Uptown Violins

Dallas - Wichita - Kansas City - Springfield

Beginning Violin!

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We at Uptown Violins are passionate about teaching, and one of our joys is seeing the excitement on the faces of new students starting the instrument for the first time! It is wonderful to watch them discover a whole new world of music that they didn’t know before.

When we have particularly young students, we begin using a box violin, often consisting of a Gushers box with a ruler sticking out of it, and a dowel rod for a bow. This way the budding young player can get used to he feel of the instrument and how to hold it before raising the stakes with the “real deal.” (It’s easier to replace a broken box than a broken violin if it gets dropped a few times!) On the bow, we place a couple of corn pads to hold pinky and thumb in place. When they move to a real bow we like the bow buddy to help place fingers. I personally like to use the metaphor of a boat with four passengers and a shark to describe the placement of the bow hand. These include Pinky dancer (a bent pinky perched on top of the bow), 2 lazy men dangling their legs in the water for the middle finger and the ring finger, a scaredy cat who only dips his toes for pointer finger, and a scary shark with a fin to encourage the bent thumb. Kids love it, as it gives them a fun and concrete visual to help with a challenging bow grip.

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We also like to have students use a foot chart, or “stage” so they know where to place their feet while playing. This helps curb little ones from twisting into unusual stances, running off, or flopping on the floor.

Regarding music, students can delve into their Rhythm Train books right away, which gives them a sense of accomplishment. (See previous post about Rhythm Train.) They are able to clap rhythms that they will later learn to play on the violin.

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We also encourage our pupils to purchase the Suzuki Book 1 and CD, and to start listening to their CD as soon as possible in order to develop their ear. However, it takes several months before they can actually graduate from the first Suzuki piece, so we often supplement it with the book Songs for Little Players by Avsharian. These are easy songs that help beginning violinists master their new finger placement on the violin.

We hope you find these items useful, and we look forward to working with all of our new and continuing students!



Happy New Year!

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I can’t believe the New Year’s here,

It’s time for resolutions.

So here we’ll share a few of ours,

Read on through the conclusion!

 

Allison, with daughters five

Would like to keep performing,

Teach students to love music more,

And make a few recordings!

 

Ashley says she hopes to teach,

Her child the violin to play,

With lots of help from Grandma, too!

And write blogs each First Friday.

 

Sheree, the head of KC branch,

Would like to play new venues,

Our chief of social media,

She shares all Uptown’s fun news.

 

Our fearless leader Brittany,

Much music she arranges.

She’ll lead us in recordings, gigs,

We’d not make any changes!

 

Kerri’s New Years goal this year

Will empty out our cabinets,

She’s helping organize our songs

To read right off our tablets!

 

Christy, a college senior now,

Has one driving ambition.

Perform recital with great flare

To walk May graduation.

 

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We made some great memories last year,

And are ready for some new ones.

We hope you had a great year too,

And keep your resolutions!

Happy New Year from Uptown Violins!

Ashley Rescot, 2019

Dallas Showcase!

Forty-Five Ten (downtown location)

Forty-Five Ten (downtown location)

“I learned a lot I wouldn’t have learned roaming the streets of Dallas.” -Dennis Rodman 

Brittany Peterson, executive director of Uptown Violins and Dallas resident of 7 years, shares some of her experiences performing for a wide variety of venues in the Dallas metropolitan area.

Brittany, which venues have you performed for recently, and what did you enjoy most about them?

Republic Center, AD EX

Republic Center, AD EX

Recently we have performed for Arlington Hall at Lee Park, The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, the Adolphus Hotel, Perkins Chapel on SMU's campus, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, Hidden Pines Chapel, KPMG Plaza at Hall Arts Center, the Republic Center for the Architecture and Design Exchange, and First United Methodist Church downtown! Whew! (We have been busy!) We really enjoyed playing in the sculpture garden at KPMG's Plaza at Hall Arts Center because it was a beautiful night with a great crowd who loved both the classical and pop music! Arlington Hall is one of our absolute favorites to perform for because of the amazing facilities and staff who work there! The Architecture and Design Exchange opening was held at the corner of St. Paul and Pacific where the new downtown park will be opening soon as well! Lastly, we always love playing at both the Adolphus Hotel and the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek because of their gorgeous layouts as well as their dining options!

