Frequently Asked Questions
AKA Everything you ever possibly wanted to know about live music for your event!
Is the band experienced?
Very experienced! The Dave Murphy Band has worked continuously for well over a decade averaging over 200 shows per year. We have performed every type of job imaginable, including countless weddings, corporate parties, dances, nightclubs, conventions, fundraisers, festivals and private parties. Our extensive experience means that you will enjoy an evening of great entertainment, secure in the knowledge that every aspect of your event will be professionally looked after.
Have you performed at our venue?
It's very likely. We have worked regularly at most of the major venues throughout the Greater Toronto Area, and chances are good that we are already familiar with the staff, layout and set up procedures of your particular venue. To see a partial list of the many venues we have performed, click here.
Do you travel?
Not very far! Except for truly exceptional circumstances, we only perform within a small radius of the Greater Toronto Area. The areas we service include the Niagara region to the south, Hamilton and Kitchener / Waterloo to the west, as far north as Orangeville and Newmarket, and as far east as Oshawa. To see a map of the area we perform in, click here.
How do I find out if you're available for our date? What is the cost?
The best way to find out if we're available for your date is to fill out our price quote form and we can usually let you know within 24 hours. If we are available on your date we will email you a detailed package containing all the information about our fees and services.
How far in advance can I book the band?
Under normal circumstances we generally book our band up to one year in advance. In many cases however we can email a price quote even if your date is more than a year away, so please be sure to check with us about events that are further in the future. If your event is less than a year away then it is a good idea to book sooner rather than later, since our calendar often fills up very quickly.
How many musicians are in the band? What instruments do they play?
Most typically we perform as a six to seven person band, and these are the only band sizes we offer for the most popular dates in the calendar. For many other dates in the year however the band size is more flexible, and in these instances a four and five piece line up of the band are also possible. Our six and seven piece bands feature a two and three piece horn section respectively and offers our biggest and fullest sound. Our five piece band includes one horn (our fabulous sax player Jim!), and for certain dates we also offer our four piece band with no horns. Every line up of the band includes band leader, keyboardist and lead vocalist Dave Murphy, as well as a guitarist, bassist and drummer. Everyone in the band sings, and thus the band has an even richer sound than many larger bands with vocalists who don't play an instrument.
Are the musicians professionals?
Unlike many bands for whom music is hobby or weekend pursuit, we are very fortunate to say that music is our full time profession and our musicians rate amongst the very finest in the business, bringing decades of professional experience to the stage. Our musical education and experience are what enable us to play the music so well, and our undiminished passion is what makes it look like so much fun. Above all we pride ourselves in our professionalism, so you can rely on our musicians to do a great job both on and off the stage.
Do you play Jewish weddings? Does the band perform horas?
Yes and yes! This is definitely one of our specialties since the band has performed at countless Jewish weddings over the years and our clients have been thrilled. We perform an upbeat hora medley when the newlyweds are first introduced into the reception as husband and wife. The hora is always a lot of fun and the length and number of songs can be suited to your taste, with some clients preferring a shorter hora and others preferring a longer hora of 30 minutes or more. Some of the horas we perform in our medley can include Mazel Tov, Hevanu Shalom, Hava Nagila, Od Yishama, Moshiach, Moshiach, Moshiach and many more. If you are the last child in your family to be married we can also honor you parents with a wonderful Mezinka. During dinner the full band performs music that is suitable both for dinner conversation and dancing between courses, and as the evening continues we shift into party mode to keep everyone dancing.
Do you perform ceremony music?
Yes we frequently perform ceremonies before the full band begins performing. Our ceremony music is performed on solo piano or a duo of piano and flute, and we perform a wide assortment of beautiful music that is very appropriate, including beautiful classical melodies and lovely arrangements of popular music. Most typically we perform music while your guests are arriving and being seated for the ceremony, as well as music for your your procession, signing (if applicable) and recession. For Jewish ceremonies we also perform all the standard traditional songs such as Erev Shel Shoshanim, Dodi Li, Jerusalem of Gold, Erev Ba and many others. Ceremonies can be performed on grand piano if your venue offers one, but we also have a specialized portable keyboard we use for ceremonies, and thus we can provide you with live ceremony music anywhere there is power nearby, including outdoors.
