Home of 1st Choice Music Services

View our Wedding Wire & The Knot 5.0 ReviewsQuality of Service: 5.0, Responsiveness: 5.0, Professionalism: 5.0, Value: 5.0, Flexibility 5.0

Welcome to 1st Choice Music Services, serving Central Illinois clients since 1985. Professional Musicians engage, entertain, inspire, & support clients when important life events require live music. Known as the regional "go to source" for live music, lean on us to receive immediate, one on one supportive service, peace of mind, skilled performers, expert, & award winning experience! Your special event becomes our 1st priority until it's over. Benefit from our decades of experience serving clients, impress your guests, & make your event a permanent, positive memory.

Family photo   

Reverend Cindy Shepherd presides at the wedding of  Erin Mitchell and Thomas Favot  1st Choice Music Personal photo
Wedding Wire endorsement by Gwen Wilson, Nuptiae, Wedding & Event Planner - retired: "Barbara Hedlund of 1st Choice Music Services is a consummate professional. I have referred brides to her for 5 years. As a wedding planner, I must feel comfortable a vendor I recommend will be a good value for a bride, that they will be willing to respond to communication and provide information in a timely manner, and they are a top professional in their field. All of those qualities describe Barbara and her work through 1st Choice Music Services."  More reviews are below & at this link Client rave reviews.

Call 217-384-0874 or e-mail us, & download a performance agreement & music request template at the bottom of this page. E-mails, calls, or texts are answered the day they arrive. Respected & endorsed for our artistry, quality of service, responsiveness, flexibility and reliability, we serve clients for months until their event ends. Our artists will not cancel just before your wedding day as students have done. We will respond to your cries for help & solve your problem.

Rev. Cindy Shepard

VIP Events 1st Choice Music Services produces & performs for: numerous University Presidents and Chancellors, Roger Ebert Film Festival, Suze Orman, Arnold Beckman, Isaac Stern, President Ronald Reagan, Illinois Governor's Thompson & Edgar, Governor Ryan's Inaugural Ball, Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Representative Tim Johnson, Douglas County Republican Central Committee, former White House Press Secretary James Brady, weddings, civil union/commitment ceremonies, memorial services, rehearsal dinners, receptions, corporate events, concerts, recitals (public & private), touring shows, birthday & anniversary celebrations, schools, churches, adult living centers, hospitals, restaurants, hotels, special events for 60 + UIUC departments, commencement, orchestras (symphony, choral, opera, theatre & ballet), bridal shows, recordings, film

 premieres, & more.

The agency is the only full time, full access, insured professional musician contracting service in Central Illinois. As a regional first source for music services, we specialize in musician contracting, search, and performance services offering immediate, experienced, caring, attentive customer service, and moral support until your special event ends. From first contact - the "get go" - we care about your needs & provide services. From your free first inquiry, planning information, policies, fees, instrument choices, a wedding music planning template & music planning guide, plus answers to many FAQ are available on this web site. Our director and a founding, active Urbana Public Arts & Culture Commissioner is a staunch advocate for local artists, culture, and education. 

1st Choice Music Services is a registered, approved vendor with: The University of Illinois, State of Illinois, a US Government Central Contractor Registrant, Allerton Park, Pear Tree  Estate, Carle Foundation, Busey Bank, country clubs (Champaign, Urbana, Lincolnshire, Stone Creek), hotels, adult living centers, Veteran's Hospitals, Manta Business Directory, LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Wedding Mapper, Central Illinois Weddings, Wedding Wire, Knot, Gathering Guide, 40 North/88 West Champaign Arts Council, ChamberofCommerce.com, area churches, bridal coordinators, DUNS, & more.

Verify our reputation with clients above plus: church music directors & organists, wedding planners, caterers, florists, clergy, hotels, photographers, UI clients, School of Music, Champaign Urbana Symphony, Danville Symphony, Heartland Festival Orchestra, Sugar Creek Opera, & customers listed on this web site.
Community Service: 1st Choice Artists give back to the community by volunteering for groups such as area in school and library family & young person programs, Co-op Nursery School, PTA, as Crossing Guards, Girl Scouts, Public Radio & TV, Urbana Nursing Home, City of Urbana Public Arts Commission, and philanthropic gifts to the Arcadia Chamber Players, Baroque Artists of CU, NW Symphony, UI College of Fine & Applied Arts/Library/School of Music, WILL-TV & FM Radio, Parkland College Theatre Department, CU Symphony, Danville Symphony, Sugar Creek Opera, Heartland Festival Orchestra, East Central Illinois Youth Orchestra, food banks, police, libraries, churches, medical, United Way, Public Arts Commission, and numerous community charities.
Agency History
Founded in 1985, sophisticated customers have trusted and relied on 1st Choice Music Services to create special ambiance and warm, positive memories with live music performed at their special event. The agency director will personally help plan your special event and engage professional musicians of the highest calibre. Our musicians live in the region, teach, and are recognized performers. Clients generally choose string players, vocalists, pianists, organists, brass players, jazz combos, dance bands, bagpipers, harpists, folk music groups, & orchestras. Regional international performers may be engaged - if they have proper CPT & OPT permission or green cards to work off campus. 

