October 19, 2012
Happy Fall, everyone! I am filled with great excitement and exuberance for this season’s events; both at home in New York as well as around the country. I believe that parties are good for the soul, whether we are gathering to raise money for important causes or we are joining in celebration of our happiest times. Parties make us feel good, bring us together, and create a context for us to experience our jubilant nature. And how much fun is it to let loose on the dance floor, especially with an amazing live band pumping out the music? At Starlight, we consider it our job to create the most perfect environment for each crowd on each given night. That means being ready, willing and able; ready to deliver the music that will motivate, willing to read the cues of the crowd, and ABLE to present the most dazzling, powerful, entertaining and satisfying live music experience anywhere on earth!
Every event is different, and we challenge ourselves to bring something unique and fresh every performance. From galas honoring Central Park in New York City to the Houston Museum of Fine Arts in Texas, we are honored to bring some Starlight magic to our clients’ special events. I am about to pack up my guitars and head into the city where Starlight will be performing for about a dozen events in the next week. Updates and photos to come!
Here We Go!
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August 16, 2012
Starlight is so excited to perform for Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts Grand Gala this fall!
This annual black-tie event kicks off the Houston social season. The 2012 Grand Gala Ball celebrates the Art Deco period, which is strongly represented in the MFAH collections. Funds raised by this event directly benefit the operating budget of the MFAH, one of the nation’s most distinguished visual arts institutions and a primary source of culture for the city of Houston.
The ensemble (The Starlight Experience) consists of 17 members, and features the musicians, singers and performers that has made Starlight famous through the country. The evening will open with a modern twist on traditional music from the 20′s and 40′s, and will offer a big-band flavor. As the party progresses, the music will become more contemporary with an emphasis on high energy party favorites as well as Top 40 hits. Starlight is chosen for its versatility, and ability to spontaneously weave different styles in a seamless presentation.
The guys and gals of Starlight are preparing a very special performance for this very special event!
Individual tickets start at $750; tables start at $10,000.
For more information, contact GrandGalaBall@mfah.org or 713.639.7523.
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July 23, 2012
My dear friend Preston Bailey gets it when he said, “If flowers create the visuals for an event, music creates the soul.” Preston recently posted a blog series on “transparency of pricing,” and he asked me what goes into the costs of music for an event. I love when people ask about the many elements that go into creating the customized musical presentations that Starlight is known for.
Here is the article published on Preston’s blog.
If flowers create the visuals for an event, music creates the soul.
As we continue our discussion about transparency, I could think of no one better than my good friend Valerie Romanoff to address the issue of music as it relates to event planning. Having worked on many events together, I can say with full confidence that Valerie is a “musical designer” whose genius lays in keeping the dance floor full all night–along with the incredibly giftedStarlight Orchestra. Suffice it to say that she is at the top of her game and one of the best in our field.
“While it’s easy to acknowledge the importance of hiring talent, the simple truth is that most people have no idea how much work goes into assembling a first-class band. In light of this, I will do my best to highlight some of the expenses.
-A musical arranger to prepare a specific play list for each individual event.
-A music librarian to catalogue and archive these materials.
-A music coordinator to send materials to the musicians
-A music programmer to prepare the audio files that are used for live performances of contemporary music
-A musical director to assist in rehearsing (sometimes two are needed)
-An in-house production manager to coordinate and serve as a liaison between a sub-contracted sound company, the venue, event planner, and bandleader.
-A sound company (Approx 20% of the fee for the band goes toward paying for the equipment, trucking tech crew, audio engineer)
- Each band member and their understudies
- A musician liaison
- A wardrobe coordinator
- Casting and choreography
-Management of IT, digital media library, equipment etc.
-Creative team to work on special projects for specific events.”
Wow, I never imagined hiring a first-class band was so complex, did you? I really hope all of my clients are reading this blog.
Now, let me test your ability to price one of the best bands in New York City.
Imagine you are looking to book a 12-piece band (with all of these services included) and intend to have them play for 4 hours.
Is the cost
Check back tomorrow for the correct answer and more information on pricing DJ’s and music for the cocktail hour and the ceremony.
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July 20, 2012
Thanks to the Bridal Circle for posting our wonderful interview!
WEAVING TOGETHER A FABULOUS WEDDING WITH MUSIC BY VALERIE ROMANOFF OF STARLIGHT MUSIC NEW YORK
Photo by: John Armich
A wedding event is a journey for the bride and groom as well as their guests. When determining the music for an event, we start at one point, go through a variety of segments (arrivals, ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, dancing etc.) and end up in a much different “place” than when we started. Each of these segments can have a completely different tone and energy. By giving thought to what we want to accomplish, we can consciously use sound, music, décor, lighting and even timing to create these moods. We then weave together a unique tapestry of moments that bring us through the entire wedding experience.
