Browsing Tag

party band

Wedding Bands

Spotlight: Meet Stefan Poole

April 17, 2018

As we dive into the 2018 wedding season, we want to take a moment to introduce the latest addition to the Ben Mallare Events & Entertainment team, Stefan Poole!

While Stefan is new to BME&E, he’s a seasoned vocalist, band leader, and emcee with a world of experience under his belt. Raised between Italy and the US, Stefan has taken his voice around the world, performing with renowned acts like Andy Grammer, Jack & Jack, and Bridgit Mendler.

Stefan’s influences include legends like Prince, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. Our couples and clients are drawn to his radiating youthful energy that allows guests to fall in love with the classics all over again. As a versatile singer, Stefan can moves effortlessly between old and new, mixing Bruno Mars next to Bob Marley, and Justin Timberlake alongside Frank Sinatra. For Stefan, it’s all about connecting with the audience using the universal language of music.

   Be sure to check out his performance reel below, and get in touch with us today to book the Stefan Poole Band for your big day!

Written by Symeon Tzvetkov.

Parties!, Venues

Allstate Rocks the Revolution with MJ and Ben Mallare’s 11-Piece Party Band

March 15, 2018

Last month, we were pleased to bring our full 11-piece show band to the magnificent Palm Springs Convention Center for Allstate’s “Rock the Revolution” party. Attended by nearly 200 employees, the party took place in the ornate Primrose Ballroom, where guests were treated to a exquisite buffet spread, before settling in for a Grammy-style awards ceremony commemorating their workplace achievements. The celebration then commenced as a Michael Jackson impressionist took to the dance floor to our own MJ medley, starting with “Billie Jean”, “The Way You Make Me Feel”, and “PYT”.

The King of Pop then invited the guests to join in on the fun, kicking off a dance competition, where guests shook it loose for a chance at some prizes.

As the evening continued, our signature 10-piece band kept the floor alive and grooving with party hits old and new, from Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” to hip-hop cuts like Bruno Mars’ “Finesse” and 2Pac’s “California Love”, led by one of our lead singers, Evan Saucedo.

All in all, it was a night of smooth grooves and high spirits not to be forgotten any time soon. We look forward to our next occasion celebrating with Allstate!

All photos courtesy of Josh Owens Photography.

Article written by Symeon Tzvetkov.

Couples' FAQ, Weddings

5 Reasons You Need a Killer Emcee At Your Wedding Reception.

February 21, 2017

I love attending weddings almost as much as I love performing at them. I love the details in the decor, the carefully coordinated bridesmaid and groomsmen outfits, the beautiful and always unique wedding cake. It’s a celebration of a lifetime, and couples spend hard-earned cash to ensure it’s simply the best evening ever! But when the big day comes, there will be changes for which you couldn’t possibly plan. So, unless you’re planning to stand on a milk crate and yell for your guests to line up for an impromptu sparkler exit, you’re going to want a killer emcee and a versatile wedding band to tie the whole event together. Here are five reasons why:

1. A Master of Ceremonies is a Master Coordinator

A couple weeks ago, I attended a party at which nobody seemed to have a clue what was going on. The guest of honor was never introduced, it took about a half hour for word to get around that it was time to sit down for dinner, and the few special moments that were planned were botched because the people needed weren’t in the room when their music started. The DJ played great music, we all danced, but Judi’s special moment seemed to get lost in the mix. A solid emcee will have done his homework before anyone ever enters the room. He or she will have the tentative timetable, the names of everybody being introduced, all the special music lined up and ready to go, and most importantly, the microphone! Your emcee will be the one instructing guests what to do, making sure everybody’s paying attention when they need to be.

2. Not Everything Will Go As Planned

Most couples don’t anticipate this, of course, because they’ve never planned a wedding before. Sharing a written schedule with your vendors will only serve as a guide for how you’d like the evening to go. Every room is different, every crowd is different, and there are any number of things that can and will go awry on the day of the event. If you have an emcee to anticipate and navigate through these changes, you probably won’t even notice. But if nobody has this role, or if your emcee can’t adapt and lead effectively, you better believe that your guests will notice something’s up (or should I say, DOWN!)

