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Telephone: (630) 830-2345
Email: klnpiano@aol.com
 
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Commonly  Asked Questions - Last updated Apr. 15, 2015

 

1. Where Can I Hear A “Live Performance”?

2. What If I Don’t Have A Piano?

3. Do You Take Breaks?

4. Do I Need To Get The Piano Tuned?

5. Our Group Is Over 150 People. Should We Arrange For A Microphone?

6. Our Group Is Only 50 People. Are You Going To Be Too Loud So We Can’t Enjoy Conversation?

7. Can We Choose The Music?

8. What If We Want The Pianist To Stay Longer Than Our Agreed Terms Of The Contract?

9. Can You Provide Additional Musicians?

10. What Does A Pianist Wear?

11. What If The Pianist Gets Sick Or There Is An Emergency?

12. What Time Do You Arrive For An Event?

13. What If We Need A Rehearsal And Would Like A Vocalist?

14. Are There Additional Fees Involved?

15. Should We Set Aside A Meal For The Pianist?

16. Can We Place A Floral Arrangement On The Piano?

17. When Is The Best Time To Contact Kathie Nicolet?

18. Do We Need To Make An Appointment To Meet With You And/Or Select Music?

19. I Need To Select Wedding Ceremony Music But Am Not Sure What To Choose ~ What Do I Do?

20. How Long Do I Need A Pianist For My Wedding Reception?

21. I’m Not Planning On Having Dancing. How Much Piano Music Do I Need?

22. I’m Hosting A Luncheon/Shower. We Would Love A Pianist But Don’t Know How Much Time We’d Need One?

23. Where Should I Have The Piano Placed?

24. Our Wedding Ceremony Is Outside And There Is No Piano. What Do We Do?

25. How Soon Should We Contract With A Pianist?

 



1. Where Can I Hear A “Live Performance”? Kathie Nicolet performs as Lead Pianist at Von Maur in St. Charles located on North Avenue a mile West Of Pheasant Run Resort at Charlestown Mall. For a performance schedule, please contact Kathie Nicolet. Weddings/Anniversaries/Corporate Events, etc., are private events and closed to the public.


2. What If I Don’t Have A Piano? A piano rental can be arranged for a fee. These charges include delivery, set up, tuning and pickup. You may rent a full size grand piano, a studio (upright), or a portable piano (subject to availability). Kathie Nicolet can make all necessary arrangements. Rental prices begin at $325.00.


3. Do You Take Breaks? For three hour engagements or less, one fifteen minute break is taken. Most musicians will break on the hour, but this is an added bonus to Kathie Nicolet’s valued clients who would like continuous “ambience”. If a client plans to have speakers, invitees giving toasts, introductions, video presentations, piano is not required during this time.


4. Do I Need To Get The Piano Tuned? If the piano has not been tuned within the last 3 months, it is highly recommended. You may be charged a “rental” fee at many banquet facilities/hotels. This tuning should be included in your charges. Facilities vary and you need to check with your event coordinator at your location. A typical fee is $75.00. Moving a piano will not cause it to go “out of tune”. Lack of use, change of Seasons ~ i.e. Heat, Air Conditioning, and the age of the piano will contribute to your determining your need for tuning. Ask to see a receipt from the tuner to ensure your service was completed. The facility will arrange for tuning. Please be sure that the piano is in workable, playable, condition prior to your event, including all pedals and keys. The tuner hired by the facility is also a trained technician and should be made aware to give his/her “seal of approval”. Ask when the piano will be tuned and please make sure that it has been. A receipt is proof.


5. Our Group Is Over 150 People. Should We Arrange For A Microphone? It is recommended that you arrange to have the piano “miked” especially if your piano is an upright. Many variables affect how the sound of a piano is received. High ceilings, hardwood floors, conversation, servers, etc. will contribute to a piano being heard well. Hotels often have Audio Visual Departments who will arrange for a microphone at a small fee. Some DJ’s will be happy to provide a portable microphone to be placed inside the piano until dancing begins. Often, the facility has a “standing microphone” that can be placed right next to the piano. Check with your event coordinator to review policies.