What Dallas venues do you think lend themselves well to weddings?

Hidden Pines Chapel

Hidden Pines Chapel

Arlington Hall at Lee Park is one of the best locations in Dallas for a wedding because of the beauty of the Hall as well as the surrounding gardens and park. It is located right off Turtle Creek and is very close to a number of beautiful hotels for your guests! The Arboretum is a classic outdoor choice for weddings because of its seasonal décor, including pumpkins in the fall, lights in the winter, tulips in the spring, and other beautiful flowers in the summer! Hidden Pines Chapel is also a fairly new beautiful venue which is perfect for large weddings, as well as convenient because the whole wedding can be held in one place, accommodating the large number of guests!

Can you share your recent experience playing for First Baptist Dallas?

First Baptist Dallas

First Baptist Dallas

It was so much fun to be able to fiddle "live" with First Baptist Dallas! They are such wonderful musicians and people! They always perform with a full choir and orchestra to accompany the soloists, so we all have a blast up there just worshipping! It was fun to play a little country at church, haha. (All Hail the Power)



Which Dallas venues will Uptown Violins be performing for this holiday season?

Adolphus Hotel

Adolphus Hotel

We are staying busy throughout the holiday season here in Dallas! We will be playing at the Adolphus Hotel for the Modern Luxury “Power Players” event, the Shops at Clearfork Holiday Teas where we will be accompanying dancers with Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite music, "A Night of Christmas" at First Dallas the weekend of the 14th-16th, Park Cities Presbyterian Church for their Candlelight Services on December 16th, Gateway Community Church the weekend before Christmas, and several other private performances! We cannot wait to play our new Christmas pieces from Sia's album, Lindsey Stirling's album, and the all time favorite "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"! 

Adolphus Lounge where we perform

Adolphus Lounge where we perform

We hope you come to see us this season!

Wichita Showcase!

“There’s no place like home.” Dorothy in reference to Kansas, from The Wizard of Oz

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This past month Uptown Violins has loved playing several gigs in our hometown of Wichita, KS. On our mother Allison’s side, most of her family members are professional musicians or work in dentistry. Her grandfather George Scheer, father Harold Scheer, brother Brick Scheer, and now her nephew Brandon Scheer have all been dentists, with several other family members working alongside them at the office, including her sister Laurie Little and niece Casey Scheer (Brick’s daughter.)

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In September, Scheer Dentistry celebrated its 100th anniversary, and to commemorate the occasion they asked Uptown Violins to play for the reception. Allison (Scheer) Peterson performed, in addition to daughters Sheree Lutz and Brittany Peterson, nephew Darin Parker on drums, and family friend Terry Glanville on keyboard. I interviewed Allison about the experience to hear her thoughts on the event.

Ashley: What did you enjoy most about performing for your family’s special occasion?

Scheer Dentistry

Scheer Dentistry

Allison: What I enjoyed most about performing for the 100th year Celebration of Scheer Dentistry in Wichita was being able to honor the legacy of my dad who passed away about 3 years ago. He was such a Godly man who treated his patients so faithfully with excellent care. I was thrilled when my brother Brick asked my family to play. I wanted to honor him as well because, just as my dad and my grandfather before him, Brick is providing the community with fabulous dental care. I personally know from my own experience with Brick that he cares about his patients.

Ashley: Do you have any memories that stand out of your dad working as a dentist?

Allison: My favorite dental memory of my dad was when he and my mom handed out Halloween designed toothbrushes instead of candy to all the “trick or treaters” for Halloween.

It was very “fitting” for a dentist promoting good dental health. The kids really did love it, and probably the parents even more so!

Dr. Brick Scheer and Dr. Harold Scheer (Brick is also holding now Dr. Brandon Scheer)

Dr. Brick Scheer and Dr. Harold Scheer (Brick is also holding now Dr. Brandon Scheer)

Ashley: If your dad was alive today, what would he say regarding the continuation of both the family’s musical and dental heritage?

