BRIDES’ DREAM TEAM WEDDING
ANDY KUSHNER is the bandleader of SoundConnection, a musical group that plays from R&B to disco at A-list venues such as the Bellagio in Vegas and mansions in Newport, Rhode Island. He’s performed for notables like President George W. Bush (who didn’t dance) and Jim Belushi (who did). Read on as Kushner sounds off on how to fill your dance floor.
SHOULD THE MUSIC BE FOR THE COUPLE OR THE GUESTS?
It should be a combination. If a couple wants us to emphasize a certain style that may not get the party going, I advised them to consider other material, too.
WHAT DO YOU TELL A BRIDE WHO ASKS YOU TO PLAY THE ELECTRIC SLIDE?
We ask her how she’d feel if we insert some hooks [popular parts] of well-known songs to make the sound a little more interesting.
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION THAT COUPLES HAVE WHEN THEY HIRE A BAND?
That there is a guarantee that specific musicians will be in the band year after year. There’s as much turnover in the band business as in any other business. To make sure you get the sound you want, consider the band’s overall performance style and if they’ve retained the same sound.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN NO ONE’S DANCING?
We’ll play popular ballads and classic dance songs. Sometimes our singers will go into the crowd to help get them on the floor.
WHAT’S THE STRANGEST FIRST-DANCE SONG YOU’VE EVER PLAYED?
Whitney Houston’s “Saving All My Love for You”, because it’s actually about an affair. But the client insisted on it because she loved the chorus.
WHAT’S THE STANGEST PLACE YOU’VE PERFORMED IN?
Under the bleachers of Tampa Stadium in Florida.
IS LISTENING TO THE BAND’S CD SUFFICIENT IN HIRING A BAND?
Bands can do anything with a CD. That’s why I think seeing them- even on a DVD- makes the band a little more honest. If you can watch them live, come during the second half of the party, when it’s more likely to be in the dancing mode.
WHAT STYLE OF MUSIC DOESN’T WORK AT A WEDDING RECEPTION?
Polkas, tangos, fox trots, and waltzes can empty the dance floor pretty quickly- so can heavy metal and traditional country.
WHAT SHOULD THE BANDLEADER’S FUNCTION BE AT A WEDDING? SHOULD HE BE AN EMCEE, TOO?
He can be-if the couple wants. The bandleader sets the tone, taking the temperature of the crowd and selecting the songs moment to moment.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT PERFORMING WEDDINGS?
It’s usually a real loving, joyous crowd to be around, and it’s an honor to help facilitate their celebration.