5 Favorite Things With Band Leader Eddie Bruce
If you just said to yourself, “Oh, he did my cousin’s wedding!” we would not be surprised in the least. Eddie Bruce has been performing at weddings for 38 years in the Philadelphia area—he’s a native of our fair city—along with singing with symphony orchestras, and headlining in Atlantic City casinos and swanky New York night clubs.
His favorite thing, though, remains a wedding: “I still get the most excited creating a packed dance floor and watching a bride and groom dancing and carrying on and totally loving their own wedding,” he says. So it only seemed fitting that we ask him about more of his favorite things right now.
Favorite first dance song of all time It is always fun and challenging to learn a brand new song for a bride and groom—one that I’ve never heard before or would never have considered doing. They are always so appreciative, too.
However, my preference is always a classic song that has already passed the test of time—and one that I know will still be around at the couple’s silver anniversary. So my favorite recommendation is the classic “Come Rain or Come Shine” with lyrics by the great Johnny Mercer and music by Harold Arlen.
Favorite surprise you’ve ever seen happen on the dance floor at a wedding I have seen quite a few things, but there was a fun recent one that I was recently in on: After the first dance at a Jewish wedding, we break into the Hora, which is of course a Jewish folk dance where everyone is in a big circle and they lift the bride and groom over their heads. This particular groom and his friends were huge Dave Matthews fans, so the plan was that we’d begin the Hora, and then stop suddenly and announce that we couldn’t proceed until we played a Dave Matthew song. We ended up breaking into “Ants Marching,” much to the delight of the groom and his buds.
Favorite never-fails song to liven up a dead or non-dancing crowd at a wedding There are two answers to this: The best way to fill an empty dance floor is actually with a slow song that everyone is comfortable dancing to. And without fail, the best for this is the Etta James classic “At Last,” or Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.”
Once they all come out to slow dance, you have them trapped, and can roll into some hot uptempo dance music. So for a fast song to juice up a sluggish floor—”Blurred Lines” is still a great song that people rush out to dance to. I know it’s overplayed, but at a wedding it really works for a quick jumpstart!
Favorite venue in Philly for a rocking, dance-party kind of wedding We are blessed in Philadelphia with so many wonderful venues, both traditional and nontraditional. But for me without question, the Hyatt at the Bellevue’s Grand Ballroom is the best. It is both elegant and beautiful with perfect acoustics and a lovely balcony. The stage is perfectly sized and the room can even work with a slightly smaller crowd by adding an additional stage in front and shortening the room a bit. I love playing at the Bellevue.
Favorite genre of music to listen to at home or in the car My life and work is so consumed with music that often in the car I will be listening to news and talk and sports. But when I want to listen to the music I love, it will be the great jazz singers from Ella Fitzgerald to Joe Williams … and there is always a craving for Stevie Wonder.
To read more of our 5 Favorite Things posts, go here.
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