and thus, the beginning of music is almost as long as the history or mankind itself.

So the question begs. Have we evolved in our understanding, feel, taste and love for music or have we gone the other way? One can definitely argue on both sides of the fence. There are still wonderful classical musicians out there, playing the violin and cello and conductors conducting very difficult pieces of complex music. Every year on the TV series “American Idol” or “X Factor” a new crop of tremendous singers hit the stage, reminding me yet again of the amazingly talented people spread throughout the world. Technology has also advanced giving us the ability to create better instruments that sound better and we are littered with resources to always find what we’re looking for whether you’re a musician as your trade or merely a connoisseur of music.

On the over hand, the music of yesteryear seems to be something many people just can’t let to of. The love people still have for their favourite 80’s bands like U2, Bon Jovi and Journey is still very strong. 70’s bands like the Eagles, CSN and solo artists like James Taylor and Joni Mitchell still have their timeless tunes swirling in the hearts and minds of millions worldwide. Then we can continue even further back and hit up the lovers of Motown music, soul back to Smokey Robinson and Sam Cooke. Going back to the 50’s we have Elvis Presley who might have been the greatest rock star the world ever saw and will ever see. Then we can go back outside of our century to Beethoven, Bach and Brahms. The killer B’s!

I’m not sure if there could ever be a clear answer on his question as music always seems to be a very subjective subject. Personally, my old soul always leans toward the older stuff as I think the music was more well thought out back then and the timelessness of so much music from the last 50 years is proof to me that they had something real special back then. I’m not sure any music of today will be around in 50 years but I’m almost certain that somewhere in the world, there will be an Eagles song or Motown song being played.

Whatever your taste is, if you’re looking for a wedding band in Toronto then contact us.

How to Ensure You Hired the Best Wedding Band

If you’re like most people who have hired a band for your wedding you probably did your best to ensure you hired the best wedding band you could have.  You probably spent some time doing so because you realize the entertainment is the most important element of your wedding party.  This blog post is meant to help you ensure you hired the best wedding band.

As a singer who performs at many weddings in Toronto, I’ve experienced a wide range of clients who have treated me very well and others I will kindly say the treatment I got was less than kind. Some folks will treat you like a king because you’re the entertainment for their evening and they want you to be aware of the fact that they appreciate having you as a part of their event. Others feel they’re doing you a favor by letting you perform at the event by paying you very little, complaining about the volume of the music, and not really caring if the band gets fed or not.

So what we see here are the two extremes of the way you can treat your band. I will tell you exactly what kind of mentality you should have when you hire a band for your wedding:

Firstly, the band is HIRED HELP. We are employees for the evening, first and foremost. We are there to do a job, to do it well with professionalism and class. This is normal for any quality wedding band that is committed to their craft. A client should expect the band to be well dressed, well groomed and well prepared musically for the evening.

But like any decent employers, a client should be careful to treat their band very well in order to ensure they get their full money’s worth. Some problems that could occur if the music and the artists are taken for granted is negligence in the sound system by providing a less that adequate sound man, to an annoying and rude wedding planner, to downright starvation. Yes! Even though its rarely happened that I haven’t gotten food at a wedding, it can and has happened and is a sure fire disaster situation if your band is hungry and cranky.

So I think the best way to view all of this is with a very balanced approach. On the one hand, make sure your band is made up of highly skilled pros who you know can get the job done and avert any possible musical disasters. These musicians are fully aware of their obligation to look good, sound good and ahemmmmm, stay away from the bar!

Make sure you treat them kindly. In this regard, a little goes a very long way.  Musicians are a funny bunch, we’re rather sensitive and it doesn’t take much to make us feel like you appreciate our art. The smallest gesture will ensure the band will play their hearts out late into the night and be the best wedding band you could have ever hired.

If you are looking for a wedding band in Toronto contact us.  We’d love to be the best wedding band you could have hired 🙂

From the Subway to the Stage – Toronto Wedding Band Blog

As I sit in the train station waiting to busk and earn my daily bread, because I’m not performing with my Toronto wedding band tonight, I can’t help but think to myself “hey, this is a great idea for a blog,” so I’m actually writing this from the train station.

It’s certainly an interesting mix trying to blend such vastly different types of performance dynamics that I do as a full time musician/performer. By day I’m in the subways with just me and an acoustic guitar and by night I sing with the Elevation band and also working on new projects at the Same time. So needless to say, I have to be a bit of a chameleon with all of the different hats I wear.

