Frequently Asked Questions
“Having personally performed at over one thousand catered affairs over
the past two decades, as both a side-man and bandleader, you can be sure that
Bills Toupee will make you
comfortable and confident that you've hired the best!”
How many breaks does the band usually take during a four-hour reception?
— Mike Mindel, Bandleader
The timing of how and when the caterer wants to serve courses will ultimately determine when the band breaks. We try to only break around the two natural breaks during a 4 hour reception- when the hot entree is served and after you've cut your cake when dessert and coffee is served. A remark we've heard more than once from caterers and photographers is: "You guys finish your first set when most bands are taking their second break." We try to play continuously until your hot entree is served. This can be up to an hour and forty-five minutes into the reception.
Will the band provide continuous music?
Yes. During the dinner break we will provide background music via ipod and we'd be happy to personalize our mixes to accommodate your tastes. During the dessert and coffee break we will provide anything from quiet background music to professional DJ dance mixes, depending on what is best at the moment. The band will not perform continuously nor do we think it's a good idea. All receptions have an ebb and flow and it's the sensibilities of the band to determine what's best for the moment. Sometimes it's to play, sometimes it's to press play. And some songs are best left to the recording.
Can music be provided for our ceremony and cocktail hour?
Yes, below is the list of available choices. In addition, we have a battery powered sound system available for rental at sites where electric power is not available.
Solo keyboard (piano)
This is the most common choice. Our keyboardist has performed at hundreds of successful ceremonies and cocktail hours and would be happy to play his repertoire for you over the phone if you'd like.
Our guitar player is also a classically trained violinist and can play either or both instruments.
String trio or quartet
We have a close working relationship with many of the area's top groups.
Horn trio or quartet
Players are from the area's top performing orchestras.
Jazz duo, trio or quartet
For cocktail hour.
For cocktail hour, ceremony, or alternating between band sets.
If other instrumentation is desired, such as a vocalist, harpist, flutist, or bagpipes, we will be happy to arrange that as well.
Who does the emceeing and coordination between the caterer, band, photographer, and videographer?
We do. You've no doubt spent a lot of time planning and organizing your reception over the last year. Your only job that day should be to relax and be in the moment. Leave all the logistics to us and feel assured that everything will run smoothly, as planned.
What does the band wear?
Unless otherwise requested, for all formal affairs the band typically wears black suits with various colored shirts. The female vocalist wears formal attire. For more casual private parties, we typically wear solid black attire.
When does the band setup?
The band's set-up personnel arrive two hours prior to our start time. Other arrangements can be made if necessary. It typically takes about an hour and fifteen minutes to pack up at the end of the engagement.
How much space does the band need?
Different configurations of your room set-up may warrant otherwise, but we'll present best with an area approximately 23' across by 10' deep. We will be happy to coordinate with the caterer to determine what is best for your reception. We have played in much smaller areas too.
How are payments made?
The contract is emailed to you and the signed contract is mailed back to us along with a $2,000.00 deposit. This secures your date. Balance of payment is due prior to your event date. Gratuities are payable directly to the bandleader. Over-time rates, if applicable, will be at predetermined pricing in your contract. Other payment schedules may be arranged, upon request. Payments are made by personal check or cash.
Are the musicians that appear on your `BAND' page the ones who will perform at my party?
Yes. Unlike many bands, we do not use substitute musicians. The players you see on our site are the ones that play at your event. Our vocals and musical arrangements would not sound the same with anyone else. This is big distinction between Bill's Toupee and many other bands.
What if we want to add horns?
Although we do the vast majority of our shows as a five-piece band, we do maintain a database of top session players. Saxophone is the most common choice for an additional player.
Should the size of my party determine the size of the band?
With the exception of a small combo for small parties (under 30 people), the size of the band should not be related to the size of the party. What is important is that the band plays the right music at the right volume for the room.