By Jill Tham

The flowers have been ordered, wedding bands selected and the seating chart is in its seventh draft but you have one thing left on your to-do list – choosing a song for your first dance. For many, choosing a song is about expressing the uniqueness of your relationship. These original pieces from Niagara’s leading musicians are sure to reflect your special bond.

“Before Sunrise” by Elton Lammie
Two years ago, Elton Lammie set out to write a classic love song that embodied both passion and anticipation. “I wanted to write a song from the standpoint of a person who falls in love with someone in an incredibly dynamic order,” states Elton. Elton accomplished just that. “Before Sunrise” is the kind of love song that would give Celine Dion chills down her spine.

Elton is an exceptionally multifaceted musician. Not only does he play a wide variety of instruments, but he also sings four different genres of music: rock, opera, Broadway and country. Elton’s vast talent of blending these genres together adds to his original sound; a flair he showcases in “Before Sunrise.”

In true Elton form, “Before Sunrise” can be described as Keith Urban meets Adele at an opera, as the track is both dramatic and soulful in its composition and execution. With approximately 20 original songs under his belt, “Before Sunrise” is the title track of Elton’s third album and his most treasured piece of writing.

His love story in song walks the listener through an instant desire that emerges when two individuals meet and develop a lasting relationship. “It’s the little things that make love last a lifetime. All of these thoughts and actions took place under the stars, before sunrise,” he describes.

“For the solo, I wanted to write an orchestration that metaphorically represents intimacy. So I wrote a specific melody for a brilliant classical cellist from Toronto. The solo represents exactly how I think music can be as passionate as anything physical,” says Elton.

If you are wanting a love ballad with a bit of edge to it, then “Before Sunrise” is the perfect song choice for your monumental day. “Before Sunrise” is available from iTunes. For a listing of upcoming shows and concerts visit eltonlammie.com

“Butterflies” by Hearts and Sounds
Can you recall a time when you felt butterflies in your stomach when you looked into the eyes of someone special? “Butterflies” by Niagara band Hearts and Sounds perfectly captures that feeling, allowing you to share it with your new spouse and your guests at your first dance.

The musical group, Hearts and Sounds, emerged from the cover band The Madhatters. “The Hearts and Sounds project was basically The Madhatters doing originals,” states Frank Pietrangelo, vocalist and keyboard player. “We made a record that sold a bunch of copies. We are very proud of our accomplishment,” adds Pietrangelo.

The cohesive sound that embodies Hearts and Sounds originates from a variety of musical influences. Hearts and Sounds is one of Niagara’s top bands and does not easily fit into one musical category. Often being compared to U2 and Coldplay, their music is a combination of pop, rock and easy listening.

Their self-titled debut album was adored by their fans and lead to musical opportunities for the group that included performing on stage alongside Bruce Springsteen, and opening for Usher and Smashmouth. Their song “Falling Down” was also featured in Canada’s first 3D movie Dead Before Dawn.

When asked how he came to write “Butterflies” Peitrangelo responded, “A great friend of mine asked me to write a song for the first dance at his wedding. That’s how I came up with “Butterflies.”
Admitting he wrote the song in 15 minutes, Pietrangelo states, “Sometimes song writing is challenging and other times it just flows right out onto the paper.”

“Butterflies” is a love song guaranteed to give you goose bumps. The melodic piano and vocals will make you think you are listening to one of John Mayer’s classic love songs. As the song goes, if your fiancé is “the sun on your rainy day,” then “Butterflies” will be the ideal song to seal your nuptials.

Hearts and Sounds can be found on iTunes. Follow on Twitter at @HeartsandSounds and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/heartsandsounds

Band Members: Frank Pietrangelo, Paul Gigliotti, Brett Bendo, Justin Richard

“Lost (In Your Eyes)” by The Black Flies
The Black Flies are one of Niagara’s most prized possessions in music. Their explosive folk rock sound that is filled with strong vocals and compelling melodies, is hard not to love. While often compared to Canadian legend Blue Rodeo, The Black Flies are the real deal when it comes to original music.

“Lost (in your eyes)” is one of the many remarkable tracks on the band’s third album, Roots and Roll.  The fresh guitar riffs and rich vocals are ideal for an intimate first dance between a bride and groom. One listen to the song and you will understand the motivation and meaning behind its composition. Band member Jeremy Vokey states, “It was the feeling of falling in love and the feeling of being in love that inspired me to write the song.” Vokey’s lyrics perfectly paint the picture of a long awaited relationship coming together. “I hope that people will get to experience the same feeling I got that inspired the song. It’s a special thing,” states Vokey.

The cruising feel of their music can at times be difficult to categorize as its sound draws from a range of genres and influences. Although Vokey admits the song could fit into different categories, he states “It’s just music to me. If I had to guess at what it would be called I would say ‘Folk Ballad,’” states Vokey.

One can easily be lost in the distinctive sound that encompasses The Black Flies’ music, making it the ultimate song choice for your first dance.

The song “Lost” can be sampled and purchased through cd baby and iTunes or visit myspace.com/theblackfliesmusic for more information.

Band members: Jay Forhan, Nathanial Goold, Chris Chudobiak, Jeremy Vokey

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10 Top First Dance Songs

According to Spotify, the ten most popular first dance songs from the last couple of years are:

“At Last” by Etta James
“I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz
“You Are the Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne
“All of Me” by John Legend
“Better Together” by Jack Johnson
“A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri
“Everything” by Michael Buble
“First Day of My Life” by Bright Eyes
“Then” by Brad Paisley
“Make You Feel My Love” by Adele

If you like the idea of using one of these popular songs, but aren’t too keen on playing the same old version, try a remake, such as the acoustic rendition of “At Last” by Jason Mraz.

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