There is not one way to throw a wedding, and there are many strategies for planning the flow. We have ample time throughout the night to create several different atmospheres. Here are some questions to get us started in choosing a direction.
1. How do we want guests to feel as they first enter the space?
2. What feeling do we want to create during the wedding processional?
3. What vibe do we want for the cocktail reception?
4. What feel do we want as guests first enter the dining room for dinner?
5. Do we want dancing interwoven throughout the evening or save it for the end?
6. What styles of music do we want for dancing?
7. Lastly, how do we want to end the evening?
Let’s look at some of the options. Music has a profound impact on the way we feel. Think of movies and television shows, and how we begin to feel once music is introduced into a scene. The same holds true at live events. We can underscore the moment to create specific feelings. As guests first arrive at your wedding, for example, we can create a feeling of Old World grandeur by playing a Viennese waltz with four violins.
Consider how different that would be than walking in to a classical guitarist playing a soft melody. Yet again, if there were no music at all, the tone would be filled by voices and the background sounds of the venue at work. These are three totally different experiences, which put the guests in three totally different moods.
For the wedding processional, some couples choose soft and romantic classical pieces that bring a somber and thoughtful feeling, while other couples prefer bouncy and fun renditions of their favorite pop tunes, by James Taylor, the Beatles or Coldplay. Many of our clients choose to mix genres together for an eclectic blend of meaningful songs. My job as the bandleader is to find ways to weave these together so they flow seamlessly and create the desired mood.
Whether we choose to have dancing throughout the courses, or to have more of an “after-party” with dancing for the last few hours, it is important to target the types of music you want for dancing. Do you want Big Band, Motown, soul, 80’s, rock, or Top 40 pop music of today? Most good bands and DJs can blend these together to create a custom repertoire that reflects your taste and also plays to the pulse of the crowd.
Every gathering is a co-creative experience where the energy of the group affects each individual. By the end of the evening, we have all been through a unique and transformational experience, in honor of marriage and celebration. That’s the way we do it at Starlight Music New York, and we do it worldwide!
Wishing you the best, Valerie Romanoff, Bandleader
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July 5, 2012
I met with a bride last night who asked me what type of client I most enjoy working with. I thought it was such an interesting question. I didn’t skip a beat before answering that I appreciate clients who prioritize the role of music at their wedding and want something truly spectacular. Starlight can deliver “spectacular” and whatever that means for each individual person. For some clients “spectacular” means elegant, romantic, sophisticated yet UNDERSTATED. Starlight can do that. To another client, “spectacular” means that that the evening was high energy for start to finish. We do that too. And to someone else, “spectacular” means that we were able to continually “read” their crowd and know how to modulate the music and energy accordingly, making for a dynamic evening. That is one of Starlight’s specialties.
Starlight does many different styles of presentation; we take the time to get to know our clients, listen to their ideas, and translate them into the many musical elements that comprise an event. THE PROCESS then becomes as much a a part of the experience as the party. The personal touches make each party so unique, in addition to the ever-growing ideas and concepts that Starlight incorporates.
Dear Reader, What do you think makes a spectacular event? I’d like to know.
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June 22, 2012
Hi! I would like to ask for your support. I have entered STARLIGHT to win a $250,000 grant given by Chase and LivingSocial. In order to be considered for the grant, we need a minimum of 250 votes. I am hoping you would be so kind as to take a moment and vote for us!
We have many new projects and products waiting to be developed, including original music CDs, live events and showcases, new ensembles and cool new digital media ideas. Your support would mean so much to us.
Here’s how to vote.
on the right, click “log in and support.”
It will prompt you to log on with your FACEBOOK account.
(you need to have a facebook account to vote.)
Click “log in with Facebook.”
At the bottom, under “Vote Local” type Starlight Orchestras.
It will prompt you to choose Starlight Orchestras and Productions.
Then click VOTE!
Your support means so much, and we appreciat your time.
It would be great if you could pass this along to others as well.
Thank you again!
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June 22, 2012
How much fun do we have at Starlight? Last week’s Pierre wedding gave us an opportunity to rock out for Lauren and Danny’s big day. There’s me on the guitar groovin with the guys.
And here is our bride and groom dancing onstage with the band!
The new Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Wrublin rocking with the Starlight Orchestra
Here are some of the special songs they chose for their wedding:
||Fields of Gold (Sting)
||Everything I Do (Bryan Adams)
|Maid of Honor
||Have I Told You Lately (Van Morrison)
||Beautiful Day (U2)
||From This Moment (Shania Twain)
||Isn’t She Lovely (Stevie Wonder)
||Daniel (Elton John)
||You Are The Best Thing (Ray LaMontagne)
|My Favs of the Night
||Call Me Maybe, Good Feelin, You Shook Me All Night Long
Here is the letter I got from the bride on Monday.
