FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ):
1. WHICH ENSEMBLE SHOULD I CHOOSE FOR MY EVENT?
String Quartet - The string quartet is our specialty, the most requested, and the most elegant performing group. A string quartet includes 2 violins, 1 viola, and 1 cello, roughly corresponding to the soprano, alto, tenor and bass sections of a choir. The sounds of the string quartet carries in large halls, churches and outdoors without amplification and provide a wide array of color pallets and dynamic ranges. The quartet is one of the most popular options because of the amount of music written for it and the beautiful and full "classic orchestral" sound it produces. A quartet is highly recommended for any wedding ceremony, larger receptions and parties.
String Trio - A string trio includes 1 violin and 1 viola (or 2 violins) and 1 cello. A trio is a fantastic option when the quartet is not in your budget and provides a great value between fullness of sound and cost. A large part of our string quartet music can also be played by a string trio, although not as loud as the quartet. We also have specialized trio music. A trio can be perfect for medium to smaller wedding ceremonies and more intimate gatherings where space may be limited.
String Duo - Usually one violin and one cello, but can be just two violins, when requested. This is very intimate ensemble, which can create a beautiful atmosphere, but has a limited volume. Excellent for smaller events and spaces (Repertoire will vary for the duo). The duo will still provide the same high quality standards of the quartet repertoire with a more intrinsic and simple sound. It is perfect for small and intimate ceremonies and venues. When budgetary goals are important or space is limited, the string duo is a wonderful solution.
Solo Violin - Whether at an engagement proposal, a wedding, or as a strolling violinist, a string soloist can elevate the prestige of an event. Classy CD accompaniment option for SOLO songs.
2. WHAT IS YOUR PAYMENT POLICY?
We require a $100 deposit at the time of booking (PayPal or Check) and the remainder of the balance needs to be paid several weeks (to months) before the wedding/event. After paying the deposit you will receive an invoice from PayPal for the remaining balance due, before your event. If that makes you nervous -- “what if they don‘t show up!” (something that has never happened) -- you can pay us at the event, however this is NOT recommended. It would need to be done (Paid-in-Full) BEFORE the ceremony begins, so we don't have track you down for it afterward the ceremony when you are occupied with all the guests and reception. We want that off your list of things needing to be done so you can fully enjoy the reception and avoid the awkwardness of still needing to pay people. If there are internet or phone issues for paying this can cause huge undue stress for everyone, so we ask for the balance to be paid several weeks (to months) before the wedding/event.
3. DO YOU CHARGE FOR TRAVEL?
Travel is FREE within Portland and Vancouver. Travel fees may apply outside of Portland and Vancouver based on travel time and distance.
4. DOES THE QUARTET PLAY OUTSIDE OF THE PORTLAND METRO/VANCOUVER AREA?
Yes, we play all over the region (Salem to Longview, Hood River to the Coast).
5. WHAT STYLES OF MUSIC DO YOU PLAY?
More than just Classical music, we pride ourselves in a wide repertoire spanning a variety of genres including jazz, pop, rock, tango, folk, and religious music. In short, everything on our Repertoire list. In reality, basically anything (Bach to Beatles, Mozart to Coldplay & Journey)! If it's not on our list we can either arrange it or find it for you online (extra special song request charge). Our performance experience ranges from standard Classical chamber groups & symphony orchestras, to rock bands & worship bands. We specialize in creating the perfect music for weddings, parties, cocktail hours, and other public/private/corporate events.
6. WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE?
When you select the Vancouver String Quartet, you can have the peace of mind that your musicians will be of utmost professionalism. All members have at least 15 years of experience, and you can be sure that the flow and timing of your event will be in the hands of experts.
7. CAN YOU HELP ME WITH THE SONG SELECTION PROCESS?
Yes, we provide free consultations to help you select the music for your event. We have years of experience, and are happy to suggest selections that suit your musical taste. Our Repertoire page includes wedding song suggestions for different parts of your ceremony.
8. DO YOU TAKE SPECIAL SONG REQUESTS?
Yes. We can arrange almost any piece of music to the instrumentation of your choosing, usually for an additional fee of $60 per song. Special Song Requests need to be made well in advance (weeks or months before the actual event).
