Home of 1st Choice Music Services

Welcome to 1st Choice Music Services, serving Central Illinois clients since 1985.  
1st Choice Musicians entertain, create, engage, inspire, and support clients when their important life moments require live music. Lean on us for immediate, one on one supportive service, peace of mind, & award winning experienceBenefit from our decades of experience serving clients.   

E-mails, calls, or texts
 are answered the day they arrive. Your special event becomes our 1st priority until it's over!
 
We are well known for being highly responsive to all clients and have records and reviews to prove it. We communicate with clients regularly for months until their event ends.         

All photos on this page are 1st Choice Personal photos 

Events we assist & perform for are: weddings, civil unions, commitment ceremonies, memorial services, receptions, corporate events, concerts/recitals, touring back

up orchestras, birthday celebrations, school programs, churches, adult living centers, VA Hospitals, restaurants, hotels, commencement ceremonies, receptions or commencement ceremonies for 60 + university departments, orchestral and opera orchestras, 

and more.


1st Choice Music Services is an approved vendor with: The University of Illinois, US Government, Robert Allerton Park, Pear Tree Estate, Carle Foundation, Busey Bank, area country clubs (Champaign, Urbana, Lincolnshire, Stone Creek), hotels, adult living centers, Veteran's Hospitals. 

Find us on line: the Manta Business Directory, LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Wedding Mapper, Central Illinois Weddings, Wedding Wire, The Knot, Gathering Guide, 40 North/88 West Champaign Arts Council, area churches & bridal coordinators, ChamberofCommerce.com, & more. 


Cities where we have performed in Central Illinois include:
Arcola, Bloomington, Champaign, Charleston, Clifton, Covington(IN), Danville, Decatur, Farmer City, Gibson City, Gifford, Homer Lake, Lake of the Woods, Mahomet, Mattoon, Monticello, Morton, Normal, Paxton, Peoria, Pesotum, Philo, Rantoul, Savoy, Springfield, Tolono, Urbana, Villa Grove, Washington, & Watseka.

For your peace of mind, feel free to verify our reputation & references with: the Robert Allerton Park Wedding staff, church music directors & organists, wedding planners, caterers, florists, clergy, hotels, photographers, UI offices of the President, Chancellor, Provost, Alumni Association, & School of Music, plus the Champaign Urbana Symphony, Danville Symphony, Heartland Festival Orchestra, Sugar Creek Opera, & customers listed on this web site. 

  A 2016 Wedding Wire endorsement: "Barbara Hedlund of 1st Choice Music Services is a consummate  
  professional and I have referred brides to her for 
15 years. As a wedding planner, I must feel    
  comfortable   that 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 that they are a top
  professional in their field. All of those qualities describe Barbara and her work through 1st Choice
  Music Services." - 
Gwen Wilson Nuptiae, The Wedding & Event Planners

  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.
 
1st Choice Music Services helps plan your special event and engage professional musicians of the highest calibre to perform. Choose from string players, vocalists, pianists, organists, brass players, jazz combos, dance bands, bagpipers, harpists, folk music groupsand orchestras. As the only full time, full access, insured professional musician contracting service in Central Illinoiswe are an approved State of Illinois & US Government Central Contractor Registrant, & registered with DUNS. As the region's first source for music services, we specialize in musician contracting, searchand performance services to provide 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, a wedding music planning guide, and answers to many FAQ is available on this web site.

Letters of Agreement and Music Planning Template:  A wedding music letter of agreement and music request template may be downloaded from the bottom of this page. The template demonstrates the thorough planning process & care offered to every client. 
For questions on pricing options to help work within your budget, contact us at  Tel: 217-384-0874, No FAX 
E-mail: vcello1@comcast.net | 9AM-9PM CST Daily
  | All calls and communications will receive a response daily       


Our CEO's Awards 

Who's Who Listings: Marquis Directories of Who's Who in AmericaWho's Who in the MidwestWho's Who of American WomenWho's Who In American Universities, the International Who's Who in Music and Musicians DirectoryWho's Who in the World, the National Register'Who's Who in Executives and Professionals edition & America's Registry of Outstanding Professionals, plus Cambridge Directory for Who's Who Among Executive & Professional Women.

Multiple Awards: An Emmy for Best Music and four nominations for the WILL-TV Performance Documentary The Song and The Slogan; a shared Grammy, Tony and France's Grand Prix du Disque Awards for RCA's Porgy & Bess album and Broadway productions of Porgy & Bess & The Wiz, a shared Crystal Award of Excellence from the International Communicator Awards Committee for a WILL-FM live chamber music broadcast, a Woman of Distinction Award presented by the Girl Scouts of Central Illinois Councilfinalist for the Lifetime Achievement Ace Award 40 North ACE Awards celebrating accumulated successes of an individual for continued, outstanding support of the arts and extraordinary contributions  to the cultural life of Champaign County, an Illinois Council of Orchestras awards for Chamber Ensemble of the Year as BACH founder/administrator & Meritorious Service Award, a shared Illinois Council of Orchestras Heartland Festival Orchestra Award for Orchestra of the Year, an Illinois Governor's Arts Award nominee as Individual Artist & for Special Recognition, Chicago's NW Symphony Special Recognition for establishing the Paul Vermel Young Artist Scholarship, and "Cellist of the Week" by the Cello Heaven web site. 

                       _________________________________________________________________________________________________


Unsolicited reviews are below & under the links to “Client Raves & Reviews” 
__________________________________________________________________________________________________ 

 A Wedding Wire 5.0 Review   Quality of Service:  5.0  Responsiveness: 5.0  Professionalism: 5.0  Value: 5.0 Flexibility  - 

 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!"  

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

     1st Choice Photo           
  
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 - Wedding at Allerton Park  -  "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 and 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 & compassion throughout the process. 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, I know you take the         1st Choice Photo
best 
care of everyone involved (client and musician) every single time. I ALWAYS notice and 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." 

Mrs. Jennifer Dixson, former Executive Director, Danville Symphony Orchestra - “Barbara is an amazing asset to the DSO. She works as not only the Principal Cellist for our orchestra, 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 Gordy Wilson - Sottos/White 
Wedding and reception at Stone Creek Event Center (
October 2014 ) - WOW! 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 8:00PM provided a natural flow. Bravo, and 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."

2017 Memorial Service - "I was so comforted by your truly beautiful music - from the first note of Ashoken Farewell (A song I love and I 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. And 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

"Central Illinois Business" on WDWS Radio 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 | E-mail: vcello1@comcast.net | 9AM-9PM CST Daily |
 All calls and communications will receive a response daily       
                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Photo by Timothy Hartin used with permission