Cities where we have performed in Central Illinois  include: Arcola, Bloomington, Champaign, Charleston, Chrisman, Clifton, Covington (IN), Danville, Decatur, Farmer City, Gibson City, Gifford, Homer, Homer Lake, Lake of the Woods, Mahomet, Mattoon, Monticello, Morton, Normal, Paxton, Peoria, Pesotum, Philo, Potomac, Rantoul, Savoy, Springfield, Strasbourg, Tolono, Urbana, Villa Grove, Washington, & Watseka.  _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Unsolicited reviews are below & under the links to “Client Raves & Reviews” 

Mrs. Gloria Wilhelm  - Wedding Mass Holy Cross Catholic Church - "You are absolutely an invaluable resource for any bride and mother. I have already told many people about your services. Thank you very much for all your support, help, organization, & encouragement! You are the best!"

The Knot: 5 stars "Barbara is a dream to work with. She is a wonderful woman who loves her work  & creates beautiful music. She guided us through planning the ceremony and cocktail hour music and brought together a team of people who were equally talented and professional, creating a signature wedding event." -Thomas McKenna & Jillian Glawe

1st Choice Photo

Linda Hamilton:"My daughter's beautiful, perfect wedding had the BEST music of any wedding I’ve ever been to. Thanks to you! "

John Peeler wedding at West Side Park Gazebo - 
Their trio played at my wedding two years ago in West Side Park & did a great job! Hands down the BEST musicians money can buy!"

Shannon & Jordan Johnson - Wedding at Allerton Park  - "Of all the people we worked with to make this day possible, you were definitely the best.Your helpfulness and quick responses were greatly appreciated. Thank you  so much for making our wedding day wonderful!"  

Sarah Leach & Michael Frazier - Allerton Park Wedding - "Barbara Hedlund was so
great to work with & very responsive! We used an acoustic guitar player through her. He far exceeded my expectations..would definitely recommend!!" 

Janie Esposito (MOB) wedding & reception at Robert Allerton Park - "Everything was perfect! We had so many compliments in regards to your musicians. It made the wedding and reception just perfect.
I can't tell you how much we appreciate all you did. You are a class act!"

Hailey (Weber) Fowles & Matt Fowles - Wedding at Holy Cross Catholic Church  - "Thank you for all the preparation, correspondence & musical execution for our wedding ceremony. The music for the wedding was everything our families & guests could have hoped for. Also of note, thank you for your professionalism over the months leading up to our wedding."                          

Laurie Tucker "A Bride’s Best Friend" Bridal Consultant retired - “I want you to know how much it has meant to me to get to know and work with you. Your professionalism and humor in tough situations is wonderful. I always knew when I recommended you that my brides would not only receive wonderful ceremony & reception  music, but would also receive great care  and compassion throughout the process.      Sycamore Brass Quintet
I will continue to recommend you and sing your praises
whenever I can."  
Joseph Madden, Former Executive Director CU Symphony - "From my experience working with you,  know you take the best care of everyone involved (client and musician) every single time. I ALWAYS notice & appreciate it. Given all you do for your clients, I can't understand why anyone wouldn't follow through-- it's their loss. Your fully satisfied clients far outnumber people who are price shopping."

Dr. Chee Hyeon Choi, Piano Professor Bradley University 
Pear Tree Estate Wedding - "Your selection of music was excellent. I learned a variety of music, not to mention enjoying performing with you. The way you organized music and logistics was very efficient! More people should contact you for their service music!"
Dr. Brent Reifsteck & Kevin Burnside - Wedding at Stone Creek Country Club
Thank you for being a part of our celebration. Your hard work and attention to details were appreciated and reassuring. 