One minute you’re strumming some easy James Taylor tunes and the next you’re singing Michael Jackson in a totally different setting. When I was a kid I always saw myself on a much bigger stage doing far more glamorous shows, but I can’t complain. After all, I do what I love every single day which is something most people can’t say about their lives.

So the question is which type of performance is preferable? The answer might seem obvious that playing in the subway would not be as good as the stage at wedding is not necessarily so. There’s a certain element of surprise and human interaction when playing for the world at large. Thousands of people walk by you in the span of only a few hours. You get to see human nature unfold in it’s rawest form. Totally uncut and unscripted with the element of surprise.

Sometimes people throw you a surprising sum of money in one shot, sometimes people can even cry when they hear you singing a song they’re emotionally attached to, and other times you even run into old friends whom you haven’t sen for years. Having said that, the drawbacks can be losing your voice, exhaustion, burnout, and of course not making enough money in the set hours you had planned out for that day.

When it comes to weddings, the pros completely outweigh the cons. You’re usually in a beautiful hall and the band is usually filled with top level guys who are trained to make you sound good. Having a microphone also helps not strain out the voice as the night progresses. Add some food and a guaranteed wage for the night, it’s always worth it to be the ‘wedding singer.’

There are drawbacks sometimes. The choice of music isn’t always your own and you could end up singing tunes that aren’t your favorites. The band could be too loud which will lead to unnecessary vocal strain which is always the singers’ biggest nightmare.

All in all, I’ll take weddings for five hundred, Alex!

And hey, if you’re looking for a wedding band in Toronto or the GTA contact us.

Wedding Band vs DJ

If you’re having a wedding in Toronto and are choosing between live music by a wedding band vs DJ music then this blog post if for you.

As your wedding day approaches you must start getting serious and resourceful when choosing the music best suited for the evening. In the old days, there wasn’t much choice as playing backing tracks would never be an option as the technology was not advanced like it is today. So the choice was easy: live music. You’d get yourself a four or five piece band and they’d play all of your favorites.

But in today’s fast-paced world of modernity, high-tech gear and sometimes financial strain, the option to get a DJ for the night isn’t only in the equation but it’s even preferable in many cases for the fact that you’re only dealing with one person, you have a limitless list of tunes you can use for the night and you’re not taking a risk with the possibility of the band being less than adequate.

Personally, I must play devils advocate to this philosophy and defend the idea of using a live wedding band vs DJ music for your wedding with a few ideas on how to save money, get to hear the tunes of your choice and have simple and easy dealings with the band leader.

Firstly, most bands are more flexible with finances than a DJ. Most DJ’s will have a set price and never go down in their price even if it doesn’t fit the budget of those making the wedding. One would think that obviously a DJ would be cheaper since it’s only one person, but this is not always the case. Most band leaders are very flexible and musicians will vary their prices according to the type of gig they have and try to adjust themselves to the needs of the client in order to book the gig.

The second issue is songs. Now obviously a DJ will be more unlimited with the amount of songs as all he or she has to do is program a thousand songs into their computer and away he goes with endless tunes. But in my eyes, quality always beats quantity. While a DJ can play tracks of great songs, the band can actually play those great songs right there before your eyes! Sure, it may be impossible to have as many songs in number as the DJ, but what you lose will be worth it with the quality of performance and nothing quite beats having actual humans up there playing the music than a rolling jukebox.

When it comes to dealing with the band leader this will obviously be a different dynamic than dealing with a DJ. The band leader has to take into account how many people he has joining him and to make sure the band is paid fairly and on time. But, just because he has more complications doesn’t make it any more difficult to deal with. As I said before, since most bands’ main focus is the music and you as the clients’ main focus is also the music then I would think that’s a better person to be negotiating with since the goals of both parties are the same.

The truth is, I play many weddings where the night is split between our band and the DJ. Of course you’re talking about more expense but it’s the only real way to get the best of both worlds.

Those are just my thoughts and I’m obviously biased being in a wedding band here in Toronto but that’s my honest opinion. If you are thinking about going with a DJ simply due to the money then I suggest you contact us as we may be able to come up with a solution that fits within your budget.

Tagged with: , , ,