I had the pleasure of sitting down with Meg Rodgers one afternoon and talking about her craft. Meg is a talented harpist located in southwest Michigan. She performs throughout Southwest Michigan, Northwest Indiana, and Chicago, at weddings and other special events. Read on to learn more about Meg and her impressive experience as a professional performance artist.
How long have you been performing for weddings or other events?
I have been performing professionally for over 20 years.
How many weddings do you think you’ve played over the years?
Somewhere in the ballpark of 4,000 weddings/ events though weddings are what I primarily play. I am now averaging about 50 events a year. I am lucky because I own 2 concert harps and am able utilize that so I can play multiple events in a day despite time constraints.
How long have you worked alongside Classic Catering?
I’ve known Classic Catering for 15 years.
What sets you apart from other musicians?
One of the biggest advantages of having a live musician for your ceremony is getting to pick the music and having the music suited to you. It will last as long as it needs to. I make it fit you. For the processional everyone walks at a different pace, I play to the pace of the person. It doesn’t matter what the song or genre is, it can be personalized. As a harpist I am able to do beach weddings or other outdoor venues easily because my instrument is portable and the sound carries very well without amplification.
How far in advance should people book your services?
I have people who book a year or two in advance, all the way up to the month before. You are taking a chance by waiting until the last minute. June, July, and August book up quickly as does December for holiday events.
Do you give past clients as references?
I can if they like, I have many reviews on Wedding Wire for clients to read but I have many brides willing to be references as needed.
I have samples of my music on my website and I am more than willing to meet with people if they want to hear the harp live.
How many songs do play? Do you take requests?
Usually the prelude is 15 minutes, the postlude is 15 minutes so about 5-10 pieces each, then a processional for the bridesmaids and the bride and a recessional for the wedding party. I can do classical, pop tunes, or jazz. If there is a request not in my repertoire, I try to locate the piano music and adapt it to harp. Some things work, some things don’t. The primary request for the harp is classical because the music is primarily written for the harp. I’ve done a lot of Disney themed weddings. Contemporary is popular too.
I have even done an all U2 wedding with a violinist. While solo harp is the most requested, I also work with a violinist and have requests for flute or cello as well.
This is a slideshow of venues where Meg has performed weddings in MI, IN, and IL. The music is Bois Solitaire by Felix Godefroid, performed by Meg Rodgers.
What is the most requested piece you are asked to play?
I would say Canon in D is the #1 requested, though lately Halleluiah by Leonard Cohen has been popular as well.
Does the harp need to be mic’d or amplified at all? What about special requirements?
No, the harp is a great acoustic design and carries very well. It doesn’t require any outlets either. I do need it to be 60 degrees or warmer or I require a heater. Cold is hard on me as a player but high temps can also cause strings to break.
How fast can you restring a string?
I can replace a string in 2 minutes.
Tell us about your professional performing besides weddings.
I perform primarily with 3 orchestras as well as sub for other nearby orchestras. I have a calendar on my website of any public performances.
What is a song you play that people don’t expect?
I’ve done Metallica “Nothing Else Matter” and people are always surprised by it. I was asked to learn Beyonce’s “Halo” for a wedding and I didn’t feel it translated well… it was like elevator music. I was asked to play Ben Folds “The Luckiest” and it turned out great. “Marry Me” by Train is very popular and U2 “All I want is You” along with the theme from Disney’s “UP” were very popular this summer.
What’s a random question get asked by couples?
Some people ask what do I wear. I wear black because it’s concert dress. I have played themed weddings where I’ve been asked to wear a costume. I feel the black outfit distinguishes me as performer and not a guest, yet is appropriate.
How has your experience in the wedding industry helped you as a vendor?
I find myself pulled to help with things for the wedding that aren’t necessarily in my job description as a harpist such as pinning boutonnieres or helping couples ahead of time to work out the order of the ceremony and their needs. Sometimes people from out of town need help with resources and as a local and I try my best to point them in the right direction. I find myself asking if they need help because I have been to so many weddings. I always get to the ceremony an hour before hand and I talk everything over with the officiant and coordinator so I know my cues to begin playing. I try to help as much as possible to make their day go smoothly.
Visit Meg Rodgers’ website to listen to samples of her playing, read rave reviews, and learn more about her resume of work!
Don’t forget to like Meg Rodgers Harpist Facebook page!