BME&E Santa Barbara September 2016 3

3. You’re Going To Have Last Minute Requests

A special toast that wasn’t included in your original notes. A dance with Grandma that was previously scratched. A group photo that your maid of honor just reminded you to take. Are you going to walk around and tell each of your guests to line up? Your event coordinator can help, but what you really need is a microphone, and a great communicator to convey the message. If you have a talented emcee with a band that can play special requests on the fly, all you need to do is let your emcee know what you’d like. Some of the most special moments of your big day will be the ones that nobody planned, but were still executed flawlessly.

4. Your Guests Will Remember How Elegant Your Reception Was (Or Wasn’t)

People have different thoughts here, of course. If you have a small party of 30 guests or less, there’s something to be said for an intimate gathering in which nobody’s in charge, where it all feels like a family reunion of sorts. But if you’ve got multiple groups of guests who don’t know each other, that’s not going to work. You’ll want to create an ambience in which everybody can be involved without feeling awkward. The solution: an emcee that can turn your room into an upscale affair with an elegant touch. You’ll want somebody that can seamlessly lead from blessing to dinner, toast to first dance, cake cutting to garter toss, all without any dead space. The best reception is one in which your guests don’t have time to wonder what’s coming next. A great emcee will always be one step ahead, effortlessly leading your guests through the evening’s events.

5. All Eyes On You…

I tell my band at every event: whatever you do, don’t embarrass the bride! Imagine this: you’ve been summoned to the dance floor for your first dance, you’re standing in the center of the room with every eye on you, but your music is nowhere to be found. You’re indeed a blushing bride, but not for the right reason! OK, stop imagining. This is NOT happening at your wedding! A great emcee has one person on his mind: Y-O-U. Your professional wants to make sure you feel special every step of the way, and understands how scary it is to stand in the middle of a dance floor while all your loved ones look on. Before you book your wedding entertainment, read the reviews from couples who have worked with that band or DJ before. Did the bride gush about how the emcee made her feel like the most special person in the room? If not…keep looking!

 

655dce83-93e7-46ec-b102-95d289770471-rs_200.200.fit

Ben Mallare

An Annapolis, Maryland native, Ben Mallare has provided live musical entertainment for hundreds of couples, families and companies since 2012. Ben Mallare Events & Entertainment is a full-service private events entertainment agency with over 35 musicians performing 75 weddings and events each year. The company is a natural result of Ben’s aptitude for musical performance combined with his deep love of personal service. Ben currently lives in Glendale, California and anxiously looks forward to the new brides and grooms he’ll get to meet in the coming year!

Looking for unique, live musical entertainment that will fit both your vision and your budget? Get a quick quote from Ben at www.benmallare.com.

Song Selections, Weddings

Top 10 Wedding Reception Party Songs – July 2016

July 13, 2016

Photo: Miki Vargas Photography // @mikivargasphoto

Anybody who has ever attempted an “iPod Wedding” will readily tell you, there’s more to throwing an awesome dance party than just playing whatever songs you like to listen to in your car. It’s not even just playing the most popular songs on radio (imagine if your wedding band or DJ played “Hello” by Adele at your wedding). We play close to 50 weddings a year, and even we are occasionally surprised about the songs that people will or will not dance to at a wedding reception. That said, here are the top 10 songs that we guarantee will get your wedding guests up and dancing this season.

1. Uptown Funk (Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars) – A top 40 song that sounds retro. What could be better for an all-ages dance party? This song is over a year old, but it’s become ubiquitous and will get all your guests on the dance floor. It’s (more or less) appropriate for all ages, and it’s a great party starter.

2. September (Earth Wind & Fire) – You can’t go wrong with this classic. Forty years later, this song will still set off your guests’ party neurons. It’s nostalgic for older generations and fun for the younger ones. Make sure you have a horn player in your band to make this one extra special.

