As a wedding approaches and I get into planning the music with the couple, I often get asked for suggestions of things they can add to make the night a little “extra special” Being in the Boston area, it’s not unusual for clients to want to add a little Irish music or maybe a touch of something country-ish to the regular mix that Flipside plays. There are often family details that can be referenced musically that make the music much more personal- family heritage or traditions, etc. We often get hired for weddings at farms, vineyards and other less traditional venues where more organic music helps create a strong first impression and sets the perfect tone. Of course, it is always nice to have a violinist for the ceremony music, too. The problem is that a lot of string players from a classical background can’t improvise, they can only play what is written out on sheet music. Conversely, the really wailing Celtic and bluegrass fiddle players are sometimes stuck in that world.
On many occasions, we’ve had the pleasure of adding violinist Marnie Hall to Flipside and she always elevates the mood of the wedding. Marnie studied and teaches the Suzuki violin method to kids in the area and has a fantastic ear and ability to play in different musical styles very authentically. She has extensive experience in classical violin, country and bluegrass fiddling and has studied Irish jigs and reels in Dublin. She knows a ton of popular songs and sings, too. We have had great luck having her play the ceremony with our pianist, then join with your faithful bandleader Corin on acoustic guitar for the cocktail hour (see footage from Moraine Farm wedding in Beverly, MA below), and then play the dinner set and special requests with the full band.
At a recent wedding in Bath, Maine, Marnie played the bluegrass-flavored cocktail hour with our guitarist and bass player and then the first band set (including fantastic violin solos on requested songs “Chicken Fried” by the Zac Brown Band , “Wagon Wheel” and “Galway Girl” that had all the guests on their feet) and then performed the bride/father dance “Comes A Time” by Neil Young. The following week she joined us in Winthrop MA for a tented wedding overlooking the beach where she accompanied the groom’s sister singing the French chanson classic “La Vie En Rose” for the first dance and then got everyone dancing during the dinner set with some ripping bluegrass fiddle. When all the guests are dancing during the dinner set, you can be assured it’s going to be a good party!
Marnie has played in local orchestras for The Moody Blues, Joni Mitchell, Brian Wilson, The Irish Tenors, and Johnny Mathis.