Where to even begin!! YOU ROCKED THE HOUSE LAST NIGHT!! It was beyond our wildest dreams and its thanks to you and your band for creating the most perfect environment for us to have the time of our lives! It was truly a dream come true and we can’t thank you enough from the bottom of our hearts. From the ceremony music to Call Me Maybe to the after party transition, everything was just PERFECT and all our planning and attention to the details paid off! Your team was just a pleasure to work with and we knew having you play our wedding that we wouldn’t have to worry about a thing. Everyone was going on and on today about how amazing the music was and how they have never heard such an incredible band. The talent and energy filled the room and truly made everyone never want to leave the dance floor. I told you on Friday I couldn’t wait to dance the night away- and that is exactly what we did never leaving the dance floor!! You truly went above and beyond and we can’t thank you enough. I know you really wanted to make the night special for us and it truly showed and I can’t tell you how grateful we are. Thank you thank you thank you!! Hope you got some rest today!!
All the best,
Another happy sigh from Valerie, and a huge thanks to the band and the Starlight team.
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June 18, 2012
Jennifer was a bride totally opposite from her sister, whose wedding I had done five years prior. Where Ali had wanted glitz and glam and “music video” style performance, Jen wanted a high energy that felt more organic, alternative and “slightly left of center.” It took a while for me to figure out how to deliver what she wanted yet still motivate the several hundred guests to find their way to the dance floor. I accepted the challenge! And in the end, it is the personal touches that make every event so unique. I was so proud at the end of Jen and Seth’s wedding when I sat back and reviewed all the elements that went in to creating the musical tapestry for her wedding.
First, Jen and Seth like indie and alternative music, new recording artists, as well as the classic singer-songwriters from the 70’s and 80’s. As far as dance music, they were very specific about the artists and sounds to be played during their wedding reception.
Here is how it all played out and what we were able to create for them.
Setting: The American Museum of Natural History on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. A warm spring night. Arrivals: As guests walked through the Columbus Avenue entrance, a trio of 2 acoustic guitars and soprano sax performed love songs by the Beatles. We started by doing only instrumental versions, but soon realized it would be fun to sing, so we switched gears and had three part harmonies on some of the bride’s favorite songs.
As the guests entered the building and went up to the second floor, we had a small complement of musicians at the top of the staircase. Harp, 2 violins and upright bass performed a handpicked selection of songs including: Shower the People, Wonderwall, Moondance and The Top of the Stairs,
The Starlight Strings
Ceremony: While the wedding ceremony music was gorgeous (including the bride’s favorite James Taylor song- Something in the Way She Moves) the highlight was what we created for the recessional. I had never heard of the Icelandic band Sigur Ros, and I certainly hadn’t heard of the song called Inní mér syngur vitleysingur. But Jen had sent me a note that said “Here is a video of the song that makes me happier than any other. I think it’s what joy sounds like and would love to have the instrumental at the end be what plays when we walk back up the aisle. The band, Sigur Ros, doesn’t release their music but maybe you can figure it out?. The crescendo at the end that makes me smile without fail starts at 3:32. Here’s a link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgaQC7B3GIE”
How could I resist? In order to avoid hiring a 20 piece band to reproduce the sound, we created some tracks in the recording studio and added a trumpet, percussion, saxophone and keyboard to our ceremony quartet. We also brought a fabulous sound system to make sure the piece as heard throughout the room in all its glory, to envelope the bride and groom in the full sound as they envisioned. It was such a special moment that we time we actually got a “thumbs up” from the bride as she was recessing down the aisle.
Wow! So much music, so many special moments and the party had not even officially begun yet. Another unusual yet amazing request was that Jen had asked me to find an original artist to perform during dinner. I was thrilled to invite my friend Tom Rossi to perform music from his new CD, and serenade the crowd during the quiet portion of the evening. It is rare for us to have an acoustic guitar in the band, (especially because I play the electric guitar!!!) so it was a real treat to have Tom accompany us on the other special dances, Painting By Chagall by the Weepies, The Secret of Life by James Taylor and Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol.
We also created some dance remixes of other “indie” type songs and artists, and then made sure to throw in lots of party favs, including the bride’s mother’s favorite artist, Bon Jovi. Speaking of the bride’s mother, I have to compliment June Hersh for her ability to create an absolutely magical event that reflected all of the nuances and idiosyncrancies (I say fondly) that made this the perfect wedding for Jen and Seth. I enjoyed working with event planner Corey Sandlofer (Chlo Events), Bardin Palomo (event designers), Terry Gruber Photography, Lauren Jaume (Restaurant Associates), but most of all June and Ron Hersh for their vision.
