Last week we sat down with Amber from Pecatonica String Quartet to learn more about the ensemble and what you need to know to book them for your wedding!
The ensemble was founded in 2008 and although they are named after the Pecatonica River in Southwest Wisconsin, the Pecatonica String Quartet is based right here in Madison. Lucky for us too, because they were recently named as the winner of the Wisconsin Bride Best of 2015 award for Best Ceremony Music. Their musical collection includes classical favorites and popular hits from yesterday and today. Just to throw out a few examples: Bruno Mars, Coldplay, Guns N Roses, The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Train.
Love, Madison Weddings: So tell us about Pecatonica!
Pecatonica: Our ensemble consists of our “Core 4” players – myself, Carol, Chris and Maggie. And then we work with a number of talented subs when Core 4 members are not available. However, we will not book an event if more than two of the Core 4 are unable to attend.
Love, Madison Weddings NOTE: You guys, all of the “Core 4” members have at least a Master’s Degree in music and have accolades that go on for days! You can read all about them here.
Love, Madison Weddings: Explain the process a couple takes to book Pecatonica.
Pecatonica: After the couple has contacted us and we confirm availability, they fill out the contract and send a $150 deposit. I’ll give them an overview of music they need to select (Prelude, Processional, Special music, Recessional, Postlude – all explained in a later answer) and let them continue wedding planning until about a month out. At that time, I’ll contact them to confirm musical selection and answer any questions.
Love, Madison Weddings: What if the couple has a special request, or is not sure what music they want?
Pecatonica: Although an in-person meeting is typically not necessary, I am happy to meet with couples to review their options and play anything they want to hear for a small additional fee.
Love, Madison Weddings: You were named as the winner of the Wisconsin Bride Best of 2015 award for Best Ceremony Music (Congrats!!). Do you also play receptions?
Pecatonica: Yes! We often play at a couple’s ceremony and then again during their cocktail and dinner hour. After that, their band or DJ typically takes over.
Love, Madison Weddings: Your selection ranges from classical to Top 40 to rock, and pretty much everything in between! What are some of the most popular requests you get?
Pecatonica: Of course Canon in D is popular for processional music, as are A Thousand Years by Christina Perri and All of Me by John Legend,. All You Need is Love by the Beatles is a very popular choice for recessionals.
Love, Madison Weddings: You just mentioned the processional. For those not aware, can you explain the difference between ceremony music selections?
Pecatonica: I typically break it down into 5 sections – Prelude, Processional, Special music, Recessional, Postlude.
- Prelude: Music to welcome guests as they are being seated before the ceremony. Prelude generally begins 15 minutes before the ceremony and includes 5-6 songs. The quartet is happy to select these pieces when requested.
- Processional (wedding party): Music for the wedding party to enter. (Typically slower in tempo)
- Processional (bride): Music for the bride to walk down the aisle. (Typically slower in tempo)
- Special music: Music that may be during the unity candle, the giving of roses to family members or for a moment to listen and reflect. Some brides opt for no additional music during the ceremony.
- Recessional: Music for the wedding party to exit. (More joyous and up-beat)
- Postlude: A continuation of joyous music as guests exit or are ushered out.
Love, Madison Weddings: What are some of your favorite venues to play in Madison?
Pecatonica: Acoustically, the sound is amazing at Holy Wisdom Monastery. We’ve also played a number of weddings at Bridle Barn & Gardens in Mount Horeb, and we love to play at MMoCa in the lobby and gardens. It’s special for the wedding party and fun to see the excitement of people passing by when they realize we are playing a wedding.
Love, Madison Weddings: Tell me about the most unique experience you’ve had as a quartet?
Pecatonica: Well we once played an all Led Zepplin wedding at the Orpheum and the couple sent their dog down the aisle for their final processional. It was really fun.
Pecatonica typically plays about 20-30 weddings each year. While they do book about a year out, they are happy to accommodate late requests based on availability. You can review their rates and get in contact with Amber directly from the Pecatonica website.
And here’s another fun fact… Pecatonica also shares a name with a popular microbrew. When Amber sent her husband out to get beer for an ensemble meeting, he returned with this brew for a double dose of Pecatonica! Cheers to that!