Having a live quartet while walking down the aisle as guests arrive is so elegant and timeless. The talented musicians of Loring String Quartet are sure to level-up your ceremony or reception entertainment whether you’re looking for something traditional or more modern.
We chatted with their Artistic Director, Conor, about memorable wedding moments and how his Irish roots got him to where he is today.
Q: Let’s get to it, what’s your business’ specialty?
A: Bringing the artistic quality of the concert stage to your wedding. We specialize in exceptional and passionate performances of timeless classics and lively Top 40 hits, and we craft a personalized playlist for each and every couple.
Q: Where can we find you?
A: Everywhere! We’re based in Minneapolis, but from Rochester to Roseau, we’ve performed all over Minnesota. We even play in neighboring states too!
Q: Tell us when and how your business began.
A: From busking on the streets of Dublin as a teenager, I played my first wedding as a 13-year-old. I’ve managed several quartets between then and now, but Loring String Quartet is the biggest and best! We started in 2010, when 3 of our 4 founding members lived near Loring Park in Minneapolis.
Q: What makes your company unique from others?
A: I’m a self-professed music nerd and I have a library of music like no other! Our repertoire is very diverse and includes something for everyone at your wedding. Grandparents, parents, kids, and the happy couple will all hear music they love – Bach, Beatles, Beethoven, Beyoncé, Brahms, and the Beach Boys…and that’s just the B’s!
Q: How long have you been in the industry? What do you think has changed the most since then?
A: I’ve been working in the wedding industry for almost 30 years! When I played my first weddings, couples chose classical music first and foremost, and most weddings took place in churches. Nowadays, we perform jazz, golden oldies, current pop hits, tangoes, classical, rock, and movie scores in hotels, parks, private residences, churches, event venues, and even on boats! A lot has changed…
Q: Walk us through your average day.
A: As a freelance musician, every day is different. I perform on and teach violin and viola and I perform in many different ensembles in many different venues. For Loring String Quartet though, every day involves phone calls with current or prospective clients. I listen to couples’ ideas about their wedding and then share my thoughts on what size of ensemble or genre of music might fit best with their vision. I’m really proud of all of the rave reviews we’ve received online and I spend time responding to every single one as they come in. As we get closer to a couple’s wedding date, I do a final check-in one month before to make sure we have all of their music choices finalized and that all of the details (how many bridesmaids are processing into Darth Vader’s Imperial March?!?) are correct!
Q: What would you want couples searching for your business type to know?
A: That all string quartets are not created equal. There are a lot of amateur ensembles out there performing at weddings for fun. We offer a vastly superior service with exceptional quality and professionalism as the backbone of everything we do. I encourage couples to talk with me to find out why!
Q: How far in advance should a couple book with you?
A: We receive some bookings as far out as 18 months and as close in as the week of the wedding. 9-12 months ahead is ideal, and even with a popular date we usually have availability that far out. However, we understand when it’s last-minute too and are happy to fast-track. I once received a call at 10am and had our quartet in place at 1pm the same day!
Q: What’s one wedding trend you’re over?
A: Playing six feet apart from my colleagues – COVID-be-gone!
Q: What’s your favorite song? Your least favorite song?
A: Oh, gosh, this changes all the time. Right now, I really enjoy playing Best Day Of My Life by American Authors – perfect for a recessional! Least favorite? Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus – I mean, seriously, have you seen the video? Why would you want that at your wedding?!?
Q: What’s the most unique wedding you’ve ever performed for?
A: OK, so one time out west of the Twin Cities, we were at a venue at the top of a bluff near Lake Minnetonka and it happened to be a particularly windy day. Our canopy was anchored by 4 sandbags that I brought along but even at that, it was determined to lift off like a SpaceX shuttle. Our sheet music was pinned open (see, we came prepared) but what we didn’t anticipate was that our music stands couldn’t stay upright, and our bows were being blown off the string too! Total disaster!
However, we have a policy of always making it work, so we looked around and saw a toolshed nearby, cleared out some gardening equipment, and the four of us crammed in there in between some really inconveniently placed 2x4s which ran across the shed at waist height. The father of the groom was a musician and had written some of the music for the wedding, so he stood outside the door and conducted us because we had zero sightlines to the ceremony site! The couple was delighted that they could still be married outdoors with live music!
Q: Duck Duck Grey Duck or Duck Duck Goose?
A: Gotta be Grey Duck. We don’t have this game in Ireland, so I was introduced to it in MN, don’tcha know!
Q: Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall Wedding?
A: Winter – it’s always indoors! No bugs, no allergies, no weather!
Q: Veil or no veil?
A: None. There’s nothing like the radiance of a bride’s face as she walks down the aisle. Trust me, I’ve seen over a thousand!
Q: Mountains or Beach?
A: A beach at the foot of a mountain – Hawaii?
Q: Chocolate or Vanilla?
Q: Go-to comfort food?
Q: Who would you like to sit next to on a plane?
A: Easy. My wife and daughter.
Q: What show are you binging right now?
A: Mrs. Maisel. Marvelous.
Q: Go-to cocktail (or mocktail)?
A: Mojito. Heavy on the fresh mint.