Can you perform live music during cocktails?
Yes we often perform live music during cocktails. For this segment we offer music on solo piano as well as a duo of piano and sax, a trio of piano / sax / bass or a quartet of piano / sax / bass and drums. During cocktails we typically play lively background music, including jazz and arrangements of pop music standards for your guests to enjoy. Here again we are happy to use a grand piano should one be available, or we can also provide our own specialized keyboard for this purpose.
What are the options for live music during dinner?
At our Jewish weddings the band plays throughout dinner with appropriate music for both conversation and dancing. At all other weddings and events the full band typically begins performing after the dinner service has concluded, and should you wish for some live music during dinner, this can range from solo piano to a duo or trio playing a nice mix of background music and popular songs, or even the full band performing music for dancing and dining.
If we are only looking for ceremony music, a solo pianist, and / or a small combo and not the full band for dancing, can we still hire you?
Unfortunately no. Although we can do a wonderful job providing ceremony music, solo piano music, or a small combo during cocktails and / or dinner, we only offer these services at events where our full band will also be performing. When you hire the full band however it is not necessary for us to perform dance music throughout your event, and occasionally our clients to hire the band to play background music for part or all of their event.
Some of my guests are musically inclined; can they perform with the band?
Definitely. We routinely play weddings for artistically inclined families and couples, and many talented guests have performed with the band over the years. But it is not necessary to be a professional musician to join us however: anyone you wish to perform is welcome, and it's always a highlight of the night when the audience gets to enjoy a fellow guest performing. Instrumentalists can usually perform on our instruments, although they are also welcome to supply their own if they prefer. Although we can make arrangements for someone to join the band on the spot, generally it's best to plan for this in advance where possible. All guests need to choose material from our band repertoire, but we have well over a thousand songs to choose from, and thus we will usually already know many songs that most guests might choose to perform. Some clients prefer not to have any guests perform with the band, and their advance wishes in this regard are always respected. But for those who would like one of their guests join us (or even the wedding couple themselves) it's always a lot of fun!
What type of music do you play?
The band performs a huge stylistic variety of popular music for dancing. To see and hear specific examples of the songs we play, have a look at our songlists. We always strive to provide music that is familiar, fun and entertaining. Above all our goal is a full dance floor for the entire evening.
The ages and tastes of our guests will vary considerably. Can you keep everyone happy?
Absolutely. We pride ourselves in being able to please everyone from the youngest cousin to the eldest grandparent. The band specializes in performing tried and true songs that appeal across cultural and generational lines. We have a great variety of upbeat party favorites, and we also know all the classic ballads. Typically at events such as weddings with a wide range in ages, we begin with songs that older guests will enjoy, and as the party heats up we add more and more modern music in the mix as well. But at all times we use a wide variety of great music to make sure guests of all ages are dancing and having fun.
Will the songs sound like the original versions by the original artists?
Yes. We approach all great songs with a reverence for their original power and magic, and feel no need to "improve" the classic hits with our own interpretations and arrangements. Between the band's attention to detail and Dave's renown ability to sound like any singer he chooses, your favorite songs will sound just the way you remember them.
Can we make requests from your songlists?
Certainly! We have a repertoire of well over a thousand songs and our clients are sent a full songlist upon booking so they can be aware of all their music options. Although there are well over 400 songs listed on our website, this is still just a portion of our entire repertoire (if you would like a copy of our full songlist in advance of booking please just email to request one). There is certainly no requirement to choose songs for the band to play, and indeed in many instances our clients just let us know their general preferences and then leave the specific song selection entirely to us, which gives you once less thing to organize. Be rest assured that clients who allow the band to choose the repertoire have incredibly successful events, since our ability to perform the right song at the right time is likely the most important skill we bring to your wedding.