9. WHEN CAN I EXPECT THE MUSICIANS TO ARRIVE AT MY EVENT?
Musicians will arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your event/ceremony, or 30 minutes before wedding "prelude" music begins.
10. DO YOU PERFORM AT OUTDOOR SETTINGS?
Yes; outdoors events are wonderful. However, we do request that shade is provided to protect our expensive instruments. If the event is outdoors we will need to play in a location that is either shaded, or have us bring our own professional 10x10 white canopy tent, or have a canopy provided for us to play beneath. Our expensive instruments do not like direct/full-on sunlight or rain. We are fine with playing outdoors without a canopy tent if direct sunlight is blocked by clouds or shade, and there is no precipitation. If you have your wedding outdoors and are unable to provide a shaded area or canopy, there will be a $25 extra charge to bring and use our own 10x10 white pop-up canopy.
11. HOW LONG IS THE AVERAGE WEDDING?
Approximately 60 minutes. Usually 30 minutes of prelude music and 30 minute (+ or -) ceremony. Catholic Masses are generally longer.
12. MY CEREMONY IS ONLY 30 MINUTES, IS THERE A DIFFERENT PRICE?
Our rate includes the first 75 minutes, which usually includes 30 minutes of prelude music before the ceremony.
13. HOW FAR IN ADVANCE SHOULD WE BOOK THE QUARTET?
We encourage you to book as early as is feasible, since the majority of spring and summer weekend dates book up rather quickly during each year. Don't hesitate to call on short notice however. We have often been able to accommodate even very late bookings because of a previous cancellation.
14. WHAT DO I NEED TO PROVIDE FOR THE QUARTET AT THE EVENT?
We will need four chairs without arms set up in the area where we will perform. Folding chairs are fine. The space should ideally be 8' by 8' feet (If that is not quite possible, don't worry, we have squeezed into some tight places on occasion). We will bring our own music stands and work with the people at the location site to ensure that everything is set up properly. If the performance is to take place outdoors, the quartet will need a consistent source of shade, from a building, canopy tent or tree cover. Direct sunlight can damage our expensive instruments.
15. HOW CAN I LISTEN TO THE SONGS IN YOUR REPERTOIRE?
We do have some video and audio samples of our more popular songs on our Home page. However, we can't possibly record everything. We suggest that clients go to Youtube and simply search for the title of the song + the ensemble (string quartet, string trio) you are looking for. In most cases, you will find a near identical version on Youtube that will give you a great idea of the song.
16. WHAT WILL THE MUSICIANS WEAR?
Unless requested otherwise, the dress code is formal: men in tuxedos & women in black.
17. TIGHT BUDGET?
We aim to provide an ensemble that will fit your budget/price range. We are available in multiple combinations to suit your specific needs and budget. All our ensembles aim to add elegance and class to your special event.
18. HOW WILL YOU KNOW WHEN TO START PLAYING THE MUSIC?
All we need is a signal from your wedding coordinator or officiant. Before prelude music begins we go over the details with the appointed person to confirm the plan. We have become very skilled at ending the music at just the right time.
19. DO I NEED TO SELECT EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF MUSIC?
No; we do prefer that you pick the main pieces for your ceremony. You can select them all if you want, but if you don't want to worry about it, we will be more than happy to pick appropriate favorites for you. See our Repertoire page for Wedding Song Suggestions, if you are unsure. We are more than happy to choose appropriate favorites that work well, depending on the mood or genre that you prefer (for weddings or receptions).
20. SHOULD I SELECT ALL OF THE PRELUDE MUSIC?
Music before the ceremony sets the mood for your guests as they are waiting for the wedding ceremony to begin. It is NOT necessary for you to choose all the prelude music, unless of course you want to. Most people leave the prelude music completely to us, but some request a song or two. Through long experience we have found that choosing from a wide variety of beautiful light-Classical, according to the moment and the location, usually works best. Also, if you give us an indication what mood you would like to create, we can make appropriate recommendations.
