Hire the Band

How much do you charge?

Our rate is is based on a four hour function in the Maryland / DC/ Northern Virginia area.  We are proud of the value we offer at a rate that is considerably lower than that charged by most other larger bands (and indeed some DJs).  For more details on our rates, such as travel fees and overtime rates, please email or call.


How can I check to see if you're available for my function?

Simply go to the Oracle Band Availability Page and check to see if your date has been taken.  This list is updated as soon as new bookings are confirmed, or as soon as we know of a date where the band is unavailable.  

On very rare occasions we can manage to squeeze in two performance in a single day, so if your date is marked but the times are sufficiently far apart, give us a call and we can see if we can work something out.

Please note that dates are subject to change.  Even if you see that the date of your event  is listed as unavailable please reach out to us so we can confirm whether there has been a change in our schedule.


Where can I come hear you play?

Oracle makes regular public appearances, at least twice a month and often more.  We perform at nightclubs, parks concerts, bull roasts, benefits, and for service organizations like the ELKS, American Legion, Knights of Columbus, and others.  A list of our upcoming performances can be found by going to our Upcoming Performances page.


I really like a certain song that's not on your songlist Would you be willing to learn this song for us?

Absolutely!  We would be more than happy to learn a special song for you.  It can be for your first dance, father/daughter dance, or just a special song that you want included during the course of the reception.  

You can also request for us to learn other material through our Suggest-A-Song page here on the website.  While we don't guarantee we'll learn ALL of them, we do use these suggestions when evaluating new material for us to learn.

Finally, we will be more than happy to have the band's DJ spin any additional songs for you in between sets.


How do you dress for a performance?

Typically, for a formal event such as wedding or corporate party the band will wear black tuxedos.  If requested we can also wear a simpler jacket and tie or suit.  If you are hosting a theme party, the band is more than willing to accommodate the theme by dressing appropriately.


Can you hold a date open for me?

The band's policy for bookings is that the first person to sign our contract and send a retainer gets the date.  While we do not put a "hold" on specific dates without a contract and retainer, we will be more than happy to call you and advise you if there are any serious inquiries for your date, offering a "right of first refusal".  We don't want to sound like a stereotype used car salesman pushing you to buy before you leave the lot, but we do want our prospective clients to know if they have competition for the date in question.  We wish we could accommodate everybody, but unfortunately that isn't possible.


Does The Oracle Band use a contract? 

Yes, we use a contract for all performances.  This ensures that there are no miscommunications between the band and our clients.  It is for the protection of all parties concerned.


What is the process for booking the band?

The process goes like this:

Two identical copies of the contract are mailed to the client

The client signs both copies and returns them with the retainer (typically 25% of total)

Upon receipt of the contract and retainer, the date is officially confirmed

The band leader then signs both copies and returns one copy to the client for their records, with Statement of Account acknowledging receipt of their retainer


Do we have to make arrangements to feed the band?

We do request that arrangements be made for a light meal for the band.  However, we do not want our clients to have to pay the same rate as their guests to feed the group.  Most caterers in the area will allow the band to go through the buffet line after the guests have finished, or they may provide a vendor sandwich or other light fare.  If a caterer is insistent on charging full fare for the band to eat, other arrangements can be made.  This is not a major issue for the band!


Do you require Payment in Full prior to the day of my event?

In order to reserve the band for your event we only require a retainer.  The balance is due two weeks prior to your event.  We want you to be able to enjoy the day of your event completely without having to worry about payment.   


How do you handle Overtime requests? 

We book overtime in 1/2 hour increments past the contracted time.  The band typically only books one performance a day, so overtime is never a problem.  We'll play for as long as the guests are still partying!


Do you accept credit cards?

At the present time we do not accept any credit cards.  We accept cash, personal or corporate / business checks, and money orders.  


Do you require a stage?

The simple answer for this question is no, we do not require a stage. We only require a performing space of 20' x 12' whether it is on a stage or on the floor.  For corporate functions or other performances where the band is a significant focus of attention a stage does help direct that focus, particularly in larger rooms.  However, for weddings and other private parties, it is the newlywed couple or guest of honor that is the real focus, so a stage is definitely not necessary.  


If we have a stage, what are your staging size requirements?

The minimum size stage that the band can fit on is 20' x 12', which translates to 4-5 pieces of standard size roll around staging.  For stages of this size the band's speakers will be located off the stage on either side of the band.  Larger stages are helpful in that it provides us more room to move and interact, and permit us to locate speaker cabinets and light trees on stage rather than off to the side.


Do we select the songs we want from the songlist?  Do we put the songs in order?

Here's what we do.  About 8 weeks before your reception we will send out an updated songlist to you, or you can download a formatted list from our Songlist Page, which will include all of our most recently learned songs.

We will ask you to select 4-8 "must play" songs, that is, those songs that you really want to dance to or feel very strongly about.  

We will also ask you to select 40-60 songs that you think you, your guests, family, and friends will enjoy.   

Finally, we will ask you to indicate any songs you don't want us to play.  

When you return this list to us, we will put together a rough setlist based on your selections.  Based on the styles of music you have selected, we may also fill in some songs of a similar nature that are pretty much guaranteed crowd pleasers, (unless of course the selection is on the "don't play" list).

In several cases songs are included in a medley of songs, so if you select "Rockin Robin", you're also going to get "Johnny B. Goode" as it's part of the medley. The setlist that we put together is a general guide only.  The band is quite flexible as far as what is played and when.  As the reception progresses, we will be taking requests from your guests, and if we can honor those requests we will, (unless, once again, the request is on the "don't play" list).

We will also be "reading" the crowd, to see which  songs are receiving the best response.  It is this experience in reading a group that sets the band apart from a human jukebox playing the same songs in the same order all the time.


What information do you need from me in advance of the reception?

Since every wedding is different, we don't need the same information from everybody.  However, as a general rule, here are some of the pieces of information we look for:


  1. Itinerary for the reception.  What time do guests arrive, what time is meal served, cake cut, etc.


  1. Will the entire wedding party be introduced?  If so, we need the list of names in advance.  We're pretty good with this, but phonetic pronunciations for some of the more difficult names are appreciated.  We'll go over this list with you before the event to ensure names are pronounced properly.



  1. When is the first dance, right after introductions or after the meal?  What song?


  1. Will there be a Father/Daughter Dance?  What song?  


  1. Is there a separate Mother / Son Dance, or is there just going to be one "Parent Dance" where we invite Mother / Son up halfway through the Father / Daughter song?


    6.  When will the Parent Dance occur...after the First Dance, after dinner, or at some other point?


  1. Will there be a Bouquet Toss?  Will there also be a Garter toss?  When will this occur?


    8. Is there a toast that will be offered?  Who will be doing it?


  1. Will there be a blessing / grace offered just before dinner?


  10. Are there any special rules or requirements for the band imposed by the facility?  Examples might be carpets for hardwood floors, early or last minute load-in due to room availability, specific set up and break down times, specific volume requirements, etc.


How long does it take you to set up?

Much depends on the facility we will be performing in of course, but in general it takes about 1 1/2 hours to get the PA system set up and ready to go.  If extensive lighting is requested that generally takes an additional hour or so.

The band typically arrives two hours prior to the contracted start time, to ensure that everything is ready to go before any guests arrive, and to give the band time to change for the performance.  However, we have in the past been able to get the full band set up in as little as 30 minutes with sufficient advance notice.

Note that Downtown Washington DC and Baltimore hotels often require longer load in periods, as access is more severely restricted and parking for the band's vans & trailer can take some time.




Oracle Band

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