Not just your typical wedding bands

Once the dress has been chosen, the guest list has been made, and the bride and mother have officially lost their minds with planning, one last, final step still exists to make the perfect wedding: the wedding band.

Some couples decide to give up and hire a disc jockey, which is fine , but can somewhat destroy the sophistication of the whole affair. Also, there is always the hazard that this DJ may accidentally forget to remove his Slayer or Megadeth from the turntable, and a grandmother-in-law might get a nasty jolt. A live band is really the way to do it right, but whom should you hire?

Unless you’re looking for the Adam Sandler wedding singer with a curly mullet and powder blue tux with frills singing “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?”, accepting the first offer from your cousin may not be the best choice. You’re going to have to do some research, which means going out to clubs that feature you and your spouse’s favorite style of music. The Rock River Times’ Quarterly Musicians’ Directory is also a great tool (a special edition of the Quarterly Musicians’ Directory is listed below and continues on the corresponding page).

Some groups and performers that are universal crowd pleasers and Rockfordians have easy access to are Dan Voll and Combo Loco, Boulas, Jodi Beach and the array of area jazz bands.

Combo Loco features Latin and Afro-Caribbean music that is easy on the ears and encourages dancing; a good ice breaker for recently met relatives-in-law. They sound just as good outdoors as inside and are perfect for a summer wedding. E-mail

Boulas (Doug Furze and company) offers blues and folky rock ‘n’ roll, and has a lot of tunes on their roster that family members of every age will recognize. Furze has a good stage presence and keeps the evening rolling. You can call Furze at 399-9067.

Jodi Beach has a sweet, smooth voice and typically plays the wide spectrum of cocktail jazz. A good piano player and a recent RAMI Award winner, her trio plays regularly at Cliffbreakers and other local venues. Call Jodi at 961-1183 to book your wedding. Also, if jazz is the theme, you can call the Rockford Jazz Society for a slew of numbers and names of this town’s best: 226-8844.

For my sister’s wedding, we chose a perennial local favorite, Carl Cole. He’s really the perfect man for the job, in my opinion, as he arranged a great group of musicians without any check-backs or questions. We put it in his hands, and he provided an evening of nostalgic vocal jazz, terrific piano playing and great arrangements. It also helped that he had ever-busy Matt Ulery on bass, and the fabulous Jonathan Marks on drums. Another good suggestion is to request Diana Cole, his wife, to join him as her voice is one of the most soulful sounds in town. His contact information is 227-6204.

Whatever kind of style your wedding is, this town can provide the best musicians to fit your needs. Why worry about that aspect? Give the above-mentioned artists a call and focus on the rest of the planning.

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