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The story of Retrospect began in Silver Spring, Maryland, with a group of friends and family from Montgomery County. Some of us had recently earned music degrees, some were still in school, others were working in other fields. But we shared a desire to perform, and a desire to create a band that was better than those we had seen locally.

Our choice of music was shaped by the many diverse musical tastes and influences within the band, resulting in the decision to play all of those styles, big band, pop, rock, Motown, even country music.

Rehearsals were always either in Linda and Larry’s apartment, or in the band room of the school where Pete taught music. Because our focus from the beginning was on excellent multi-part vocal harmonies, rehearsals were necessary and frequent.

Having no idea what types of parties or venues were best suited to us, we sought our first gig by placing an ad in a local newspaper advertising our availability for New Year’s Eve. The first ad response was a request to play a wedding reception that evening, we agreed, and thus began our career as a “wedding band.”

One of our means of presenting ourselves to the public was through The Wedding Pages, a now-defunct print magazine for brides-to-be. We ran an expensive full page ad, as did most of the booking agencies in town. As with everything else we did, it was different from all the others – no images, just text – and it attracted a lot of attention, especially from certain other advertisers.  See the full text of that ad at the bottom of this page.

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Once upon a time, in a far away place called Silver Spring, Maryland, some musicians got together and decided to form a new band – one that would be different from all the other bands, one that would be better than all the other bands.

But how could a band be different and better?

The musicians decided that, to be better, their band would play not just one style of music, but all styles of dancing music from the 1940s to the present. And they would play each style of music authentically, just the way each was originally performed.

Other musicians said not to bother with that – no one else does.

The musicians didn’t listen. They decided to use more instruments and more singers for better versatility in reproducing songs in their original style. So they became a nine piece band, not the typical five pieces.

Other musicians said not to bother with that – no one else does.

Eventually, It was decided that three of the nine musicians, one male and two female, should be specialists in the art of singing. Vocalists. The best vocalists. Not just instrumentalists who happen to sing.

Other musicians said not to bother with that – no one else does.

Then the new band insisted that their music should be quieter than other bands, so that people of all ages would be able to enjoy their music. So people could listen and enjoy a conversation at the same time.

Other musicians said not to bother with that – no one else does.

It was then decided that the new band would like most of all to play music at wedding receptions, where people would really appreciate their ability to play many different styles of music authentically, and not too loudly.

Other musicians laughed. You’ll never get to play any good music at wedding receptions, they said.

Not only will we play good music at wedding receptions, said the new band, we’ll also learn to make every wedding reception run smoothly, and make every wedding reception fun. And they did. Then they said, each and every wedding must always be the most important performance we’ve ever done. And each was. And each still is.

A True Story

Even to this day, they just don’t understand. They probably never will.

And Retrospect lived happily ever after.

Other musicians laughed. Weddings are yucky, they said.

Then, to be really different, the new band decided to never book themselves through talent agents. Never ever. They knew that if they could show their new ideas directly to potential clients, they would find more than enough demand for a new and better band, without the inconvenience of a middleman.

Wow! Other musicians really laughed at this idea. Nobody but nobody can get work without an agent, they said..

But the musicians wouldn’t listen,and went ahead with their plans anyway. What would they call their new band? The band was called “Retrospect,” to reflect the nature of the music – all styles back through time. The name Retrospect became a Registered Trademark.

And soon the band became one of the Washington DC area’s most popular and successful bands. By playing all styles of music. Authentically. By using more instruments, and better musicians and better singers. By not playing too loudly. By specializing in wedding receptions since the beginning. By making each wedding the most important, the most fun, with the best music.

Other musicians were astonished.

They just couldn’t understand how Retrospect could be so popular. What did Retrospect do that they didn’t do?

And talent agents were astonished.

They just couldn’t understand how Retrospect could be so successful. What did Retrospect do to get work?


