Making the Band
We've highlighted some of our favorite bands and DJs around town.
by:Amanda M. Wegner
Intermezzo String Quartet
What began as a hobby has blossomed into one of the busiest gigs in Wisconsin. Intermezzo String Quartet, based in Madison, began in the early 1990s when some friends got together to play for enjoyment. “Those friends were asked to play for a wedding, and one thing led to another,” says member Carlyce Skjervem. Part of the reason the foursome is so popular is because they love playing together. While only one of the original four remains, the current group has been around for 10 years, honing their sound and craft.
With two violins, a viola and a cello, Intermezzo’s repertoire consists largely of composers such as Mozart, Bach and Haydn, but the ladies also try to accommodate special requests. “We do have some limitations being a strings-only group,” says Skjervem. “However, we have a killer arrangement of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ if anyone is asking!”
Style: Classical; large selection of pop and Jewish music
Cost: Ceremonies cost about $550; $350 per hour for receptions
Setting: Ceremonies, cocktail hours, dinners and receptions
Contact: 608.829.1768 | intermezzostringquartet.com
North Coast Orchestra
Versatility is the name of the game for North Coast Orchestra. “We can go from Sinatra to disco to top 40 and then play a polka,” says bandleader Matt Antoniewicz. Chalk it up to knowledge and experience. All the members have formal music training—guitarist Doug Syme even has a doctorate in music—and some have toured and performed with the likes of The Temptations, Frank Sinatra Jr., Natalie Cole, Kenny Rogers and others.
At weddings, the nine-piece group takes its cues from the bride and groom, but the audience is an equally good source of inspiration, because in the end “the crowd is there to have a good time,” says Antoniewicz.
Cost: Costs are customized on a per-client basis.
Setting: Mostly receptions, but there are smaller groups within the band: jazz groups for cocktails and dinner, classical groups for ceremonies, and a brass quintet.
Contact: 800.279.7909 | northcoastorchestra.com
Michelle DuVall & Doug Brown
Hepcats aren’t the only ones with their toes tapping and fingers snapping when Madison’s Michelle DuVall and Doug Brown take the stage. DuVall “particularly shines at jazz and swing,” notes Brown, who accompanies her on the piano or guitar, and also knows violin.
The pair first collaborated when DuVall performed at the wedding of a longtime friend and asked Brown to accompany her. He says the duo have been working with brides and grooms long enough that they’ve “performed in just about every imaginable type of wedding and in all kinds of settings,” including a hillside overlooking the Wisconsin River, churches, theaters, backyards, in the middle of a prairie, and even the Senate chambers of the state Capitol.
DuVall and Brown perform as a duo, with a small combo or with their eight-piece group, Get Down, Mr. Cat! Whatever the ensemble, expect a swingin’ time.
Style: Swing, 1930s and ’40s jazz
Cost: Depends on number of hours played; generally runs $200-$300 per band player for the event
Setting: Ceremonies, cocktails, dinner or dancing
Contact: 608.233.1953 | dougbrownmusic.com
Eric Ciepluch of DJ’s Unlimited
Working DJ gigs in high school, Eric Ciepluch knew he could do better than the big-name companies he was spinning for. So before he was even old enough to have a glass of wedding wine, he was helming Brookfield’s DJ’s Unlimited, LLC.
A lot of DJs “just show up and don’t put in the preparation,” Ciepluch says. “Most will spend just an hour or two.” Ciepluch reports that his DJs spend a whopping 20 to 30 hours preparing for a single wedding. And if his crew doesn’t deliver, he offers a 100 percent money-back guarantee.
With nearly 2 million songs available, DJ’s Unlimited can find just about anything your heart desires. Plus, with experience doing ethnic weddings, including spinning tunes at Serbian, Latvian and Chinese receptions, Ciepluch’s DJs are masters at mixing Grandma’s desire for a kolo (a traditional Balkan dance) with your cousin’s hip-hop fix.
Style: Hits from the 1920s to today
Setting: Receptions; complimentary dinner and cocktail music
Contact: 262.542.0270 | djsunlimitedonline.com
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