Allison: Honestly he probably would have made some kind of pun like 

"I’m glad to see you ‘put your money where your mouth is!’” He loved to tell jokes. My dad’s investment in dental school for Brick and all the musical training he provided for me were well worth his efforts. He and my mom sacrificed a lot for our education. All ten of my brothers, sisters and I have benefitted from Dad and Mom believing in us and giving us the opportunity to thrive. They did put their “money where their mouth is.” Brick, Laurie, Brandon, and Casey all work hard to keep this wonderful dental legacy going, and many of the others of us continue Mom’s musical legacy. So, I am sure he would say “continue to be excellent at what you do and give the credit to our Lord, Jesus Christ."


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In addition to the 100th year Celebration of Scheer Dentistry, Uptown Violins also enjoyed performing in Wichita at the Autumn and Art Festival, as well as the HopeNet gala. I decided to interview Sheree, our art historian in residence, about the former, and Brittany described her experience of the latter.

Ashley: Sheree, can you share with us the theme of the Autumn and Art Festival? What did it entail?

Sheree: The theme really is bringing many art forms to the public! Sometimes art is viewed as an esoteric field, but festivals like this help it come alive for everyone. At Autumn and Art, they have booths with glass, photographs, paintings, jewelry and much more. They have live entertainment as well, including dramatic performances and music. This is where Uptown Violins came in!

Ashley: What kind of music did you perform?

Art Booths at Autumn and Art

Art Booths at Autumn and Art

Sheree: We played upbeat party music to get the crowd going! We are excited about some new songs that blend classical violin concertos with pop and rock songs. This always seems to catch our audience by surprise. We love it because we get to showcase some violin virtuosity while also offering something most people recognize from the radio. Again, it brings art from the realm of esoteric the public.

Ashley: What stood out most to you about the event?

Sheree: I always enjoy when we get to perform with other Uptown musicians. Recently we have been collaborating frequently with our cousin Darin on drums and a good friend on keys. These instruments add dimension to our sound and let us experiment even more!


Terry, Darin, Brittany, and Sheree performing at Mark Arts

Terry, Darin, Brittany, and Sheree performing at Mark Arts

Interview with Brittany regarding the HopeNet gala

Ashley: Brittany, what is the mission of HopeNet?

Brittany: “HopeNet’s mission is to offer comprehensive and professional services aimed at restoring dignity and hope, based on Christ’s love for those experiencing crisis.” This event’s purpose was to raise funds for those who cannot afford these services on their own. 

Ashley: What musical selections did you choose to perform?

Brittany: We were asked to get the party started, so we played a lot of pop songs! 

Ashley: What did you most enjoy about playing for this event?

Brittany: We just loved performing and interacting with each other. As Sheree mentioned before, it has been so much fun to collaborate with our drummer and keyboardist. Our goal was to bring people in and enjoy the night, which I think they did!

In September we were thrilled to return to our hometown to perform for so many inspirational organizations! Next month we will take a look at some of the highlights taking place in Dallas for Uptown Violins! Please keep us in mind for the upcoming holiday season, whether you are looking to hear your traditional favorites, or need to get your holiday party rockin’!

Return to Me

“Will we never all be together again?”- from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women

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Growing up in a family of all girls, we probably enjoyed more than our fair share of chick flicks in the Peterson household. We were swept away by the digital love story You’ve Got Mail (1999), starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, which we quoted incessantly, much to the chagrin of our parents and boyfriends. One summer while vacationing in New York we even insisted on visiting Café Lalo where Jo Fox first discovered Kathleen Kelly’s true identity.

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Another of our favorites was the Romantic Comedy Return to Me (2000) starring Minnie Driver and David Duchovny. We laughed at the hilarious old men’s club, hoping someday we could be as funny as them in our golden years. And of course we cried our eyes out when we discovered that the protagonist’s heart belonged to her boyfriend’s deceased wife.

