Frequently Asked Questions
How does the booking process work?
Once we get your inquiry, we will begin an email discussion to gather all the required details and important desires for your event. Then, we figure out which package fits your event and create a custom quote for your event specifically. Once agreed upon, we draw up a contract for all parties to sign. Payment installments are easy to keep track of and detailed clearly in our contract. Lastly, we need your music selections so that we can learn and perform your favorite songs for the big day!
We have a rather extensive song list for you to choose your music from and many audio examples to aid in the decision-making process. We are always happy to assist in the process as well. We know you'll find songs that you love on our list!
The booking process in bullet points:
Package / Rates
Contract / Deposit
2 Payment Installments
Final Details / Finishing Touches
And that's about it! Booking is always very easy and streamlined with us!
What ensemble options do you offer?
Currently, these are the instrumentation options we can offer:
• Solo Violin
• Solo Cello
• Solo Piano
• Solo Guitar
• Solo Harp
• Duet (violin, cello)
• Duet (violin, violin)
• Duet (piano, cello)
• Duet (piano, violin)
• Duet (violin, guitar)
• Duet (cello, guitar)
• Duet (violin, harp)
• Trio (2 violins, 1 cello)
• Trio (1 violin, 1 viola, 1 cello)
• Trio (2 violins, piano)
• Trio (violin, cello, piano)
• Trio (2 violins, guitar)
• Trio (violin, cello, guitar)
• String Quartet
If there is a request for more musicians (a quartet or larger) or different instrumentation other than what is listed above,
a special inquiry will need to be made to discuss these options.
By far our most popular and frequently requested instrumentation is Violin and Cello Duet, however, String Quartet is a very close second! Both of these ensemble choices offer a balanced sound and the most song selection options.
How do I pick songs for my event?
Upon booking with us, we invite you to make your music selections from our complete extensive Songlist (or download a copy). We guarantee that you'll find the music you love on our list! We are also available to assist in the music selection process if you may want guidance or recommendations, we are happy to help!
ONCE YOU'VE PICKED YOUR SONGS
Simply send us an email - ChicagoStreetStrings@gmail.com with a list of your song requests (and which part of the ceremony you'd like each one played). We will need your song picks at least 1 month prior to the event to make sure they're prepared and practiced thoroughly. We also provide a convenient song selection checklist that can help to organize your music selections for both ceremony and/or cocktail hour.
SPECIAL MUSIC REQUEST
If you would like a song or genre that you did not find on our song list, we can typically accommodate 1 song, not on our list free of charge (as long as the song or arrangement is not drastically difficult). If 2 or more songs are requested that aren't already on our list, we will charge an extra learning fee to rehearse these special requests. If an arrangement of a song cannot be readily found, we offer song arrangement services for your selected instrumentation at a reasonable extra fee.
(Fees are based upon the difficulty of song request, usually between $20 and $60 per song).
How do I get a quote for my event?
Our pricing for most events and projects is based upon 3 main criteria:
TIME ON DUTY
We need to know all the details about your event first before we can give you a proper quote.
Contact Us at your convenience to get a custom quote for your upcoming event.
Will there be any travel expenses?
We typically charge an extra travel fee if a destination is 25+ miles away from the Chicago-land area. A travel fee of roughly $1 per mile per musician is applied for destinations that are 25+ miles away from the city. If your event is even further, covering travel and hotel expenses would be expected. Please contact us to discuss details like this further.
If parking is not free or easily accessible at your venue, we ask that the client be responsible for all parking costs for the musicians (be it metered parking, parking garage, valet, etc.) and we request that any parking details or instructions be distributed at least 1 week before the event date.
How do you accept payment?
We accept payments via Venmo, Zelle, or Paypal. We do not accept personal check payments. All payments will be made to the music contractor (Hannah K Watson) and then distributed accordingly. Typically, payments are made as follows:
Deposit payment (upon signing of the contract), then 2 separate payment installments of the agreed-upon rate.
When these payments are due is detailed in our contract.
Do you require a deposit?
Yes, generally we require a small deposit (between $75 and $100) per event that goes to the music contractor which is due upon booking and once all parties have read, agreed to, and signed the contract. The music contractor takes care of all music-related items, organizing the proper charts (sheet music) for all musicians and ensuring that they have all pertinent event details and information. Deposit payments can be made easiest via electronic methods like Venmo, Zelle, and Apple Pay. If you don't know where to send your deposit, please email us to get our current preferred methods of payment.
What if I need to cancel my booking?
Below is our Cancelation Clause as stated in our standard contract -
Cancellation Clause - In the case of an event cancelation occurring less than 2 months prior to the event, the non-refundable deposit will not be returned to the client. Any other payments that were made to us will be refunded back to the client. If the event is canceled by the client or act of God within 48 hours of time on duty, 100% of the contract payment is required to be paid to all artist(s) involved.
Are there any fees for events running late or overtime?
We are not strict down to the minute, so if an event runs a few minutes over (no more than 15 minutes), no big deal. If an event is running 30 minutes over the contracted time, a $35 per first half-hour (or $75 per each hour of overtime) extra rate per musician will be charged. We do this because many of our musicians work multiple events in one day, staying on time is essential if musicians have other places to be.
What do you require in terms of space and equipment?
We don't require much room! We just ask that we aren't located in the middle of a busy crowded area. We need enough space to play our instruments at a comfortable distance from each other, as well as listeners so that no one is running into our bow arms, or tripping over our music stands. Typically a space roughly 6 - 8 feet should work well for us.
We request that chairs be provided for each performer hired, preferably set up in the location of performance so that the musicians know where to set up for the event. Musicians will also bring their own music stands unless music stand(s) may be provided by the venue. It is also helpful to know of any secure designated area for the musicians to stash their personal belongings (cases, purses, other bags, etc.) beforehand to keep the performance area tidy.
Typically amplification is not necessary unless the wedding or cocktail hour is unusually large, or it is expected to be rather noisy, however, amplification can be brought for an extra fee of $50 per performer. In this case, performers would require electricity to power their amps.
Should you be at the wedding rehearsal?
Our musicians are highly experienced, all having played in many types of wedding ceremonies and always come ready to play and very prepared. On the day of the wedding, our musicians will arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the "performance start time" (if not earlier!) for parking, load-in, and setting up in the proper location. This is also an opportunity for the musician(s) to find a wedding coordinator or "Day-of Person of Contact" to discuss necessary cues during the ceremony and otherwise. Because of these reasons, it is not essential that the musicians attend the dress rehearsal.
However, if this is important to you, we can do our best to attend a ceremony rehearsal if our schedules allow and will require a $75 expenses fee per performer to attend a wedding rehearsal.
Outdoor events and their stipulations.
String instruments, in particular, are extremely valuable and are susceptible to damage when exposed to certain climatic variations, such as rain, direct sunlight, and temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, the musicians must be provided with shelter from rain and direct sunlight in the case of an outdoor event. There must be no precipitation, and the temperature must be no lower than 60 degrees and no higher than 85 degrees, with no high winds or other weather variables. We ask that these precautions be taken care of before the day of the event in the case of unfavorable weather conditions. We cannot guarantee the continuation of a performance in the case of inclement weather, improper coverage or precautions, and extreme heat or cold.
What is your dress code for events?
All performers will dress in what is commonly referred to in the music world as "Concert Black" which means dressy black professional attire. If you would like us to wear something otherwise, please contact us about your requests upon booking and we can discuss the possibilities.
Do the musicians need breaks?
Typically, we require a 10-minute break per hour if the event is 2 hours or longer. This does not apply to wedding ceremonies.