Imagine your favorite romantic movie. Now imagine it without a soundtrack. Not quite the same effect, right? Music hits all the high notes when it comes to setting the tone and feel of an event. That’s why, on the most romantic day of your life, the music should serve as more than simply background noise. From the ceremony to the reception, the music you select will be part of the memories that will last a lifetime. San Antonio is home to a variety of talented musicians and vocalists who will work with you to make magical, musical moments you will never forget.
They're Playing Your Song
More Than Just Background Noise
Live Musicians Add That Special Touch
Sonja Westberg Harpist
What better music for a match made in heaven than the angelic strumming of a harp? The majestic appearance of the instrument, combined with the ethereal sound makes an impressive visual and auditory impact at any wedding.
“The tone and projection of this instrument is subtle, yet rich enough to fill any space,” says professional harpist Sonja Westberg “Plus it is such a romantic instrument in and of itself,” she adds. “Very classy and elegant.”
Westberg, who holds a masters degree in harp performance from the University of North Texas, is one of only a handful of professional harpists in San Antonio. She began playing in high school and never looked back.
“I didn’t choose the harp, it chose me,” she says. “Once I started it became my true passion.”
Sharing that passion through teaching and performing is what the San Antonio native does best. She is quick to dispel any misconceptions around the instrument, including the perceived “stuffiness.”
“It is so uncommon that most people think it will be too expensive or too ‘stuffy’ for their guests, but that’s just not the case,” she assures.
“Yes, it is an elegant instrument, but it is very versatile,” she explains, adding that she can play everything from classical to rhythm and blues, jazz, and even contemporary pop. “You can have your favorite song from the radio played on the harp.”
As for the cost, Westberg says most people are shocked to learn it is very affordable. “It’s usually no more expensive than a DJ, and it’s live music,” she says.
Plus, there’s just the “WOW” factor of an ornate, six-foot tall, 95 pound concert harp, its 46 strings being gracefully and skillfully plucked by Westberg.
“Many people have never actually seen a harp being played,” she says. “It is an element that adds a little something extra for both the wedding party, and the guests.”
Kelly Lepeska, Vocalist
Wedding singers are often portrayed in romantic comedies in a less than flattering light. But the truth is, a talented, professional vocalist can add a layer of sentiment to the ceremony that is harder to express through music alone.
“You can help to convey the feelings and emotions the bride and groom have for each other and their families,” says Kelly Lepeska, professional vocalist. “It helps to drive home the way the couple wants to start their new life together.”
Of course finding the right vocalist is key. Lepeska, who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago has been performing since she landed the lead in a school musical at the age of five. Since then, she has been part of church and school choirs, and she was part of a performing group during her college years at the University of Illinois. She has co-written two musicals, and is responsible for starting Second Act Productions, a local community theater primarily for children. With more than 30 years of experience under her belt, Lepeska is an asset to the bride and groom in terms of more than just superior vocal stylings. She is also well versed in music selection, especially as it relates to what is liturgically appropriate for religious ceremonies.
“Depending on the service, I give them a choice of up to three preludes so that they can include more secular music prior the actual ceremony,” she says.
Lepeska works closely with the bride and groom to understand their vision and convey that through songs, going to great lengths to fill any request.
“I once had a bride ask for a song that was not only sung entirely in Spanish, it was also out of print,” she laughs. “That one was the most challenging.”
Challenging or not, it’s those special requests that Lepeska says give live performances an edge over recorded music.
“Your wedding is a living event, and using prerecorded music doesn’t have the same heartfelt specialness,” she describes.
Live performances also have technical advantages in that they allow for last minute changes and adjustments. Songs can be extended for a longer walk down the aisle, or cut to end at the precise moment the bride arrives at the altar.
“Live, experienced performers can roll with the punches easier and customize the nuances of the song to a moment in the ceremony,” Lepeska explains. “We can tailor the experience to the day.”
For more information visit www.kellylepeska.com
Joe Caruso, Pop-Jazz & Swing Singer
Dubbed the “Sinatra of South Texas,” Joe Caruso is a consummate entertainer who, along with his band, delivers a smooth combination of professionalism, style, and entertainment to every reception.
“Joe Caruso and his band are the total package and the best in the industry,” gushes Britannia Olivares, who hired Caruso for her reception. “They brought so much class, elegance and fun to our event.”
So what sets this South Texas crooner apart? For starters, all of Caruso’s musicians hold doctorate degrees in jazz studies, jazz performance, or both. They truly understand and embrace the genre, rather than just add a couple of jazz tunes to their song list.
“These guys are pro’s, pros,” he describes.
But what really puts Caruso in a league of his own is an innate ability to deliver more than just music.
“I pride myself on my ability to understand and deliver the atmosphere that people are trying to create at their events,” he says.
And while Caruso performs from the Great American Songbook in the classic swing style, he is also skilled at improvisation.
“I may pay a slight homage to a great song stylist of the past, but I strive to bring these songs into the present while interjecting my own personal artistry and nuance.”
It is that unique ability that makes Caruso one of the most sought after performers/producers in the business, especially when it comes to wedding receptions.
“Once people hear our demo or see us live, they get it,” he says. “They immediately realize how elegant, romantic, and memorable it will be to have us performing for their guests.”
For more information visit www.joeshow.com.
Henry Brun, Starlite Entertainment and Productions
For one-stop musical shopping, Henry Brun is your man. This Grammy-winning percussionist and founder of Starlite Entertainment and Productions can put together a variety of ensemble musicians for any size or style of event.
With a pool of 50 musicians and a repertoire of more than 8000 songs, there isn’t any wedding scenario that Brun can’t bring to life for the bride and groom.
“We can take the vision of the bride and groom and turn it into a musical reality,” he says with pride. “We can start with something classical for receiving guests, spice it up a little for cocktails, and then end it with a fun dance band for the reception. There are really no limitations.”
Brun works with the bride and groom to determine their specific needs and then presents them with the ensemble he deems most appropriate for the event.
“I present solutions, not options,” he states.
Lately, Brun has had to get especially creative, offering solutions that meet Covid gathering restriction, not to mention tighter budgets, all without sacrificing quality.
“Live music is suffering right now,” he admits. “People still want it, but it’s become an afterthought.”
One way couples are compromising is to use live music on the front end of the event, and then hiring a DJ for the reception. Brun’s International Trio is just the right size to accommodate this trend.
“They have become the star of the day,” he laughs. “Musical groups are having to become more specialized and learn to do more with less. My groups will morph into whatever they need to be to get the job done.”
With so many musicians and ensembles at his disposal, it would be easy for Brun to take a “cookie cutter” approach with his clients. Instead, he
interacts with them on a personal level, coming up with customized solutions that work for everyone.
“I feel for today’s brides and grooms,” he says. “That’s why it’s important to me to talk with them one-on-one and collaborate. I want to give them the best they can get at a price they can spend.”
For more information visit www.starlite-sa.com.