6. Our Group Is Only 50 People. Are You Going To Be Too Loud So We Can’t Enjoy Conversation? A pianist can adjust volume by using a soft pedal or making sure the piano lid is closed. It is advised that if elderly people are in attendance, you may want to be sure to have them seated away from the piano at one of the tables furthest from the piano. Hearing aids pick up “feedback” and music of any kind can be very disturbing. Please feel free to ask the pianist to lower the volume as much as you like at any time during your event. A pianist will not be offended by that request. Musicians are hired to provide pleasant background music – and are not expecting to appear “in concert”. Music should be enjoyable and always conducive to conversation. Pianists often cannot gauge how music is being received in that sound is projected from the back and side of the piano, not from the bench. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.


7. Can We Choose The Music? Most clients leave selection of music to the musician except when planning wedding ceremonies. A list of “standard” wedding music is available for suggestions but the final selections are usually chosen by the bride and groom. Requests for other types of events are welcome and encouraged, but if the song is a particular favorite, please give the pianist at least 30 days notice should the piece need to be ordered. It can take up to three weeks to order sheet music via a music store.


8. What If We Want The Pianist To Stay Longer Than Our Agreed Terms Of The Contract? A client is more than welcome to ask a musician to stay longer should guests appear to be staying a bit longer than originally anticipated (provided the musician does not have an engagement immediately following). Approach the musician and ask if he/she is available to stay longer. Overtime rates will apply with additional payment expected on date of service.


9. Can You Provide Additional Musicians? A duo or trio can be provided for you (which includes the pianist). String quartets, orchestra, etc., and other recommended vendors will be available to you but will not include Kathie Nicolet. The duo is typically violin/piano with the trio consisting of flute/violin/piano or violin/cello/piano – most typically used for weddings. The ensembles including Kathie Nicolet consist of classical/society music.


10. What Does A Pianist Wear? A professional musician’s attire is elegant basic black. A gentleman should wear a tuxedo or dinner jacket. The ladies should wear an elegant black dress/ensemble. For evening receptions, the attire will reflect “After Five” wear.


11. What If The Pianist Gets Sick Or There Is An Emergency? In 21 years, Kathie Nicolet has missed three performances and sub contracted with a professional colleague to take her place. There has never been an event where there was a “no show”. She has a networking of hundreds of the finest Chicago Professional musicians as a resource and will always have a “backup” in case of an unforeseen emergency. You will not need to find a replacement or be concerned with compensating the substitute. All details are taken care of by Kathie Nicolet, if necessary.


12. What Time Do You Arrive For An Event? Set up time is 15-30 minutes prior to an event. Performance time starts when stated on the contract. Kathie Nicolet does not bring music except for wedding ceremonies and when playing with other musicians. In those instances, no advance preparation is required beyond 15 minutes.


13. What If We Need A Rehearsal And Would Like A Vocalist? Kathie will arrange for a vocalist unless the client has a family member or special friend invited to sing. If Kathie deems a rehearsal necessary (depending on the experience of the vocalist), one is scheduled before the event at the convenience of pianist/vocalist. If a professional vocalist is hired, there may only be a “run through” required on the day of the wedding just prior to prelude. This is a decision made, collectively with each event. A rehearsal is $100.00/hr.


14. Are There Additional Fees Involved? The fee that you are quoted includes your initial consultations, the actual services, music preparation, etc. If your event is held in downtown Chicago, a parking/travel fee will apply. Each event is quoted, individually, depending on the length of the event.


15. Should We Set Aside A Meal For The Pianist? If you are planning an event 3-4 hours, a meal upon conclusion of the pianist’s performance is greatly appreciated. The wait staff will be happy to set something aside at your request. It is appreciated if one of the wait staff offers a beverage during the performance to keep at the piano. (A side note: If you have arranged for parking vouchers for your guests, please allow one for your pianist, as well. Otherwise, an additional $25.00 will be charged, if parking fees apply. )


16. Can We Place A Floral Arrangement On The Piano? For safety reasons, we advise against this. Vibrations from the piano being in use can cause a vase to shift. This especially applies to candles. There have been occasions when lit votive candles were placed on top of the piano ~ vibrations caused the candles to shift ~ resulting in hot candle wax pouring all over the pianist’s hands. Keep in mind, also, that a piano lid is often opened to project sound, if needed. If a vase is placed on top, the music will not be heard. Please save your special adornments for your guests’ tables. NEVER place beverages on a piano.


