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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.