Here are the letters I received after the weekend…
From: The Father of the Bride 6/13/12
To: Valerie Romanoff
Subject: Thank you!
Dear Valerie,I don’t even know where to begin! Never, in all the events I have been to in my life, has there ever been a more spectacular musical presentation than yours at Jen & Seth’s wedding! I have never heard a band sound better, no matter the genre – who was up front – or the individual number you were doing. So perfect – that’s what everyone who was there said. And I thought you couldn’t possibly be even better than you were at Ali & Dan’s. You and your people truly helped make the evening simply the best ever! I cannot thank you enough for what you all did to make the wedding one that people will talk about for a long, long time to come and that I will remember forever.Thank you, thank you, thank you!
And the Mother of the Bride posted this review on weddingwire.com yesterday.
In 2007 we had Valerie Romanoff and her amazing band at my daughter’s wedding at the NY Public Library. They were incredible. From coordinating the ceremony music to the cocktail hour vibe and the unbelievable band at the reception, they exceeded our expectations. When my younger daughter began planning her wedding, our first call was to Valerie. We went to their offices and talked about what my bride, Jennifer and groom Seth, envisioned for their wedding. In an instant, Valerie and her talented team got to work creating exactly what Jennifer wanted. From song selection to customized music, Valerie’s team put it all together. They didn’t miss a beat! The pre-ceremony music welcomed our guests to New York’s Museum of Natural History with a warm style. The ceremony music was exactly what Jennifer chose; contemporary songs with an elegant feel- an amazing harpist and an ensemble that rivals any I could hear at Carnegie Hall. They even went so far as to take Jen’s favorite song and learn it perfectly. That was no easy task as the sheet music was unavailable and they had to create the music, practice and learn this unusual Icelandic piece. Our guests couldn’t get over the orchestral sound that accompanied my daughter down the aisle. And then there was the party- OMG- they were unbelievable, knowing the right mix of songs, keeping the crowd energized and engaged, making the night flow perfectly with the right balance. My guests all commented that the singers would blow any American Idol off the stage, the musicians were more talented than any they have heard in concert and Valerie’s guitar artistry was awesome. The party remained full energy until the last person collapsed on the dance floor. Starlight was everything we could have ever hoped for and more. My only regret- I don’t have another wedding to make, might just have to have Starlight come to my house and blow my mind one more time!
Wishing You All The Best,
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June 13, 2012
Some folks really know how to celebrate! When Elissa and David got married one year ago at the Plaza Hotel, it was truly “my” kind of wedding. By that I mean clients who are looking to maximize the joy in every moment, to infuse meaning into every segment of the night, and to use music to modulate the energy throughout. I wrote about my experience of their wedding in a blog post called “Elissa and David Are Married.” Now, one year later, David had an amazing idea to celebrate their first anniversary. He called me a few weeks ago and asked if I could arrange to have a few of the musicians from the wedding come play for a private surprise dinner for two he arranged in the ballroom of the Plaza Hotel. Everything was a re-creation from their wedding night, from the table decor, floral centerpiece, menu, lighting, even the music for their first dance and wedding ceremony. How utterly romantic! We were delighted to be part of another happy event for this family. Speaking of which, David’s sister is getting married this weekend, and I have the pleasure of performing for another unique and surprise filled wedding!
Date: June 12, 2012 11:55:51 AM EDT
To: Valerie Romanoff <firstname.lastname@example.org>
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.
As always you and your team made another one of our nights that much more amazing. I can’t thank you enough for always being there for us. It means a lot. Claudia and her other musician were UNBELIEVABLE. They were SO SO good and really made the night.
Elissa was on cloud nine and asked me to keep pinching her. The night was magical. I really can’t thank you enough and look forward to another Starlight Wow!!
Read what Emily Reifel (of CPS Events at the Plaza) had to say about this special evening: A TABLE FOR TWO…
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May 23, 2012
Last week I was invited to speak about music at a conference of wedding planners in South America. World renowned designer/florist Preston Bailey invited me to accompany him, along with event planner Marcy Blum and lighting designer Ira Levy to the Tendencias Weddings and Events 2012 conference in the beautiful town of Cartagena. I was honored to be part of such an illustrious group of leaders in my industry, and to have the opportunity to share my ideas about using music to transform events.
We stayed at the beautiful Hotel Sofitel Cartagena Santa Clara, which was originally built as a monastery in 1621.
Thanks to Simone LeJour, Carmen Otero De Millan, Monica Juan Pablo and Monica Restrepo , Ricardo Hernandez for taking such good care of us.
Enjoy viewing a video from the event at www.vimeo.com/42430992
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