3. Shut Up & Dance (Walk The Moon) – One of the most popular radio songs of 2015, this is another great party starter. Guests love to sing along, and it’s a great one for those attending without a date. For couples with thing for rock & roll, this is a great current top 40 song that still has a rock feel to it.

4. Billie Jean (Michael Jackson) – We often will corral guests into a “dance-off” circle for this MJ classic. Brave souls will show off moves that you never knew they had! Make sure your photographer and videographer are nearby.

5. Blurred Lines (Robin Thicke) – Sorry, everyone. Despite all the controversy this song and its music video caused, it’s still one of the best songs to get guests shaking their tail feathers! We love to throw it in about halfway through the night after guests have had a few drinks. It’s a great way to start a second wave of dancing.

6. One Dance (Drake) – The “Blurred Lines” of 2016. Even though not all of your guests will know this tune yet, they will respond to this smooth and sexy groove only Drake can provide. It’s also a great one for later in the evening.

Photo: Miki Vargas Photography // @mikivargasphoto

Photo: Miki Vargas Photography // @mikivargasphoto

7. Shout (Isley Brothers) – Couples often ask me not to play this one. If you have a DJ, I agree. Skip it. The recording sounds super outdated and cheesy. BUT, a band will make this song the absolute highlight of the evening. We use Shout to trigger some really fun audience participation, and our home-run-of-a-finish always has guests hooting and hollering!

8. Sweet Caroline (Neil Diamond) – Some call it lame, but even the most hipster of hipsters can’t resist singing along to this chorus. Seriously, they’ll sing along to it and then shake their heads at themselves for daring to have fun. (Am I getting too personal here?) My point is: it’s a party and people are drinking and having fun. Don’t shy away from playing a song that will have everybody wrapping their arms around each other like a bunch of drunken Irishmen. Trust me, you’ll cherish the memory!

9. Wagon Wheel (Darius Rucker) – I always ask, “Where are my country fans?!” Nobody ever responds, but they DO dance once we start playing this tune. It’s a feel-good rockabilly tune that plays particularly well at barn and winery weddings.

10. Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong) – You’ll want mostly upbeat tunes at your reception, of course, but a couple slow dances thrown in the mix are essential. We love this one because it gets all the couples out on the floor, even if they haven’t danced all night. It’s often a really special moment for the couple to have another special dance with each other or with their parents.

Wanna talk shop? Planning your own wedding and need some advice? We know about wedding music and love to help! E-mail Ben at ben@benmallare.com or check us out on WeddingWire for more information.

Weddings

Stunning & Elegant: Diana & Michael Tie the Knot at Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas

April 26, 2016

A couple months ago, we had the distinct pleasure of providing the musical entertainment for Diana and Michael’s big day. The wedding was held at the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas, well known as one of the most exclusive 5-star hotels on the strip. The guests consisted of about 50 of the couple’s family and close friends, who had gathered from all over the country.

The ceremony took place in one of the ballrooms, with music provided by a small string ensemble. Guests then moved into the foyer for the cocktail hour, before heading into the larger ballroom for the reception.

After the Grand Entrance (“Best Day Of My Life” by American Authors) and first dance (“It Had To Be You” by Frank Sinatra), we took the guests on a journey of the last sixty years in popular music, playing everything from The Four Seasons to Michael Jackson to Bruno Mars. The guests ranged from 5 years old at the youngest, to mid-80s at the most seasoned! We provided a little something for everybody, finding a common ground for guests of all ages on a few universal classics, such as “Shout” by Isley Brothers “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder, and “Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. Some of our younger guests loved our medley of top 40 hits, including “Sorry” by Justin Bieber, “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars, and “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift.

