The Renewal :: Chesapeake Strings

Ten years ago, I really wanted a string trio or quartet for my wedding, but I decided on a harpist.  It wasn’t the wrong decision, but for the renewal, I KNEW that I wanted to have strings for the ceremony.  So, imagine me…at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club bridal show back in January…standing across the “aisle” from this awesome string trio…they played Coldplay, Beatles and Pachelbel too.  I really enjoyed listening to them throughout the day.  The, Brittany says, “You know, you are getting married this year, maybe you should be looking for vendors today.”  Well, duh!  So, I walked right over to Chesapeake Strings, grabbed a card and emailed them later that night.  The rest, they say, is history!  So, here is my interview with this fabulous vendor.  Enjoy!

Q. How did the original trio meet and decide to start Chesapeake Strings?  Who are the original three and what instruments do they play?
The “original” trio is myself, Elizabeth Polek, on viola, my fiance Justin Gopal on violin, and our friend Devree Lewis on cello! Justin and I met during our undergrad at Rice University in Houston, Texas, and we both went to University of Maryland for grad school, where we met Devree. All of us played with other wedding and event music groups in the Baltimore/DC area but we rarely had opportunities to play with each other or other string player friends of ours. I decided to create the Chesapeake Strings website in 2010 because I had just graduated from school and was worried about getting enough work! I purchased the website domain and thought, “If we can get 5 weddings from this, it will be worth it.” Now we book over 100 a year!
Q. What is your favorite moment during a wedding?
Everyone likes when the groom sees the bride for the first time but I also always enjoy the very end of a ceremony, right after the kiss. That moment when the bride and groom look at each other with such excitement and think, we did it. Many of our couples feel nervous for their ceremonies, actually–you don’t want to trip down the aisle or mumble your vows! There is a huge relief and rush of joy at the end of each ceremony we play and I love seeing that raw emotion.

Q. I work on a lot of ceremony programs and brides always seem to have a hard time picking music.  Do you have any “favorites” for the processional, bride’s processional and recessional?
This might be surprising, but I actually love the classic Air on the G String and Pachelbel’s Canon for the processional! I feel like we can always make those songs sound really good live because they are simple and beautiful. I also like when our couples change it up and have us play Beatles or a pop song for the processional. Once we played Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” for the bridesmaids, which was so fun. The music does so much to set the mood for the ceremony. For the recessional I like anything upbeat but especially “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey or “Viva la Vida” by Coldplay. These songs let your guests know that the serious part of the day is over and it’s time to celebrate!

Q. What is the most unique song that a client has asked you to play at a wedding ceremony?
This year we had a couple theme song requests–Super Mario Bros. and the “Game of Thrones” theme song. Super Mario Bros  is hard! That is one of our trickiest arrangements because of how the rhythms are written out. Every so often I’ll get a request for a song I’ve never heard of (thank goodness for youtube!) and I always end up loving the song by the time I’m finished arranging it.

Q. I had the opportunity of listening to your trio at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club Bridal Show and absolutely loved it! (Thank you!!) Can you share a link to one or two of your pieces, so everyone else can hear you too?
We have a bunch of links under the “Watch/Listen” page of our website, www.chesapeake-strings.com, but here is a video clip of us at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club bridal show from 2011:
In the video we play Pachelbel’s Canon and “All You Need Is Love” by the Beatles, two of our most popular songs.

Q. I’ve asked this of my vendors, so here you go…describe Chesapeake Strings in 5 words. (either a sentence or 5 individual words)
Elegant, classic, romantic, fun, talented!

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