17. When Is The Best Time To Contact Kathie Nicolet? Kathie is available 8 am to l0 pm Sunday thru Saturday (and holidays!) to take your personal phone calls. A voice recorder is on 24 hrs a day. Your calls are very important and will be responded to as soon as possible, most often within 1- 4 hrs. Always be sure to mention the best time to reach YOU.


18. Do We Need To Make An Appointment To Meet With You And/Or Select Music? It is always a pleasure meeting clients. You are cordially invited to visit Von Maur to say hello and hear a “live performance”. Musical consultations are not required in person and easily conducted during a brief phone conversation.


19. I Need To Select Wedding Ceremony Music But Am Not Sure What To Choose ~ What Do I Do? Kathie Nicolet has a listing of “standard wedding music” most often performed and will be happy to assist you with Prelude / Processional / Entrance / Unity Candle / Recessional / Postlude selections. If you would like to hear what specific pieces sound like, you can visit any local music store. Go to their “Wedding Instrumentals” section, and choose any wedding CD. This is a wonderful reference that many brides have found extremely helpful and recommended, highly.


20. How Long Do I Need A Pianist For My Wedding Reception? The majority of receptions that Kathie Nicolet performs for consist of a “Cocktail Reception” lasting one hour, followed by two hours of background piano music for dinner. Keep in mind that music will not be played during announcements/toasts and that generous time is allowed between courses as your dinner is being served. At the conclusion of three hours, you will be finishing with desserts/coffee. At that time, a DJ / Band / or Orchestra will take over for your dance portion – ensuring that you have music throughout your reception.


21. I’m Not Planning On Having Dancing. How Much Piano Music Do I Need? The same “rule” applies with piano for a “cocktail/champagne punch” reception of one hour ~ followed by two hours for brunch/luncheon/dinner. Guests will most likely enjoy coffee, brief conversation, and say their “goodbyes” soon after the meal is completed. This is an excellent guideline for morning/afternoon and evening receptions with 75 or less guests attending.


22. I’m Hosting A Luncheon/Shower. We Would Love A Pianist But Don’t Know How Much Time We’d Need One? Two hours is recommended. Piano during your social hour/luncheon is perfect and provides a classy, festive, atmosphere. The luncheon will last one hour in that you have less courses and time in between, unlike a wedding reception. Piano is not recommended for the time gifts are being opened.


23. Where Should I Have The Piano Placed? It is strongly recommended that the piano not be placed in a far corner away from your guests. This prevents your guests from feeling free to ask for requests or allowing the pianist to interact and help make your guests feel welcome. Place it as close to the entrance as you can ~ allowing for your servers to get through from the kitchen, freely, and away from your bar area. If possible, place the piano in the center of the room. It is striking, a beautiful focal point, and perfect for 100 people or less. If you have groups of 125 or more, the piano cannot be moved easily afterwards, becoming an obstacle (depending on the size of your room). Be sure your piano can be easily moved to the side or out of the room, entirely, at the conclusion of your meal. Your Event Coordinator MUST make the final decision regarding placement due to all factors/logistics involved to accommodate your party, comfortably and safely.


24. Our Wedding Ceremony Is Outside And There Is No Piano. What Do We Do? Your facility must have an electrical outlet outside to accommodate a portable keyboard. Kathie Nicolet will recommend a keyboardist w/equipment or a violin, harp, flute, etc. if requested. Many facilities have requirements that must be met ~ i.e. Cheney Mansion in Oak Park requires a certain length of green extension cords to be used. Please check with your facility regarding their policies on equipment.


25. How Soon Should We Contract With A Pianist? If you find a vendor that you are confident will provide the best services for you, contract as soon as possible. Musicians often book one or two years in advance. It is a great disappointment to hope your date is “on hold” only to find out it is not available when you are ready to sign. Vendors cannot promise dates without signed contracts. Your date may be available today but that may not be the case tomorrow. Without a signed contract and deposit, your date will not be held for more than five days.


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