As a family of sisters, we couldn’t help but love Louisa May Alcott’s epic Little Women depicted in the 1994 movie starring Winona Ryder (Jo March), Christian Bale as Laurie (pre-Batman.), a young Kirsten Dunst portraying the baby of the family (Amy March), Claire Danes (Beth March), Trini Alvarado (Meg March), and the forever talented Susan Sarandon as Marmee. Sheree and I always enjoyed pretending to be the oldest sisters Meg and Jo, although Brittany was less enthusiastic to play Beth, protesting that she never left the home and then died! Kerri and Christy fought over who should be Amy, as Kerri arguing that she was the 4th sister, but Christy claiming rights as the baby. Somehow we convinced little Christy that she could be the cat! And of course our Mom with all of her maternal wisdom really did mimic Mrs. March, only she vowed she never wanted to be called Marmee! Even now, I tear up as I watch the sisters move from their childhood home where they all lived happily together to try their wings in their separate domains: Meg as a mother of twins, Jo as a New York author, Amy as an artist in Paris, and Beth as the first to enter heaven.

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Like the March sisters, we have experienced the growing pains of leaving the nest, as we now live in three different states scattered throughout the Midwest. Fortunately, thanks to our music, we have all remained close at heart. We perform together frequently in duets, trios, and quartets, keeping the family music tradition alive which our own Mom passed on to us. However, it is not often that all six of us get together, so we were elated when Brittany proposed the idea of making this music video as a group. It was her drive and vision that brought us back together for this touching rendition of “Return to Me.”

For one glorious day we gathered in Dallas to put our quotidian lives on hold in order to spend time together as a family. The ambiance almost resembled a wedding, getting our hair and makeup done and dawning elegant gowns that certainly would have been the envy of the March sisters. As we crossed the threshold onto the rooftop of 400 N Ervay in downtown Dallas, the view nearly took our breath away. Spending the morning playing violin with our best friends in our best dresses with such a spectacular view truly was an out-of-this-world experience. We couldn’t help but feel a little like Hollywood stars, followed around by our photographer and videographer. Brittany could not have chosen a better song than “Return to Me” to capture the emotion of the moment.

All to soon we had to leave the rooftop and change back into our ordinary clothes, but we still enjoyed the rest of the day running around Dallas playing our violins, talking, laughing, and eating at our favorite local chocolate shop. None of us wanted the day to end, and we nearly cried as each of us had to go our separate ways at the end of the evening.

Fortunately, this video serves as a remembrance of that memorable day, and in watching it we hope our viewers can catch a glimpse of the family love that remains the driving force behind Uptown Violins.

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Uptown Violin’s "Return to Me" Music Video Launch!

“...I think everyone’s voice is worth hearing. So if you’ve got something to say, say it from the rooftops.” - Tom Hiddleston

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    We at Uptown Violins are so excited to announce our new music video launch! It has been a lot of fun in the making, truly a rooftop experience for us all, and now we are so excited to share it with our viewers! I took the time to interview Brittany, our Executive Director and the head of this project, to share more of the details that went into making this video.

http://www.uptownviolins.com/audio-video/

Ashley: What inspired you to make this music video? How did you decide on “Return to Me?”

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Brittany: My inspiration was to bring in a visual aspect into our music! The music video ties in both visual and sound to compliment each other in creating beauty. I decided on “Return to Me” because I have always loved this piece since watching the turn of the century movie starring Minnie Driver and David Duchovny. I really like the old-timey, classic feel it evokes.


Ashley: What went into your arrangement of the song? Why did you decide on this instrumentation?

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Brittany: After listening to the piece I knew I could definitely take all the different brass instrumentation and spin it with a string twist! When deciding which instrumentation to use, I wanted to utilize the expertise of Luke Ferraguti on piano and Darin Parker on drums in addition to our violin ensemble in order to recreate the jazz feel. Next, I listened to various versions of the piece and started to take the different lines and apply them to the violins. Building the chords with the strings was similar to how a barbershop quartet or a backup vocal trio might arrange their chords. Next, the improvisation was where the real fun began! Finding fills where cascading lines can take place in both the violin and piano parts is some of the best parts of arranging!

