As string musicians, we have come to have a deep appreciation for holiday music.  Growing up, playing carols on our instruments happened every year because they are such old songs that the music is readily available and transferable to any key or skill level or ensemble.

For a young musician, holiday tunes can peak interest in the instrument, because the tune is familiar, so the song is more quickly learned.  Who wouldn’t like learning a song quickly?  That doesn’t mean less hard work, as the less familiar ones can be trickier, but the satisfaction of playing something you know and well is priceless.

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So where does holiday music have a place at an event?  At a December wedding, holiday party, or any gathering around the holidays!

For a wedding, the older hymns fit so well with the pre-ceremony setting of reverence, and the jolly tunes that we all know so well are perfect for the buzz of cocktail hour.  For a holiday party, a blend of both tunes sets the mood of the season so well.

Rest assured, your musicians will know this music from deep within their soul.

The Trio Trifecta

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This is the Belle Arte String Quartet, right?  Well, yes, technically.  But if you want just a trio at your wedding, you can have that too!

A trio is a string ensemble consisting of two violins and a cello or a violin, a viola, and a cello–whichever suits the music best!  The sound may seem like it would be lacking with a violin or viola to fill the fourth space, but the musicality of the trio and the arrangement fills the parts and the space just as well.

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Traditionally, small stringed-instrument ensembles consist of a quartet, so most music is written for a quartet, but music can be transcribed for a trio instead.  It is flexible!

You might want to consider a trio for a number of reasons including a tight venue space, a smaller budget, an intimate ceremony/cocktail hour/reception, etc.  The trio brings all the same excellence and delightful as a full quartet!

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Contact us if you would like to know if a trio or quartet would suit your wedding or event better.

{Real wedding: The Lamb Wedding, July 17, 2015}

{Photography by Mary Otanez Photography and Melissa Desjardins Photography}

Don’t worry, this is not a warning that someone might die at your wedding.  But if you love the popular television show “Game of Thrones,” then you know the beautiful theme song!  If you haven’t seen it or you’re not interested in the medieval-esque show, then give the song a listen because it is an interesting piece of music by itself.

Now, imagine that played by a string quartet.  Here is a one-minute snippet in the string quartet version:

Belle Arte Quartet has the music!  There might not be a drum in their midst, but the four instruments provide the perfect essence of the melody and almost make you wish the wedding was in Westeros (the made-up setting for the show, in case you were wondering), but just almost.

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The “Game of Thrones” theme would make a fun and pretty cocktail hour piece. While your guests are catching up with each other and winding down from the beautiful ceremony they just witnessed, treat them to a tune that they would know and probably would be surprised to hear!

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What would be more perfect for a wedding than a piece that has “Wedding March” in the title?  Chances are that you have heard this before, but if you’re not sure, go ahead and give it a listen:

Felix Mendelssohn was born in 1809 and grew up in Berlin, Germany.  It wasn’t long until his musical talents were uncovered and he was child prodigy, making his musical debut by age 9.  Mendelssohn was not only a composer, but also a musician, with his first instrument as the piano, and a conductor, so his knowledge of instruments and performance of music was extensive.

Wedding March from a Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of Mendelssohn’s best known works, produced in 1826. It is reminiscent of joyfulness of Shakespeare’s comedies because of the “doubled” wedding ceremony that concludes the play.

You don’t need to share your wedding with another couple to have this piece be your ceremony statement!  It makes the perfect wedding song (it’s all in the title), especially the boldness that sets the tone for the newly married bride and groom to walk back down the aisle together for the recessional music.

Prints and Greeting cards available at http://etsy.com/shop/melaluna !!! :)

Johann Sebastian Bach, also known as J. S. Bach, was a German composer and musician from the Baroque period of music.  He is most well known for “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” “Passion” arias and “Brandenburg” concertos.

“Air on the G String” is from four Orchestral suites, specifically the second movement of the third suite.  Bach was experimenting with styles, so the four Orchestral suites have a more French-style to them rather than German.  As a violinist himself, Bach features the first violin in this movement.

This particular movement is mellow and sweet, which is perfect for sentimental occasions like weddings.  It fits well for family to process down the aisle, or if it feels right, the music is regal enough for the bride herself.  “Air on the G String” is also perfect for autumn weddings where one can almost see the leaves falling with the music.

Many thanks to Richmond Weddings!  They featured the Belle Arte String Quartet in their Vendor Spotlight blog post yesterday!!!

Richmond Weddings asked some great questions on some background about the quartet, why our quartet stands out in the greater Richmond community, and what the quartet can do to make weddings that much more special.  There are some fun facts about our contractor, Nancy, in there too to get to know her a little better–the friendly face you will meet to when you contact us!

Here is the first part of Richmond Weddings’ blog post about us; click here to read the full post:

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Thank you for voting Belle Arte String Quartet the Best in Richmond for the 2015 season!  Richmond Bride magazine published their annual A-List of wedding vendors, and Belle Arte String Quartet scored the Best String Quartet!

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“Best String Quartet: Belle Arte Quartet — All quartet members are seasoned professionals, serving as either full- or part-time performers with the Richmond Symphony.  Just because it’s a classic quartet doesn’t mean your music has to be classical.  ‘If you can name it, we can do it,’ says Nancy Norris, the contractor for the group.” –Richmond Bride, June 2015

Thank you to everyone who voted and believes in the beautiful music that Belle Arte String Quartet brings to weddings!

The timeless piece “Canon in D Major” was composed by Johann Pachelbel around 1680.  If you have never given it a listen, I do not know how you have escaped it!  Here is a video for a quick listen (just in case):

Pachelbel was a German composer, and “Canon in D” is his most well-known work.  It was originally written for a string quartet, so it sounds so uplifting and classic with a live quartet at weddings.

The piece starts with a simple melody and moderately builds to a sentimental construction that is perfect for weddings.  It is a piece traditionally to which the bride would walk down the aisle.  It makes a great processional song for any family member as well.

Many still choose this piece for any moment in the ceremony because it is such a beautiful and well-known piece.

Spring is a wonderful and popular season for outdoor weddings.  It is like a breath of fresh air to celebrate a special occasion outside with winter gone.

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With the warmer weather comes the unpredictability of how warm, or wet, it will be.

With that, there are a few things to keep in mind because the string instruments that produce such beautiful music require delicate care, and inappropriate weather can damage the costly instruments.

Plan for a day that will be above 60 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny.  Humidity can cause the pretty wood to crack and render the instruments useless, so be sure to find a ceremony location that has plenty of shade, not only for the musicians but to accommodate guests as well.

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Just in case, have a back-up plan with tents or an indoor location if the weather seems likely to change at a moment’s notice.

The musicians need to take care of their precious instruments so they can make the wedding day one to never forget!

Antonio Vivaldi was a Baroque-period composer from Venice, Italy who piece titled “Le quattro stagioni” or “The Four Seasons” and published it in 1725.  It is a four-part work with a concerto for each season of the year.

The most popular season chosen for wedding ceremonies is “Spring,” which is, incidentally enough, the same season that is most popular for weddings, making it a perfect fit for a live quartet to play it at weddings.

The piece starts lively and keeps the listener entertained throughout with new melodies and harmonies.  It is traditionally a song for the processional of members of the bridal party, and even the bride herself.

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There is no better way to keep a spring wedding ceremony lively than with a little Vivaldi!

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