Solo Musicians

First things first – Having professional credentials as a musician does not always mean that a particular artist has the sound of a great soloist. A soloist is totally exposed, so having a great sound matters. Our task is to solve this problem for you. Weighing the strengths and weaknesses of Local Artists is what we do really well.

In addition to choosing the right artist, let’s be sure that a soloist fits your needs. Consider your venue and its acoustics, as this will play a large role in determining how a solo musician’s sound will project. A church can serve as our example. With tall ceilings, a church should have pretty decent acoustics, and could be a great venue choice for a soloist.

This leads us to one other consideration though — Guest Count.

An empty church will sound very different than a church filled with 200 guests. Imagine the kind of repertoire you’d like performed. Also imagine if guests are talking while music is being played, or if it will be more of a concert environment. The prelude half hour just prior to a wedding ceremony, for example, can go either way. Sometimes guests trickle in and talk amongst themselves. The sound of chatter, in a high acoustic space, can oftentimes swallow a soloist’s sound whole. Many times though, the guests will recognize the beauty and quality of a soloist, and the space will become akin to a concert setting. So, having a soloists is a good idea for more intimate events with smaller numbers of guests, or in a venue with great acoustics.

More Specific Details on Popular Solo Instruments Below.

Popular Soloists: Some Considerations

  • Violin – Higher pitch, means the tone is thinner than, say, the cello, but solo violin can cut through most background noise, including some light chatter. Repertoire selection for violin is usually quite wide in the classical realm, and can include some more melodic pop and jazz covers too. Some solo violinists can also stroll, meaning they can walk around a bit.
  • Cello – A syrupy tone, the cello’s pitch range is similar to that of both the male and female human voice. This gives the cello a very personal and intimate flavor, one that pairs extremely well with small wedding ceremonies, as well as events at an art gallery, where a limited number of guests rotate through several rooms only to discover the cellist along the way.
  • Guitar – Everyone plays guitar, right? Well even so, choosing an exceptional guitarist can create a unique experience. The instrument has some key advantages as well. For a ceremony you may be picking a soloist for only 30 guests, or perhaps because it fits your budget. You may also want to have the soloist continue on for a couple of hours during cocktails and dinner – more bang for your buck! Guitar is well suited in this case. With the right solo guitarist, you can have the refined classical guitar (unplugged) for the ceremony, and just a little more juice (amplified) with some more upbeat genres, say jazz and pop tunes, for afterwards.
  • Piano – It is great when a piano is already provided with the venue. Hopefully, they maintain the instrument well and keep it in tune. Having a solo classical pianist, jazz pianist, or musician that can do a mix, can be a great option for background music whether in one of Charleston’s historic venues, or in a private home.
  • Bagpipes – Solo bagpipes can be the entire show, or can serve to add a unique flavor, welcoming guests at the front of a venue or church while another ensemble or musician plays inside or on the other side of the property. This is a popular combination for wedding ceremonies. Bagpipes stand out front and play prelude music for arriving guests, while strings play prelude music inside the church, or on the lawn at the backside of the property. Bagpipes can then add a really nice festive contrast for the bride’s entrance, or even better, the recessional (exit). Lastly, do take advantage and have your piper walk guests from the ceremony site to the cocktail hour site, that is, if it’s close by.
  • Trumpet – For weddings, adding brass to highlight the bride’s entrance and exit, is unrivaled in garnishing the festivities with royal flare. A trumpet is usually paired with a string ensemble, or the organ.
  • Voice – Having a tenor or soprano sing a selection or two at a wedding ceremony is a good option. Let’s just be sure you have the right soloist for the job. We typically recommend that a vocal selection during the ceremony be sung a cappella, meaning just voice and no accompaniment. This allows for a poignant contrast to any other music you may have had during the prelude or for processional entrances.
  • Harp – When the harp is a viable option, it’s a stunning choice both visually and musically. That said, it’s a large instrument to transport and as you can image, lugging a harp across a field for an outdoor event may not be ideal. Harp is ideal for very formal events and in more of a concert setting, where the music and traditional atmosphere can be fully appreciated.

With much to consider, talk to us. We’re here to help. Contact Us

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Andrew Mille
Andrew Mille

Andrew is a classically trained cellist and manages Charleston Entertainment. He is a South Carolina native of Franco/American heritage, married to Arlene Marie Felipe. When not performing and coordinating events, Andrew also runs Charleston Social F.C., a pickup soccer club that plays daily.