Hope Hoffman & the

Bowdoinham String Band

Live, traditional music for weddings, dinners and events.

* Link to Online Booking Form for Event Planners *

We provide music that flows naturally, seamlessly joining each part of your wedding from one room to the next, indoors and outdoors. Our repertoire ranges from slow and lyrical to quick and energetic, and we carefully choose each tune to fit each part of the event. An experienced director of theater productions featuring live music, violinist/fiddler Hope Hoffman can offer expertise and insight when selecting music.

Slow, stately melodies abound in traditional string music, and our renditions are rich with expression, sensitivity and timeless beauty. For a processional, a prelude to the ceremony, an interlude between readings, or gentle dining music, these instrumental pieces give an event a warm, delicate radiance infused with generations of musical tradition. Light, joyful styles including jigs and other dance tunes are often fitting for a dinner, recessional, or background music as guests move from the ceremony to the reception area.

Generally, most couples instruct us to use our intuition and to select just the right tune to play on the spot and "in the moment," or we can plan each piece of music beforehand. If you have a special piece of music in mind, we can learn traditional melodies by ear from recordings, and read sheet music fluently.

Since we usually don't need microphones or electrical equipment, there are many opportunities for us to play outdoors, in unusual spaces, and to move around the area easily. We do use amplification on request for large and/or outdoor events.

For example, the bride and groom's first dance can be made even more special by the violin nearby playing a waltz. As your guests take their seats before the ceremony, a serene fiddle or mandolin can wander throughout the area to set the mood. And after the ceremony, the musicians can walk with the guests to the reception area, keeping the music flowing every step of the way.

The ensemble has provided music for events, community gatherings and family celebrations since 2002.

Celebrate your heritage with traditional melodies

Irish and Scottish
French Canadian
English and Welsh

We're very flexible and open to ideas, and enjoy being a creative part of celebrations.

Many couples ask for a 3-hour session, which often includes a half hour of music before the ceremony, the ceremony itself, and another half hour of music after the ceremony.

In addition to ceremony music, or as a separate event, we can also provide a dance instructor and music for a contra dance or barn dance. We can also provide background music for your reception or rehearsal dinner.

Hope Hoffman often provides solo violin/fiddle/viola music for ceremonies and receptions.

She also leads sessions of creative movement and folk dance with live fiddle music at schools and libraries, and can offer this as a children's activity for youngsters at your event.

To listen to audio samples, click on a title below to hear the tune.

Sampling of processionals:
Hewlett (Irish; composed by O'Carolan; arrangement/performance © Hope Hoffman 2005)
Ash Grove Waltz
(traditional Welsh; performance © Hope Hoffman 2005)

Mr. and Mrs. MacLean (composed by Scottish fiddler Dougie MacLean; performance © Hope Hoffman 2009)
Viola composition by Hope Hoffman
(performance © Hope Hoffman 2009)

Sampling of recessionals:
Moon and Seven Stars (traditional New England; performance © Hope Hoffman 2005)
Irish/New England jig (traditional; performance © Hope Hoffman 2007)
Mari's Wedding (traditional Irish;
live performance © Hope Hoffman & Bowdoinham String Band 2007)

Sampling of background or dancing music for receptions and dinners:
Road to California, recorded at a dance (traditional; performance © Hope Hoffman/Bowdoinham String Band 2007)

Neofa Farewell
original waltz; composition and recording © Hope Hoffman 2007)
Flop-Eared Mule, recorded at a dance (traditional; performance © Hope Hoffman/Bowdoinham String Band 2007)
French Quadrille
(traditional; arranged by Hope for viola, recording © Hope Hoffman 2007)
French Dance Tune
(traditional; live performance © Hope Hoffman 2007)

Fast Dance Tunes (original; composition and recording
© Hope Hoffman 2007)
Out on the Water (original waltz; composition and recording © Hope Hoffman 2005)
French Canadian tune, recorded at a dance (traditional; performance © Hope Hoffman/Bowdoinham String Band 2007)
Westphalia Waltz, recorded at a dance (traditional; performance © Hope Hoffman/Bowdoinham String Band 2007)
Irish Reel, recorded at a dance
(traditional; performance © Hope Hoffman/Bowdoinham String Band 2007)
Schottische from New Sweden, Maine (Fritjof Jacobson; performance © Hope Hoffman 2007)
Banks of Inverness (traditional polka; performance © Hope Hoffman/Abraham Stimson 2009)
Anything for John Joe (traditional; performance © Hope Hoffman/Abraham Stimson 2009)

Here is an audio clip of dance leader John McIntire calling a dance, and the band as a trio with banjo, fiddle and mandolin. Here's another clip of John calling the circle dance with the tune "Mari's Wedding". John has been teaching dance to all ages for the past 15 years, and has been dancing in the New England traditional style for over 30 years. He has been the caller for public dances around New England and at major festivals from Boston to Seattle.


* Link to Online Booking Form for Event Planners *

Details about the ensemble & our instruments.

Download a printable brochure or a business card

For a quarterly newsletter about Hope Hoffman's music, you may subscribe here.

Hope Hoffman ~ www.hopehoffman.org ~ E-mail

Folk Music Gifts & Goods for Weddings


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Photos this page by Ron St. Jean

Text © Susan Hope Hoffman 2001-2018. All rights reserved.