All photos courtesy of Ron Dillon Photography

Band412515MO BMAELucasNickWill

Couples' FAQ, Weddings

Picking the Right Vendor: 5 Things to Find Out

May 9, 2015

Selecting the right wedding vendor can be a hectic task. There are so many options, yet you can’t find the information you need about the professionals you’re interested in. Rule of thumb: when somebody stands out to you for whatever reason, reach out to them with a few specific questions about what they do, and see where they take it from there. Here are five things you’ll want to find out about your wedding vendor:

1. Their Experience

Brides feel it leading up to the big day, and so do wedding professionals: there are so many details that go into making a one-off event like a wedding run smoothly. You’ll have your rehearsal with the wedding party, but your vendors won’t get that dry run. They are required to show up the day of the event and execute their job flawlessly, taking into account a venue they may never have been in, clients they have never worked with, and guests they’ve never served. You’ll want to verify that your vendors are as professional as they say they are, and it’s mostly just a question of time and frequency: how long they’ve been working in the wedding industry, and how many events they do a year.

2. Their Testimonials

It’s my favorite line: Nobody can describe a vendor better than somebody who has already paid for their services. You’ll want to hear first hand from past brides and other clients what their experience working with your vendor was like. Look for descriptive words and specific instances of how the vendor went out of his/her way to make the event exceptional. That’s the kind of service you want!

3. Their Attention

OK, so maybe your vendor happens to be out on an event or “on vacation” when you first make contact. That’s understandable. But generally speaking, if your vendor really cares about securing your business, he or she will get back to you in some way within 24 hours, even if it’s just to say that they received the message and will be sending more information as soon as they can. If you’re waiting days at a time between correspondence, think about how much worse it will be once the contract is actually signed. Also, don’t settle for a vendor who is only meeting some of your needs. Ask them if they can adjust their offering to fit your vision for the event. If they can’t or are unwilling, put them on the back burner and keep looking.

4. Their Talent

It’s what drew you to them in the first place. For most vendors, it should be obvious at first look whether they fit within your specific vision. But don’t be so quick to go running to a one-trick pony; be wary of vendors who only seem to excel at one style or technique. At the initial stages of picking a vendor, you might not know exactly what you want yet. You’ll want to work with somebody who can give you a variety of options, or perhaps create something entirely new based on what you work out together. The truly talented wedding professional is a flexible one who knows how to create good results with a variety of different factors.

4. Their Price Tag

Don’t be afraid to ask! Vendors love to pretend like money is an afterthought, but it really isn’t. You probably know what your budget is, and your vendor knows what he or she is worth. Don’t try to low ball a vendor just to get a good deal – ask them up front what they charge. If their price is too high, let them know what you can spend. They will either meet you at your price point, ask if you can meet somewhere in the middle, or let you know that they can’t offer services for that amount. No harm done, and most importantly – no BS!

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get the responses you want from your top choices. As you continue your vendor search, you might decide that somebody who didn’t look as appealing at first is actually a perfect fit for you. WeddingWire, GigSalad, and Borrowed & Blue are all great resources for you to contact top vendors in your area.

655dce83-93e7-46ec-b102-95d289770471-rs_200.200.fit

Ben Mallare

An Annapolis, Maryland native, Ben Mallare has provided live musical entertainment for hundreds of couples, families and companies since 2012. In 2014, Ben developed Ben Mallare Events & Entertainment into what it is today: a full-service private events entertainment agency with over 35 musicians performing 75 weddings and events each year. The company is a natural result of Ben’s aptitude for musical performance combined with a deep love of personal service. Ben currently lives in Glendale, California and most looks forward to the new brides and grooms he’ll get to meet in the coming year.

Looking for unique, live musical entertainment that will fit both your vision and your budget? Get a quick quote from Ben at www.benmallare.com.

Venues, Weddings

Top 5 Most Breathtaking Destinations & Venues in California for 2015

April 22, 2015

At my company, we offer bands and ensembles consisting of between two and five members each. As such, we’re able to travel all to the most remote destinations without hassle. When it comes to beautiful scenery, secluded sanctuaries and breathtaking views, you can’t beat the California coast. Here are some of our favorite destinations and venues to have your wedding here in California.

1. Big Sur // Venue: Wind & Sea Estate (photo above)

An ambiguous location in California, not bound to any one county or municipality, Big Sur sits on the northwest corner of Los Padres National Forest. Only accessible by Hwy 1, it’s noted for its high bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We joined Alex & Natalie for their wedding in May 2014 at Wind & Sea Estate. The ceremony was held down at the bluff, with the cocktail hour dispersing out amongst the grounds. The house includes a wrap-around balcony where dinner was served, and a large living room where we closed out the night with dancing until 1 in the morning!