Sara Devine & Tony Steele -Wedding at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church “Barbara Hedlund was simply phenomenal - timely response to e-mails, caring, organized, efficient, conscientious. And most of all, she provided musicians of the highest caliber." 

1st Choice Music Services Quartet - Amanda Pond, Katarzyna "Tessa" Jaskowska, Maureen Murchie, Barbara Hedlund  1st Choice Music Personal photo
Mrs. Jennifer Dixson
, former Executive Director, Danville Symphony Orchestra - “Barbara is an amazing asset to the DSO. She works as not only the DSO Principal Cellist, but also functions to locate music and talent for the organization. Her commitment to music and education in the area has benefited Danville and Vermilion County beyond measure. We are always happy to refer Barbara to other organizations or individuals looking for music or assistance because we are confident in her capabilities and talent.”

Maestro David Commanday, Heartland Festival Orchestra - "Outstanding HFO Contractor/ Personnel Manager-thorough, conscientious, strong attention to detail, quick to respond, great communications, and ready to do what needs to be done - also my outstanding Principal Cellist. I really appreciate your conscientious, thorough, outstanding professional work!"

The late band leader/keyboardist/Music Director Gordy Wilson - Sottos/White 
Wedding and reception at Stone Creek Event Center
You really went above and beyond for this one! You couldn't have put together a better group! Quiet excellence and professionalism, zero attitude, no egos. They made my life easy after all the worry and flurry! Adding the two players at 8PM provided a natural flow. Bravo, & thank you!"

A Windsor of Savoy birthday client - "The special program to honor our mother's birthday went “superbly”. We want to thank the performers & you from the bottom of our hearts. Our mother was “transported”. We hoped the recital would prove to be a gift to our mother & Windsor of Savoy community - and it was."

Angela Overholt, former Life Enrichment Coordinator, The Windsor of Savoy -
"You were able to see my vision and make it come to life. Thank you so much for all your help and hard work making that happen!!"

Angelika Hustedt, Music Therapist at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (Danville, IL) & former Life Enrichment Coordinator, The Windsor of Savoy -  "Oh, I know you made a very positive impact. It was so well received (which has always been the case with you  and any of your performers)... Angela and I loved scheduling you... Always professional. Residents loved your music and any of your performers.  I really hope they have you back more often because you touch so many!! You do make a difference in their lives and make smiles on their faces! Trust me! I always enjoy it too."

Jami Bowles of THE APPLE DUMPLING FESTIVAL & Life Enrichment Coordinator, The Windsor of Savoy -"She is wonderful to work with, delivers talent beyond the imagination. "

Memorial Service
- "I was so comforted by your truly beautiful music - from the first note of Ashokan Farewell (A song I love & have never heard it played so well - it will haunt me for the rest of my life) to the last notes of Celtic Farewell. We received a thousand compliments from the performance we were treated to. It made our most sorrowful day bearable. 
I don't have the words to thank you properly, but please know you were a great help in our hour of need. THANK YOU."   - Pat Monahan

Wedding - "Thank you for the beautiful music you provided for our daughter's wedding. Everything about it was exceptional!  Your music performance was all what we have envisioned and been dreaming about for our daughter's wedding! " - Lolita Wiggins

Wedding - "As coordinator of the Van Riper-Hooberman wedding at Allerton Park, I am absolutely delighted to be working with you again. I am certain the event will be flawless with you on the team! " - Katie Gerber, Coordinator Perfect Glow Weddings     

2018 Wedding at Pear Tree Estate - "Thank you so much for your emails, meeting on Saturday, and for working on Alexandra’s favorite songs. We truly appreciate you going above and beyond to make our wedding an unforgettable moment." Remy Braconnot & Alexandra Ayers

"Central Illinois Business" on WDWS Radio Interview with host Alex Ruggieri, featured 1st Choice Music Services on (3.19.2011) (begin @27 min. 30 secs) Used with permission by Alex Ruggieri, CI Business Host 

Music Studio - 505 Eliot Drive, Urbana, IL 61801- 6727 | Tel: 217-384-0874| No Fax
9AM-9PM CST | All calls and communications will receive a response the same day 
E-mail: vcello1@comcast.net | www.barbarahedlund.com | Find us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube      


Download a Wedding Music Letter of Agreement and Music Request Template below or on the Wedding Fees page. 
he template demonstrates the thorough planning process & care offered to  every client.  

Check the left index on this page for more information or use these quick tabs below.