Although the information and questions here have a slight emphasis on weddings,
Click on a question to get the information you are seeking:
Should I hire a band or a DJ?
With a DJ, your guests will experience looking at someone behind a table draped in black (with maybe even some business advertising on), playing the same songs that sound exactly the same as they did at your friend’s wedding because they’re the same recordings. Add to that cheesy lights trying to look like a nightclub that your friends go to on an ordinary Friday night. Welcome to the world of “sameness”.
Instead of a UNIQUE wedding unlike any your friends or family have attended, your spectacular reception has just turned into another “me too” wedding.
Your wedding is unique and you deserve special treatment. We don’t duplicate from one wedding to the next. We create REAL music, played by REAL people, using REAL instruments resulting in REAL entertainment. Our music is created in real time. It will never be duplicated again – ever – anyplace.
When should I book my band?
The moment you have a date, you should FIRST book your location and your band, in no particular order. When the location of your dreams is booked, it is booked.
Bands are the same way. They are unique; they can only serve one client at a time. When they’re booked, they’re gone. Too many brides wait to book a band only to find they were booked by someone else a week earlier
Then book your photographer. Even though they’re very limited in numbers, there are more talented photographers than there are bands.
Everything else can follow. There is virtually an unlimited ability to supply the other services.
How far in advance are you booked?
We typically booked 1 to 2 years in advance. Occasionally, even further out.
However, that does not mean that we would not necessarily be available on short notice.
You’ll never know unless you ask.
Should I book direct or through an agency?
Agencies/agents are in business for one reason – to make money. This agency makes a lot of money NOT performing music at your wedding reception. A typical entertainment agency adds a 15% – 25% commission fee to the price of the band.
The agency also adds a layer of insulation between you and the performers. Usually, only after you’ve booked your music will you get to meet that all important person you’ll be working with. Often, a band that is booked through an agency shows up on the day of the performance with little or no clue as to what is about to take place.
If you want to save 15% – 25% on your cost for music AND get personalized service, book and communicate ONLY with the leader of the band directly.
How do I select the right size band?
The SIZE (number of musicians) of the band has very little, if anything, to do with the volume of the band, or the amount of space needed, or the number of people in attendance.
SIZE has nothing to do with VOLUME. One of the things that we excel at is our volume control and dynamics. My bands play with a wide dynamic range so the music is interesting has meaning. I keep the music at a level that makes conversation not only possible, but enjoyable. Many times we have people seated at tables directly in front of my big band carrying on conversations without having to ask us to turn down our volume.
SIZE has nothing to do with SPACE. Our Big Band has played in many venues only intended for 3 or 4 musicians. It is the first 4 instruments that take up the bulk of the room: the drums, keyboard, guitar, and bass. After that it’s only a matter of adding chairs. The Bill Sargent Big Band has played some of the smallest rooms imaginable; rooms you would look at and say “There’s no way you’ll ever get a big band in here, or even a large band.” But, we do and we get rave reviews.
SIZE has nothing to do with NUMBER OF GUESTS in attendance. REMEMBER – the music you HEAR is what you are hiring a band for. What you or your guests HEAR does NOT change due to the number of people who are in attendance. The band still sounds the same whether there are 40 people or 250 people. The Bill Sargent Big Band has performed for weddings as small as 40 people, and they totally loved it. The guests in attendance at that particular wedding felt truly special knowing someone cared enough to give them the best.
The reason why a big band exists is because it sounds better than a small band. Every time you add another instrument it adds another layer, another voice, harmony, and texture to the sound. It makes the music more beautiful, more interesting and awesome. It is a higher quality experience.
The point here is very simple. Make your decision based on what YOU want to hear and see, NOT based on the size of the room or the number of people in attendance. If you want a small group of musicians and that is the sound you want, then that is what you should get. If you want a large group of musicians then there is no need to compromise.
Do you have a list of songs?
I do not maintain a song list. Here is what I found works better:
I have my clients make a list of their favorite songs. Then, from my vast library, I include as many of those songs and come as close to that list as possible.
Special note: Beware of bands that post super huge song lists designed to impress. In many cases, the actually don’t know or cannot play all the songs they list. Also, remember, on a typical evening, a band is only going to have time to perform 40-45 songs.
What if we want a special song played?
If I have it in my vast library, we’ll be happy to make that happen.
If it’s not in my library, for a nominal fee, I’d be willing to make that happen.
If it’s not in my library OR it would not be well-suited, or inappropriate (think Justin Beiber, Miley Cyrus, or Pit Bull), for our band, you can burn it to disc and I’ll be happy to play it through my professional sound system.