That being said, many people who wish to have a live band are serious music fans, and so our clients often have many specific songs they would really love to hear. In that case all your song requests are absolutely welcome, and in this instance we ask our clients to prepare a list of all their favourite songs, and then select up to ten of these songs as their "Top 10." This lets us know which songs are the most important and helps prioritize your preferences. Your larger list can be as large as you like (although about 60 songs might be the most that would be played in a single evening). Your larger list gives us a good general idea of what you are wanting musically and we try to play as many of these requests as possible. Every single song you designate as one of your Top 10 requests will be performed for certain. Organizing your repertoire choices in this way strikes a good balance between making sure you will hear all your favourites and still allowing us to play the right song at the right time depending on whatever music your guests are best responding to at the time.
Do you perform songs that are not part of your repertoire? Do you learn new songs upon request?
With well over a thousand songs to choose from, chances are very good we already know your favourite song. We don't know every song however, and unfortunately we do not learn new songs upon request. Our repertoire is considerably larger and more diverse than most bands, and we also spend a great deal of time getting all the details of our songs right so they sound just the way you remember them. Accordingly, simply maintaining this repertoire is a very demanding task and thus we ask our clients to select from our song list to allow our musicians to focus on knowing this repertoire inside out, rather than constantly learning new songs requested by clients. Because we perform almost all the biggest hits in most genres, very typically requests for songs not already in our repertoire are for songs that are less well known, and accordingly not as useful to the band for future events. Even so, be rest assured that even if the most obscure song happens to be your personal favourite, you can definitely hear it on your wedding night: what we do in these instances is acquire a copy of the desired track and play it through our sound system during one of the band breaks, or even for your first dance right before the band begins performing.
Do you know our first dance?
Quite possibly. Our list of first dance suggestions contains a number of popular songs that couples frequently request. Even if your special song is not part of our repertoire however, you can have any song in the world by playing your first dance track through the sound system and then having the band begin immediately afterward, which is a very common practice that many couples opt for. If you would like a dance with your parent you can also select songs outside our band repertoire, although we also have a list of parents dance suggestions for you to consider that the band currently performs.
Are you a traditional wedding band?
Not at all. Indeed, we owe our popularity to the fact that so many couples wanted a band that didn't sound like a "typical wedding band." Unlike many groups, ours is a band that routinely played at the best nightclubs in the Greater Toronto Area for well over a decade. In addition to our ability to play all kinds of music that your parents and grandparents will thoroughly enjoy, when the time calls for it we can really rock, and our younger clients are always amazed at how well we can also perform the songs that they love. Over 3000 performances have given the band a reputation for superb musicianship, and unlike many bands who work less frequently, or hire freelance musicians to read sheet music all night, we know our material inside out.
Above all it is our ability to authentically perform so many musical styles that has set us apart for our enthusiastic fans and clients. Dave learned the all the rock and roll classics during a five year tenure with Ronnie Hawkins; the Dave Murphy Band's love of funk earned them an opening spot for James Brown, and Dave played the blues worldwide with the late guitar legend Jeff Healey. Dave is also fully trained as a classical pianist with an ARCT degree from the Royal Conservatory of Music. When our band plays a song we have both the ability and respect to make your favorite songs sound just the way you remember them. And unlike many bands who give you the strange sensation you are hearing a lot more music than you are actually seeing performed, our music is 100% live, played by musicians - not machines. We never enhance our music with computers, sequencers or backing tracks; we believe if you wanted to hear recorded music you would have hired a DJ. Above all we rely on great music played with passion to create an amazing evening, and we studiously endeavor to avoid the trite and cheesy - be rest assured no one will be asked to do the Chicken Dance at your wedding!
Do you play traditional music from our ethnic background?
While we have certain traditional songs like waltzes or polkas at the ready for emergency purposes, generally speaking our forte is popular music from the last sixty years, as opposed to any particular forms of cultural music (the one exception being Jewish wedding music, which we perform a great deal of as mentioned above). That said, we have played many weddings where our clients' heritage has been a major part of their celebrations. A common approach that always works really well is for our clients to provide us with their favourite ethnic music on CD which we play for you DJ style through our sound system during band breaks, and this is very successful since it provides traditional music for the families to enjoy as well as the band playing popular music, giving you the best of both worlds. On occasion, some couples have even opted to have a second band from their cultural background perform earlier in the evening, or perform alternating sets with our own band.
When does the band first arrive? Will our guests be disturbed? How long is your set up?
We always arrive at least two hours before the scheduled start time of your wedding to get all our equipment loaded in, set up, and thoroughly tested so that you can be certain our sound checks will be totally completed before the arrival of your first guests. We allow ourselves two hours just to provide plenty of time to deal with anything unexpected that might arise, but in the unlikely event that there is a very limited window of time for the band to set up, it is possible to get everything done as quickly as one hour if it is very easy to load in and set up at your venue.
Will the band be too loud?
A band that drives guests away with excessive volume can ruin an event, so we take great care to get it right. We strongly believe that our music should never overwhelm your guests, and we always strive for a volume that is just right for dancing on the dance floor, but also perfect for facilitating easy conversation away from the dance floor. Because the satisfaction of our clients is paramount, we encourage our clients to let us know exactly where they would like the volume, but since no one ever seems to say anything we must be doing something right!
How will the band be dressed?
The band takes great care to be appropriately dressed in all circumstances. Unless otherwise instructed, we perform all special events and weddings in black suits with black dress shirts to give the band a uniform and professional appearance. Please take a look through our photo gallery to see the clothes we wear at private functions.
How many breaks do you take? How long are they?
At most the band requires only two twenty minute breaks away from the stage during the entire evening. The timing of these breaks is flexible and most typically the placement of breaks can be strategically determined by the way your event actually unfolds on the night of your engagement.
What happens when the band is on break? I don't want the celebration to stop!
Your party will continue uninterrupted, because the moment we go on break we put on a great mix of DJ style dance music through our sound system that is designed to keep the dance floor packed the entire time we are offstage. This music typically includes modern Top 40 music (especially dance tracks that are more difficult for a live band to replicate), as well as other dance floor classics, so in this way your event will include the best live music and DJ style music as well.
Can we choose the music that is played during band breaks?
Absolutely. We are really good at knowing what songs to play during the breaks, so selecting music for this time is not something you need to look after unless you really want to. Regardless of whether you make any specific music requests, we always ask our clients about their general musical preferences during this time and then put together playlists based on their wishes. All that said, some couples like to select some or all of the music during the breaks, and in this case you are totally welcome to do so. During the breaks you can choose your favourite dance tracks, other music you'd like to hear, or even traditional music from your cultural background.
Do you ever add a female vocalist to the band?
No - we never perform with a female vocalist. This is one of the many ways our band does not fit the mold of a "traditional wedding band." Because of the band's great success in keeping diverse audiences dancing, the band is very busy year round, and thus a female vocalist is not a feature we have felt compelled to add to the band. During band breaks however we usually play the biggest hits featuring female vocalists through our sound system, and in this way you will still hear all your femme favourites!
Can we use a DJ in addition to the band? Is this a good idea?
You are totally welcome to use a DJ at your wedding in addition to our band, and this is something our clients occasionally do. Because we can play pretty much the same music as a DJ however, including any specific tracks you would like to hear, generally speaking most of our clients prefer to have us look after this music for them. But if you are interested in also adding what a professional DJ would bring to your event you should feel free, and in that instance our only request is for professional DJs to supply their own sound system.
What equipment does the band provide?
We provide our own full sound system and stage lighting at all our events (the only exceptions are certain venues that require the band to use their own in-house sound system, lighting and technicians and / or events where an outside A/V company is overseeing all sound and lights). Our equipment is first rate and designed to give you high fidelity at a comfortable volume, and our professional stage lighting helps make the band look great.
What are the band's power requirements?
All of our equipment uses ordinary power, so we can perform literally anywhere there are electrical outlets. Ideally we like to use two outlets on separate circuits, and we always have lots of extension cords with us to make sure we can access them.
Does the band perform outdoors?
