Planning Your Event
Pre-screening the band
Let us know if you would like to see and hear us play before you book us. We will arrange access for you at an upcoming event.
Some musical options
- Recorded music for part of your event
- A jazz trio for cocktails
- Special requests or favourites
- The full big band
If you need a microphone or two for speeches, just let us know in advance. We will be all set-up, with a full sound system, long before you and your guests arrive.
This is when you want the full band in all its glory. The Preville Big Band ! We are a 17-piece dance band, with full brass and rhythm sections plus two singers. We don’t cut the band down, and we don’t wash windows. Sorry. But we are good!
Work with us to recognize that every dance takes a while to get started. But we guarantee that anyone who feels the urge to dance will be on the floor before the night is through.
During the breaks you have the choice of:
- Recorded dance music. We’ll bring some, or you can bring an iPod or CDs if you like. We have the sound system.
- We have (optionally) a great DJ who works with us, and shares our sound system. That means we can provide continuous dance music all night long.
- Having your speeches or special acknowledgments during the breaks is a good plan.
Cost and Contract
We don’t post prices on our web site, but we will tell you that we offer great value, compared to many bands out there.
The reason is simple. We just love the music and love performing. But we’re not free, either. Heck, we do have some principles.
It is important to reserve the band well in advance, because we operate on a first-come first-serve basis. So don’t delay.
To reserve the band for a specific date takes a signed contract and a deposit. Nothing complicated. Event details like starting times can be changed later.
For a wedding, the typical booking time is for 4 hours for the full band. That’s from the time the band is ready and scheduled to start, until the band finishes. For the cocktails we recommend a jazz trio. It is a great choice and not expensive because the same musicians play in the big band later. The trio includes piano, bass, and horn.
The band needs a minimum stage space 16 feet deep, and 24 feet wide. This works pretty well with standard 4 x 8 foot risers.
Many halls will provide a stage, but it isn’t absolutely necessary. But we do need the space! If the stage is too small (and isn’t too high) we can put the sax section on the floor in front of the stage.
For formal events, we suggest you make the last row of risers (the back 4 feet) a tad higher. It makes a great impression.
Ideally you want the band front and centre to the dance floor. Often that is in the middle of the room, but not always. Talk to the hall manager. If you like, call us and we can look at the hall together with you. Having the band at one end is usually not too bad either.
Sound and Lighting
The band is fully equipped with a full, top-quality sound system, which we will set up in the afternoon before the guests arrive. It is powerful enough for a room of up to 300 people, or even small outdoor concerts. We have small lights for the musician stands. Major stage lighting we would have to rent, but typically it is not necessary.
Please ask the hall to reserve a small room where musicians can rest and hydrate during breaks, prepare our music, and store equipment cases.
Sometimes when space is limited, tables are put on the dance floor, and it takes 20-30 minutes after dinner to clear them off before the band can start. All the guests are asked to leave at this time. Be sure to ask the hall about this, and include the time in your schedule. We don’t particularly like this option, but sometimes there is no choice.
Choice of Music, Special Requests
If you have a particular mix of music you would like, let us know in advance. That said, we have a pretty good idea of what works for most events, after many years of experience.
Opening/closing Dance numbers
Let us know well in advance in case it is not in our current repertoire. We have a large repertoire with many many great dance tunes from all eras. Feel free to mention tunes you particularly want, (in advance when we are planning our sets, please).
But we may not have your particular favorite in our big band “book”. If not, here are some alternatives:
- Have the DJ play it. We have one on call.
- Fake it with the rhythm section and a couple of horns (if we know it).
- Have us arrange it for full band and work it up. (Give use some time to do that.)
If any of your guests is particularly talented and would like to sing with the band, that’s fine with us. It’s an exciting experience to sing with a live big band. (Be sure you check with the bandleader first.) We will be delighted to work with them to pick a tune we have that is in their key. It you’re really serious, ask them to contact us and come to a rehearsal, where we will work with them and tape the session so for them to practice with.
We welcome guest artists
If any of your guests are particularly talented and would like to sing or play with the band, that’s fine with us. It is an exciting experience to work with a big band.
Please check with us well in advance if you have this special request. We would be delighted to help them pick a favourite tune. And if they are really serious about performing well, ask them to contact us and come to a rehearsal. We will work with them and tape the session so they can practice on their own time.
Care and Feeding of Musicians
Musicians are wonderful people (aren’t we?). But it is a demanding gig and we do need sustenance.
If we don’t play too early, there is no need to feed the whole band. But we do ask for meals for the set-up crew and a combo if you choose to have one. And healthy snacks for the band during breaks would be appreciated.
Water, coffee, and soft drinks are a mandatory. Playing makes us thirsty. Heck, maybe even a beer ☺