One agency offered us a gig, but said we would have to play under a different name – “Deep Blue C” or something like that. When I asked what happened to that band, the agent said there is no such band, but he had told the client that’s who would be playing for him. He offered to print business cards with the name. We refused to play his game.

This went on and on, until we had racked up one really bad experience with just about every agency in town. One year after we started, we called a band meeting, where it was decided that we would either book ourselves without agencies, or we would get out of the business.

Other musicians were greatly amused by this idea. Hell, everybody knows the agencies have all the work. You’ll be out of business in no time, they said.

Since then, there’s been a lot of hard work involved in the success of the band, and there have been ups and downs along the way. But through it all, we continue to treat each and every wedding as the most important performance we’ve ever played. With well over a thousand weddings under our belts, we can confidently say that our radical ideas for a wedding band have worked out pretty well.

As we’ve done for years, Retrospect still continues to raise the industry bar for performance practices, for booking practices, and for customer service in the Washington DC area and well beyond.

We invite you to become a part of our continuing story, and make us a part of the evolving story of your own wedding. Read about the many happy couples who are recent additions to our family and our story.

Despite the derision of other musicians, many of whom considered wedding receptions to be the lowest form of musical work, we sought out more weddings. Unlike the bars and nightclubs where those musicians played, our work environment seemed to be consistently pleasant.

And we definitely enjoyed playing for people who were at the happiest time of their lives. What could be better? Life was good. For a while, anyway.

Then, on the advice of musician friends, we sought out local music agencies as a way to get more bookings. But each time we accepted a booking from an agency, the business transaction did not meet our standards for ethical business practices.

In one case, we found out at the gig that the client was told by the agent that we would play fifty percent country music, even though the agent knew that we had less than a dozen country songs available at the time.

In another case, a client showed us their contract, and they had paid way more than the agent told us they paid. The agent was trying to keep a 50% commission, while telling us he was only keeping 20%. For more about this sleazy trick, see our page For Band Leaders Only.

Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do, and what is right to do. - Potter Stewart You have competition every day because you set such high standards for yourself that you have to go out every day and live up to that. - Michael Jordan

Well, the naysayers could not have been more wrong. We presented our better band directly to the public through bridal fairs, open concerts and demo sessions.

No more agents. No more middlemen. Our calendar filled quickly. Life was good again.

Then we found out that when you challenge the status quo, the decades-old domination of the music business by the agencies, you’re looking for trouble. Big trouble. How could they stand idly by while making no money from this new independent band?

What if this crazy idea spread to other bands?

The ad didn’t sit well with the music agencies, so a group of them got together and agreed to call the publisher to demand that we be banned from future issues for the unfair practice of… booking without an agent.

Their demand was backed up by the threat to pull all their ads from the magazine en masse. Today they would be called crybullies.

At the prospect of losing a lot of annual revenue, the publisher caved to their demand, and much to our surprise, locked us out with barely an apology.

We shrugged this off, because we had spent way too much money buying that full page ad anyway.

Unfortunately, now the sharks smelled blood in the water. Their next targets were bridal fair producers.

Again, the exact same tactics – threats to pull all the various agency exhibits from the wedding shows if Retrospect was allowed to have an exhibit.

Fortunately, this ploy only worked on one show producer, one time.

Wedding guests dance to the music of Retrospect Band at a rooftop venue overlooking the Lincoln Memorial. Retrospect Band group photo in informal attire Retrospect Band's facebook page highlights recent weddings and parties
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Retrospect Band logo Retrospect Band received Weddingwire's coveted 2017 Couple's Choice award Retrospect Band received Washingtonian's Best Wedding Vendor Award for 2017 Retrospect Band's facebook page highlights recent weddings and parties Retrospect Band's youtube page

2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013,
2014 , 2015, 2016 and 2017  
“Couple’s Choice” awards.

Washingtonian Magazine
2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017
  “Best Wedding Vendor”

Larry Elliott, band leader
3429 Huntsman’s Run
Ellicott City, MD  21042

© 2017 Retrospect Band

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