Quite regularly, although outdoor shows require additional preparation because of the variables involved. For the success of your event in all circumstances, the band and our equipment must be protected from the elements. This includes shelter even in sunny situations so our equipment doesn't overheat, and a stage or risers in case of rain so our gear stays dry. The band requires a reliable power source, and power from an indoor source is preferable whenever possible. It is also highly advisable that your outdoor event does not violate any noise laws or curfews.
Can we use your sound system for speeches and presentations? Do you have a wireless microphone we can use?
Most major venues will provide you with a podium, microphone and in-house sound system for speeches, and this is usually your best option when it is available because a venue's sound system will typically have the sound spread throughout the room, which is best for everyone hearing speeches. That being said, there are many situations (such as outdoor events) where our own sound system is the best option, and you are always totally welcome to use our system for speeches. We always have wireless microphones available for use by our clients, and they will work anywhere in the same room that our sound system is also set up.
Does the band require a stage? How much space does the band require?
Except for outdoor events the band does not specifically require a stage, and we are perfectly happy to play on ground level. A stage or risers can be a nice touch however when they are available, and many venues have risers on site specifically for this purpose. If a stage or risers are to be used however it is very important that they contain adequate space for the band. Generally speaking a space of 12 feet deep by 16 feet wide will accommodate the full band, and whether or not you use a stage or risers, this amount space should be set aside and reserved for the band in your floor plan throughout the entire event.
Do we need to meet personally to plan our event? Do you need to see our venue?
It will not to be necessary to meet personally as we do all of our coordinating with our clients and venues via telephone and email. We have organized literally thousands of events this way without a hitch, and we always spend a great amount of time in consultation with our clients and venues to make sure every detail has been meticulously planned and organized. Should you wish you are always welcome to drop by any of our public performances and discuss your event with us during one of the band breaks.
Where is the best place we can come to see the band perform live?
The place where all our clients come to hear the band is the Orbit Room in downtown Toronto where we perform most Friday nights when we are not otherwise engaged at a private event. If you confirm by email you would like to see the band we can reserve you a table and leave your names on the guest list. Our Friday performances begin at 10:30 pm and during our break I can join you to discuss your event in further detail and answer any questions you may have. You can also hear the band perform by listening to the audio samples on the songlist pages of our website. All audio samples are live recordings of the band, and there are samples for every genre so you can hear us play the full range of styles we perform. But seeing the band perform live is the best by far, and our clients always get very excited about their own events once they see the band perform in person.
Can we see you perform at a wedding or other private event?
Unfortunately not. Out of respect for our client's privacy it has always been our policy not to ask if we can bring other potential clients to their events.
Once I confirm, how can I be certain you will be at our event?
With well over 3000 performances under our belts, we are proud to say we have never missed a show for any reason, and once you have signed the contract you can be absolutely certain we will be there. Musicians are self employed and thus it is exceedingly rare for anyone to miss a show for any reason, but should any emergency situation arise we have highly qualified alternate musicians who perform with us regularly and know our repertoire. Although it would appear obvious, we should mention that every Dave Murphy Band performance includes Dave Murphy leading the band, and we would never send an alternate band working under our business name, which is actually not an uncommon practice in this industry.
Do we need to decide what services we would like, such as ceremony music or cocktail music, or select our final band size, or confirm our event schedule when we first book the band?
No. If you have already made a firm decision regarding any of these options you can let us know upon booking, but you are also totally welcome to leave these decisions for later, since these sorts of details don't need to be confirmed until shortly before your event. All you need to do is confirm you would like us to perform for you and you can be certain we will be there to do a great job.
I would like to book the band - what is the next step?
If you would like to book the band, simply email (or phone) with your contact information and let us know you would like to confirm. Shortly afterwards we will contact you by phone to double check some details, after which we mail a simple contract that you sign and mail back along with a $200 deposit, and then your date will be totally locked in for yourself.
Why should I have live music at my event?
Because music makes the party, and a great band will really make it a party to remember. Rather than a DJ, live music makes any special event truly special, and will make your wedding as unique as it deserves to be.
Can you answer my question that's not on this list?
I'd be happy to. If you have any additional questions or would like further explanation of any item above, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 905 845-7444 and I'll look forward to addressing your questions. Thanks again for considering our band for your event.