Company Name: Michelle Dalton Harp
Interview with: Michelle Dalton
Location / Coverage: Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, cover the Midlands
What service can Michelle Dalton Harp provide for a wedding?
I am a professional harpist providing music for weddings, parties and corporate events.
How did Michelle Dalton Harp get started and how long have you been going?
I started playing the harp aged seven, taking lessons from my grandmother who had started playing aged four and performing at the age of 6. She studied in California and went on to play for the movie company MGM Grand. Later she moved to Alaska where she and my grandfather founded the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra with a few other musicians.
I grew up in Alaska, where there are more harpists than you probably think! I grew up playing with the Junior and Youth Symphony Orchestras, then became principal harpist for the Anchorage Opera and Symphony. From the age of 10 I performed at corporate events, Christmas parties and many, many weddings.
Which areas of the UK do you cover?
I am based in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, and can easily cover the entire Midlands.
What type of music can you play for weddings?
Gosh, I can play any and all types of music, but as you can imagine I am mostly requested to play a mixture of classical and popular love songs. For church weddings the more traditional and classical pieces are usually requested, such as the Bridal Chorus, Pachabel’s Canon, and Greensleeves. Civil ceremonies have more flexibility and I am often requested to play popular songs such as Wind Beneath My Wings, The Rose and You’re Beautiful.
Why should a couple have a harpist for their wedding?
The harp adds so much elegance to a wedding, not only with the beautiful music but also the majesty of the instrument itself.
There is a definite trend towards couples having live music at their wedding ceremony and I wonder if that’s because they realise having a live musician gives you so much more flexibility. You can chose the music you want at nearly every stage of the ceremony and the musician is able to ‘entertain’ if things don’t go exactly to time schedule.
What sets Michelle Dalton Harp apart from other harpists?
For every couple I offer a free music consultation service, inviting them to my home to hear me play. As Celeste says below, the experience of hearing the harp live is so different than what you anticipate watching You Tube videos. This music consultation gives us the opportunity to pick out the music together.
“The harp has a very overwhelming sound. It was more than what I expected on my first time of hearing it without a computer. Thank you for the lovely experience Michelle.” Celeste Slimm
I have been playing harp music at weddings since I was 10 years old, in both America and England, and I thoroughly love weddings. My goal is to ensure you have the day you want, and use music to create the right ambiance while entertaining your guests.
At what stages of a wedding would you usually play?
Many people don’t realise how much ambiance is added with live music during the wedding ceremony, and how much flexibility musicians provide.
For a wedding ceremony you will usually have prelude music (while the guests are arriving and being seated), processional (bridal party entrance), signing of the register (2 to 3 songs), and recessional (usually lively music while the bridal party and guests depart for the reception).
I also get asked to play for the drinks reception, the hour between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast. Playing during the wedding breakfast can be quite calming and create elegance.
Occasionally I’m asked to play for the reception break time, the time after the wedding breakfast when guests mingle, drink and welcome additional friends for the evening reception.
What were the top requested songs for weddings in 2014?
My top requested songs at weddings in 2014 were Canon in D, A Time for Us from Romeo and Juliet, Kissing You, Chasing Cars from Snow Patrol, Flower Duet from Lakme, and classical pieces such as Prelude in C, Meditation by Thais and Moonlight Sonata.
What is your top requested bridal entrance song?
In 2014 the most popular processional was still the Bridal Chorus from Lohengrin by Wagner. Canon in D is also very popular, as well as The Rose and other popular pieces including Wind Beneath My Wings and You’re Beautiful by Chester See.
What packages do you offer?
All of my wedding packages are completely customisable depending upon which parts of the wedding you’d like harp music for.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Getting to be a part of so many people’s special day!