 

Ashley: How was your experience recording in the studio?

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Brittany: Recording in the studio was a dream thanks to Luminous Sound! The violinists were separated from the drummer (Darin) by a partition and the pianist (Luke) had his own separate room. We all kept in time by using a click track in our ears as well as the drums. After recording it was fun to work with Tre who helped us hear what the sound would be like coming through various  kinds of speaker systems. 

 

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Ashley: How did you select the rooftop on 400 N. Ervay, Dallas, TX as the setting for the video? Where else did you film?

Brittany: I just knew after playing an event on the rooftop of 400 N. Ervay that we had to shoot a video up there! The rooftop truly looks crystalike with the glass buildings all around! We also shot in Dallas’ historic district West End, and at Oak Lawn Park on Turtle Creek Blvd. for the more casual shots!


Ashley: What went into some of the other visual aspects of the video? Hair/makeup/wardrobe/etc.?

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Brittany: Well, I wanted to create a story of us coming together, and really Kerri had the idea of having us get ready in beautiful light-colored gowns! I want to say thank you very much to Mickey Gunn and Lakin Kingston, our MUA’s for the day! We couldn’t have done it without both of them in making us look beautiful for the video.

 

 

Ashley: What can you share with us about the technical aspects of the video-making? Videography/photography/ etc.?

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Brittany: The videography was done by Whitney Butler Media, and the photography was taken by my dear friend Brooke Moore! We really appreciate all the time they put into making this happen!


Ashley: What was your favorite part of making the video?

Brittany: My favorite part was just being on the rooftop, playing one of my favorite songs with my best friends/family! It was a magical day, and of course we had to treat ourselves to Sablon, Dallas’s famous chocolate shop, at the end of it!

    We hope you all enjoy watching our video! Check back with us again next month for more behind the scenes footage and my personal take on our amazing rooftop experience!

 

 

 

Celebrate America!

“O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?” –Francis Scott Key

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     Happy Independence Day! Growing up, we members of Uptown Violins loved celebrating the 4th of July together as a family. As we had a great view of fireworks from our elevated back porch, we often invited other family members over to our house for homemade ice cream, which we helped Mom and Dad make earlier in the day with the old-fashioned ice cream maker. Of course Dad had to do the bulk of the heavy cranking! But it was always worth it, as nothing could beat the homemade taste, accompanied by a phenomenal fireworks show.

     Probably one of the most widely used pieces of music for 4th of July fireworks displays, the 1812 Overture, was actually written in 1880 by the Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. It originally had nothing to do with the United States, as it celebrates Napoleon’s defeat by the Russians. Tchaikovsky even quotes the French national anthem, La Marseillaise, in the composition. However, Americans realized that the famous cannons lend themselves well to the booming nature of fireworks, and it has become a staple song in our holiday festivities. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31eHHQiY-xw

     Another iconic work associated with American heritage, the William Tell Overture, was composed by the Italian composer Giachino Rossini in 1829 for his opera depicting the Swiss Alps. Although not American at all, the TV show The Lone Ranger popularized the work in the United States, associating it with the American Wild West. That’s quite a stretch from the majestic mountains of Switzerland! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4134FfagFo

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     This past month I have enjoyed delving into Czech composer Antonin Dvorak's famous  American Quartet, as I am to perform it this upcoming year! I love the bucolic themes and pioneer spirit the work evokes. Dvorak composed it while visiting Iowa where he first experienced the American Midwest. (At the time he resided in New York City while serving as the director of the National Conservatory.) Dvorak was particularly drawn to African-American and Native American music, which helped inspire both his New World Symphony as well as the American Quartet. The latter has become part of the standard cannon of chamber works for string quartet. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxtAHpYIXdU

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     The 20th Century American composer Aaron Copland continued the tradition of bringing folk music to the classical genre with his popular ballets Billy the Kid (1938) and Rodeo (1942). Copland incorporated a lot of cowboy tunes into these ballets which helped preserve the allure of the Wild West. His “Hoedown” from Rodeo draws from the folk tune “Bonapart’s Retreat.” His work gained further national recognition as the music for the commercial “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner.”  Christy and I had fun performing this work as a dueling violins duet several years ago for her school talent show. It continues to be a favorite showpiece! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsReWx9XdNs


     We hope you all had a wonderful time celebrating the 4th of July, and encourage you to stay tuned for our upcoming music video!! We will give you more behind the scenes details about the project in our next blog!!

 

What Music Should I Choose for my Wedding?

-“For they say when you marry in June, you’re a bride all your life.”

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    June is known as the month of weddings, and it certainly is for Uptown Violins! We have already been playing for several weddings throughout the Midwest and the South, and thought we would take this opportunity to share with future brides-to-be a few of the things to consider when choosing wedding music.

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    First of all, having live music at your wedding is always much more memorable than simply playing a recording through a sound system. Although it will not sound exactly like the recording, especially if you have a different instrumentation than the original, it will help your wedding stand out from what your guests could otherwise experience in their homes.

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    Secondly, when choosing music and style you should take your venue into account. If your wedding will be outside, you may want to consider our electric violin option, as these instruments will carry much further than our acoustics. However, if your wedding takes place in a historic church, the acoustic instruments would be preferable, as these older buildings were designed for acoustic instruments. Also, if you are having a traditional liturgical wedding, like Catholic or Lutheran for example, you will probably need to primarily choose traditional classical songs, as all selections must be approved by your pastor/priest. However, if your wedding takes place at a country club or in an outdoor garden, you will have more latitude in your choice of repertoire.

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    On a related note, you should consider the overall style of your wedding. Is it contemporary and cutting edge? Simple yet distinctive? Traditional and elegant? These questions will help guide you in choosing the style of your music. At Uptown Violins we offer a wide array of music, including traditional classical, romantic gems, religious hymns, praise and worship music, jazz classics, and contemporary pop.

    Lastly, it is important to know the places where music is needed in your ceremony. Some of the most common include (but are not limited to):

    -Prelude: 20-30 minutes of music which sets the tone for your wedding as your guests arrive. Usually the musicians choose these selections based on the style of your wedding.

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    -Seating of the Parents/Grandparents: This song can be played as the last song of the prelude, or the first song of the ceremony. As it is hard to predict how long it will take your Grandmother to walk down the aisle, it is important to select a song that has multiple stopping points in the phrasing. For a classic choice, you can’t go wrong with Bach’s famous “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring.” Some more contemporary options could include John Legend’s “All of Me” and Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect.”

    -Wedding Processional: This is often the longest of the opening songs, as it usually includes the procession of the bridesmaids, flower girls, and ring bearers. One of the most popular wedding songs of all time would be Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.” Again, this piece can cadence at any point during the song, so as to accommodate the number of people walking down the aisle. If you prefer an ethereal, Impressionist selection, you might enjoy Debussy’s “Clair de Lune.” For some more contemporary choices, you could consider Florida Georgia Line’s “H.O.L.Y.“ or Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud.”

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    -Bridal Processional: This is the climatic song for the opening of your ceremony, and should be the most poignant. However, as it is just for the bride, it is also the shortest song, so again, you need something that can be stopped after a brief period of time. For a dramatic entrance you can’t go wrong with baroque composer Clarke’s “Trumpet Voluntary.” A fabulous Romantic era masterpiece would be “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.” Some popular contemporary choices are Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years” and “Love Me Like You Do” by Ellie Goulding. However, if you choose one of the latter three, you may have to wait a little longer for the musicians to reach a cadence that sounds natural, so as to avoid an abrupt cutoff when you reach the altar.

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    -Unity Candle: You will probably enjoy having music during the ceremony, and this is an excellent place to include one of your favorite songs! However, you don’t want to pick a long song, as it can be uncomfortable to be standing too long awkwardly waiting for the music to end after you light the candle. A verse or two of Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli’s “The Prayer” is always a nice choice, as well as the beautiful hymn “Be Thou My Vision”, and Burke’s “Hallelujah” as a more contemporary song.

    -Recessional: This song concludes your ceremony, to which you and the bridal party will exit. You definitely want to choose something exciting and upbeat. We recommend “La Rejouissance” (The Rejoicing) by Handel, or “Rondeau” by Mouret. Maroon 5’s “Sugar” is a fabulous choice as well as Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” and “Finesse”  if your goal is to leave with big and fun exit!

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    -Postlude: Here you can pick a song or two as an exit for your guests. Handel’s “Hornpipe” is an excellent classic in addition to his “La Rejouissance” and Mouret’s “Rondeau,” which also make great postludes. Many brides choose an old-timey song such as Natalie Cole’s “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)”, Marvin Gaye’s “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)”, Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely”, and Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.” You could even choose something like One Republic’s “Counting Stars”, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ “Home”, or Justin Bieber’s “Despacito” if you want a dramatic finish!

    -Do not forget that you can also hear any of these songs plus plenty more at your cocktail hour for your reception if you would like to include this option in your wedding package!

    We hope that this list helps guide you as you prepare for your special day! Please check out our Audio/Video link to listen to several of these selections!

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Happy Easter!

“And He Shall Reign Forever and Ever. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah.”

    -George Frideric Handel, The Messiah (1741)

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    April festivities began before sunrise on April 1st for several of us at Uptown Violins! We had the privilege of participating in Easter services in three different states throughout the country.

     Growing up, Easter was always a special time for us as a family. I remember waking up and hurrying downstairs to see if the Easter Bunny had filled my basket with goodies, piling it high with malted milk ball eggs, chocolate bunnies, and yellow peeps. The Easter Bunny’s jellybean hunt was always a huge hit, although I ate the goodies so fast not many of them actually made it into my basket! My sisters and I always loved reading the tales of the Easter Bunny, especially The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by Du Bose Heyward (1939). It is a charming tale about a little bunny who dreams of becoming one of the five Easter Bunnies when she grows up. Everyone tells her it is impossible, but even after she has a large family (of twenty-one baby rabbits!) she proves to the world that she deserves to be one of the five. She hops all over the world, delivering colored eggs to children everywhere before returning home with a basket for her own babies, wearing a magical pair of golden shoes. My sisters and I loved this story so much we would act it out, with me as the mother bunny, my sisters as the babies, and extra stuffed animals to fill in as the remaining bunnies.

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     On Easter we always attended church, often listening to our mother sing with the choir or play in the pit orchestra for the Easter cantata. In the evening our parents led us in a time of family worship, for which we sang the beautiful Easter hymns “Up From the Grave He Arose” and “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.” Afterwards, Dad gave a devotional on the importance of Christ’s death and Resurrection to our Christian faith. Although Easter was particularly special, my parents led us in these devotions every Sunday night throughout the year, helping us to better understand the life and work of Jesus.

     Now, although we can’t all be together each year for this special holiday, we continue our Easter traditions in our own communities, with our own families. In Dallas Kerri played for a Good Friday service, and Brittany performed several for Easter. She even had the opportunity to accompany Christian recording artist, Jeremy Riddle while he sang “All Hail King Jesus!”

     In Kansas City Sheree contributed to the Good Friday service at her church, playing the poignant worship songs “My Savior King,” “Broken Vessels,” and “Provide.” Allison sang with her church choir in Wichita, while also celebrating the holiday with Christy and our Dad. Stacy. In Illinois, I had the opportunity to play for Good Friday and Easter morning services at my local church. I especially enjoyed playing my friend’s spine-tingling arrangement of the hymn “Stricken and Smitten,” as well as accompanying the choir on Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” from his famous baroque oratorio The Messiah. Afterwards I “hopped” back home in sparkling silver shoes (apparently silver ones have no magical powers) to fill my own daughter’s Easter basket with goodies, and to hide the jellybeans for the jellybean hunt. And of course, I had to read The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes, in the hopes that one day she will carry on our Easter traditions with her own family.