Sea Ranch Lodge

2. Sea Ranch // Venue: Sea Ranch Lodge

Nestled a couple hours north of San Francisco, also on Hwy 1, Sea Ranch has a definite wilderness factor to it. The lodge is rustic yet fully updated; well-staffed and event-ready. The premises are rather large and allow couples to hold different portions of the evening at different locations, creating a nice arc for the evening. We celebrated with Josh & Tamara in April 2014.

Mar Vista3. Gualala // Venue: Mar Vista Cottages

An absolutely charming ranch-style camp, Mar Vista Cottages has a secret weapon that they would never let me post here. The view from the altar is unparalleled, and they want to keep it exclusive for the couples who have tied the knot there. I had to promise that the picture I took on my phone would be for my eyes only. The setup at this destination is perfect for a wedding of 20-30 guests. Cottages surround the center gathering area, where guests can retreat for the evening. It’s definitely a “gather around the fire” atmosphere up here.

ledson_winery_21

4. Kenwood // Venue: Ledson Winery & Vineyards

Having a wedding at a castle speaks for itself. Add in your own design decisions as you wish, but there’s only accessorizing to do when you have such remarkable architecture as your focal point. Nick and Megan decided to have their ceremony in the front with the fountain and front door as a backdrop. Guests then moved through the castle to the courtyard, where dinner took place.

santabarbarababeachclub

5. Santa Barbara // Venue: Santa Barbara Beach Club

Moving a little further down the coast, our favorite spot in Santa Barbara is the Beach Club, another luxury estate that is perfect for weddings of 75 guests or less. Probably the most modern on our list, this venue still has the right combination of style and soul. Hold your ceremony and cocktail hour out on the deck, and move the party into the living room, where you’ll find there’s just enough space to fit a top-notch acoustic band.

As always, we are your first resource for entertainment at your intimate and secluded venue. Visit www.benmallareacoustic.com or call (410) 980-8370 to let us know what you have in mind.

 

Weddings

Something Old, Something New… Dana + Harry’s Hermosa Beach Wedding

February 27, 2015

Girls Dancing - Dana + Harry

It was a mix of traditional and modern at Dana + Harry’s wedding and reception. They opted for a traditional ceremony at a church, incorporating their own modern flair as the evening continued. They chose to hold their reception at the Bluewater Grill in Hermosa Beach, the downstairs of which is an upscale restaurant, while the upstairs is reserved for special events such as Dana + Harry’s. There were about 75 guests, all of whom were more than ready to celebrate! We started the evening off with Dana + Harry’s Grand Entrance (“Signed, Sealed, Delivered“), segued directly into the first dance (“Cupid’s Victim” – a special request of the bride and groom), and after dinner was served, moved into the father/daughter dance (“Blessed“).

FD Dance - Dana + HarryAs the night continued, we built the energy inviting guests onto the floor with our party medleys, playing everything from “Billie Jean” to “Blurred Lines,” playing a little bit of everything to keep the wide range of guests pleased. Dana + Harry opted for a dessert table in lieu of a traditional wedding cake, but wanted to stick with the good old fashioned bouquet toss (“Single Ladies” – yes, I sang it!), and of course the garter toss for the guys (“Let’s Get It On“).

Bouquet Toss - Dana + Harry - Carissa Woo Photography-173From there, it was a free for all dance party until every last guest was beat. The evening went on so long we had to pull out all the stops, digging into some of our more down and dirty material (“I Wanna Be Your Lover,” “Kiss,” “SexyBack,” “Hold On, We’re Goin’ Home“). It was definitely a night to remember for everyone who was there.

Read the kind words Dana had to say about her experience with us at www.weddingwire.com/benmallareacoustic.com.

 

All photographs were taken by Carissa Woo Photography, and video was shot by Calvin Williams with KMR International.