21. INTERLUDE MUSIC OPTION?
This is music that comes in the middle of the ceremony. Depending on your type of ceremony, you may decide to include more than one of these. Interludes are commonly used during: Lighting of the Unity Candle • Sand Ceremony • Communion.
22. HOW MANY PIECES DO WE NEED FOR THE RECESSIONAL?
Normally, one piece for the exit of the bridal party, and a second song (postlude) as your guests leave. Often, an announcement is made between these two.
23. WHERE IS MUSIC PROGRAMMED DURING A TRADITIONAL WEDDING CEREMONY?
A. Prelude music (25-30 min.)
B. Seating of Parents
C. Procession of Bridal party (minister, groom & grooms men, brides maids, flower girls, ring bearer, etc.)
D. Bride's Entrance (wedding march)
E. Interlude song (optional short meditational piece, such as during the unity candle)
F. Recessional (exit of the entire bridal party)
G. Postlude (music while guests leave)
24. WILL YOU ACCOMPANY A SOLOIST?
Yes, in most cases. We coordinate with pianists, vocalists, organists, or other instrumentalists. A rehearsal is needed for the the song(s). Usually 30 minutes, or more before prelude begins. Because of the extra time involved a fee will apply ($55 per musician/per hour or $27.50 per musician/per 1/2 hour). We will need to touch base with them ahead of time, work out details about keys, sheet music etc. In all cases, this request needs to be addressed on an individual basis. Usually, we can run through a piece right before the wedding and work out any issues. We have a wide network of musicians, and if you desire an extra instrumentalist, please ask!
25. CAN WE ADD AN ADDITIONAL INSTRUMENT OR SINGER?
Yes, other instruments can be added to our string groups to suit your tastes, enhance the atmosphere, or alter the sound. Adding a trumpet, vocalist, harp, or a flute to a string ensemble can produce a beautiful effect. Just ask and we can tailor it to your perfect wish. We have a wide network of musicians, and if you desire an extra instrumentalist, please ask!
26. DO WE NEED TO MEET IN PERSON?
It is actually not necessary to meet in person. All details can be addressed over the phone or via e-mail, but, if you prefer meeting in person, we would be happy to.
27. WILL YOU ATTEND THE WEDDING REHEARSAL?
"I'm worried about timing the bridal party to the music." It is really not necessary for us to attend rehearsals. Only recommended if money is not really an issue. We do all of our planning via direct communication with you (email/phone) and then arrive early on the day of the event to consult with your coordinator or other. First of all, we are very adept in timing the music to the right length, and secondly, it would add to the cost.
28. CAN YOU CUSTOMIZE THE TIME DURATION OF A SONG?
Absolutely! Any piece of music is customizable and can be cut and trimmed to fit any length. Our musicians are able to flawlessly fade out at the end of a piece and transition to another during important parts of the ceremony. (For example, after the bridal party is in place and the bride is ready to walk). You will never have to worry about choosing a piece that is too long or too short.
29. CAN YOU PROVIDE AN AMPLIFIER/SPEAKER/MICROPHONE? Yes, we do have our own amplifier/speaker & mic that can be used for an officiant or singer. Our battery-powered speaker works well for one person (not a group) and has a pretty big sound. It is not fancy but adequate when a boost in sound is needed. We include the microphone and mic-stand for the battery-powered speaker. There is an additional $65 charge for the battery-powered speaker/mic/stand.
30. WHAT HAPPENS IF A MEMBER OF THE QUARTET IS SICK AND UNABLE TO PERFORM AT MY EVENT? Should a Quartet member become unable to attend a given performance, we will call on one of our highly qualified Guest Artists or substitutes who perform with us on just such occasions.
31. DO YOU CHARGE ANY ADDITIONAL FEES, SUCH AS TAXES OR GRATUITY? No, our pricing is all inclusive. We do not charge taxes or have the expectation of a gratuity.
32. WHAT IF I CANCEL?
Unforseen circumstances happen, and we understand that. If a cancellation is made your $100 deposit is non-refundable, but any of the other remaining balance paid in advance will happily be returned. The strength of our policy allows us to permanently reserve a date and time for your event, often turning down many other inquiries for the same date and time.