In fact, if you wish, you may burn to disc songs of your choice and I’ll be happy to play those through my professional sound system during our breaks. That way you get the best of both worlds; a fantastic live band to totally impress your guests, AND a DJ without all the talking and obnoxious personality. A true win-win!
Do you take breaks? If so, how many and how long?
We typically play 45 minutes on and 15 minute break (industry standard). Occasionally I’ll get carried away and play a longer set, in which case we’ll take a 20 minute break.
There are exceptions made for concerts and special programming needs.
Can we have music during your breaks?
If you wish, you may burn to disc songs of your choice and I’ll be happy to play those through my professional sound system during our breaks.
That way you get the best of both worlds; a fantastic live band to totally impress your guests, AND a DJ without obnoxious personality and all the yak-yak. A true win-win!
How does the band dress?
We wear black tuxedos for all weddings, balls, country clubs, and formal events.
Exceptions to the tuxedo attire would be some casual outdoor events, picnics, festivals, and some jazz concerts.
Got to keep it classy!
What time does your band set up?
It is important to me that I have the band set up BEFORE your guests enter the room.
There is nothing tackier than the band setting up in front of your guests.
Do you supply the sound system?
We are self contained. I carry my own first-class sound system.
There is nothing you need to supply other than electricity and chairs.
Our electrical needs are modest and almost all venues require nothing special or any augmentation.
Exceptions to the sound system would be large outdoor festivals and events or coliseums and arenas. We will require professional sound support for events on that scale.
What about lighting?
We do not require any lighting nor do we carry any lighting. Our stand lights give us visibility. Remember, this is about the music and entertainment, not about light shows and pyrotechnics.
If the venue has lighting available or you supply lighting, that is fine. I’m good with that.
If the situation warrants it, or you think it necessary, I could make arrangements for any lighting that would be appropriate – as an optional add-on.
Do you require a stage?
I’m neutral about that.
I’m good either way. I’m just fine on the floor. At weddings, I feel the bride is the show and I really don’t want to distract from that.
If you want us on a stage, and can supply it, I’m good with that, provided it’s adequate.
Do I have to feed the band?
No. Although it’s a nice gesture, we come to work, not be one of your guests.
If there is a situation where some musicians are on the site for an extended period of time, say to play during cocktails and dinner, then providing them something to eat is a very nice gesture. For them, it’s a long day with probably no option to do anything else. Again, it’s not required, but appreciated.
Remember, we are there to serve you.
How long does the band play?
All my prices are based on a 3 1/2 hour time frame, say 7:30 pm to 11 pm, or 8:30 pm to 12 midnight. (as an example)
You can have more time if you wish; I just don’t automatically charge for longer than that.
Can you supply music for cocktails or dinner?
The first thing I suggest to my clients is to NOT have the full band playing during dinner. While we could certainly do that, it would be a waste of your money. (unless it falls within your 3 1/2 hour time block)
What most of my clients do, is when the guests first arrive, they’ll have a solo pianist playing background during cocktails. Then, when they sit down to dinner, they’ll increase that to a trio for atmosphere during dinner. Finally, after dinner, they’ll start the full band. In this fashion, everything goes in a progressive direction; getting better as the evening goes on.
You do not have to do this, as I’m flexible and anything is possible.
Is there anyplace I can come and hear the band?
You are welcome to attend any event where we are performing that is open to the public. Out of respect to my clients, you would be expected to buy tickets or whatever entry method the other guests in attendance are required to do.
Almost all of our performances are private and restricted in nature. I never divulge my client’s event information to anyone. I respect their privacy and don’t want uninvited people crashing their event.
As our public events are very rare, and may be some time before you get to attend such an event, and you need to get us booked before someone else does . . . there is a good solution!
Go to the VIDEO page and watch the video. The only difference for you is – instead of your having to wait for and travel to an event, you can do so right now, from right were you are. Be sure to read the information at the top of the VIDEO page so you’ll know why this is an excellent option for you.
Then, and finally, I suggest you go to the REVIEWS and REFERENCES pages and take the time look those over carefully.
If you’re not totally sold after that, then coming to hear us live probably won’t change anything anyway.
Can I count on you? Are you reliable?
I have been performing and making my living as a professional drummer since I was 13 years old. I have never cancelled or missed an engagement for any reason. Trust me, in all those years, I’ve have many legitimate reasons, but I learned early on, that really . . . the show really must go on. Really.
Second, my bands have never missed, nor have we ever cancelled on anyone . . . EVER!
My business principles are based on honesty, integrity, and excellence. My track record proves that.
What is the best way to contact you?
The very best way to contact me is by phone. It is far more efficient and expeditious.
If that doesn’t work for you, an email will work as an acceptable second best.
However, for prices, I will only do that via a live phone call or in person consultation.
You can reach me at: