I love New York, and I love doing parties in the incredible locations that Manhattan has to offer. From the grandeur of the stately hotels, to the striking venues that have been transformed from banks and churches, to chic and striking lofts and rooftops, New York has much to sing about. It is so special for me to perform at the Plaza Hotel, as I started my career there many years ago and have performed for countless weddings, charity galas and other parties, each one unique and breathtaking. We love adding music to each different segment of a wedding, starting with the area where guests first arrive. Music can and should be considered part of the design element, and is instrumental in setting the tone for the entire evening. For the wedding last Saturday night, we began playing as guests congregated in the foyer of the Terrace Room. Our harp, flute and bass delivered a medley of love songs in the style of Cole Porter and George Gershwin, until the Terrace Room doors opened.
With the addition of violins, the music for the wedding ceremony consisted of classical selections from Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto and Handel’s Water Music, with the bride and her father processing to Craig Armstrong’s “PM Love Theme” from the Movie “Love Actually”.
While we opened the ballroom with Starlight’s 17 piece band playing Big Band music, the first dance was Frank Sinatra’s arrangement of “Just The Way You Look Tonight”. Once everyone joined the bride and groom on the dance-floor , we revved it up and rocked out for the rest of the night combining Motown favorites with extremely contemporary selections from the Billboard Dance/Club Play chart. I knew this was going to be a great party, but I must admit to being surprised at how hot this crowd got, and how much intensity they inspired in my band. Of course, it is an ongoing cycle; the band brings an energy that encourages the crowd, and then the crowd gets excited, which kicks the heat up, and then the band instinctively gives more. The crowd feels this passion and responds with increased elation. On certain magical evenings this cycle just keeps accelerating, raising the level of performance AND the party to new heights, creating an experience which, in some way, moves and transforms us all. The wedding of Alexandra Linden to John Belletti at the Plaza Hotel was one such evening. Even the parents of the bride, Josephine and Tom Linden, were struck by the same thing, and wrote to me…
“Valerie, I knew that Alexandra and John’s wedding was going to be special – but never, did it realize the heights you were going bring the evening to – it was FABULOUS – like going to a concert in the garden. You are such a special friend to the Lindens – and such a talent. Our guests so enjoyed the evening – and when they talk about it – the first thing they mention is the orchestra. John and Alexandra tell me that the first person they saw after being actually married was you serenading them on your guitar – a moment they will never forget
Thank you, thank you and thank you
Now we need to get together one night and cook together – it would be a blast!
and from the Director of Catering at the Plaza.
“You guys were awesome.
Really amazing and the Lindens were thrilled.
and from me…
“Dear Josephine and Tom,
Wow, what a night! Thank you for your most wonderful notes. I too was blown away by the energy in the room last Saturday night! I think we all impressed ourselves! Thank you again for all the confidence you have had in me throughout the years. I recognize that it is your confidence, trust and vision that gives me the forum to present my brand of music and entertainment. I know that there are extra needs and budget we have in order to present this unusual ensemble, and I thank you for giving us the tools needed to make it happen!
As always, it is a privilege and a pleasure to be a part of your family’s happiest times and celebrations.
Much love to the Lindens (and now the Bellettis ) from the Starlight family!