‘Know your passion and start from there’
It is no surprise for Leicester and Johanna Lonzon to venture into something that they are most passionate about—music.
The couple, both music graduates, put up Impressions Music Ensemble in 2004 a year after they got married.
The two met in a music group, which they used to be part of—he, the flutist, while she, the soloist. They eventually formed their own group to better handle the business their own way.
“We wanted to have a very organized and professional group that would give the best quality of service to our clients,” Leicester, or Bong as friends call him, explains.
He recalls the time when there were only a few established music groups in the market unlike today where the number is continuously growing.
Bong shares that it wasn’t that hard for them to form the group. “You just need to get your musician friends … you also need contacts and most importantly you should have integrity.”
He adds that they make it their policy to accept limited number of events to make sure that everything is well-organized.
“We value artistic excellence more than the monetary reward,” Bong stresses.
Johanna shares that they are lucky to have friends in the catering business who, from the start, would refer them to clients.
“When we were just starting we didn’t have a constant market because we were still new and nobody knew our group. What we did was to invite clients over to our house and let them hear us play,” says Johanna, 37.
She adds that their target market is primarily weddings.
Although many Pinoys are musically inclined, Impressions takes pride in having musicians that are Conservatory graduates. The couple says “iba talaga when you’re conservatory-trained.”
“I also believe that if you are a music graduate your line of work should be in music as well, kaya sila yung mas inuuna kong kunin,” Bong, 31, explains, adding that another advantage is rehearsing a piece comes easy for them.
Bong finished Bachelor of Music major in flute from UST, while Johanna has a degree in Bachelor of Music major in music education and voice, cum laude, from St. Paul College of Manila.
Today, Impressions has a wide range of clientele and has expanded their market from weddings to corporate events, and even funerals during off-peak season.
Johanna says they’ve also performed in engagement parties as well as intimate occasions such as wedding proposals. On special occasions like Valentine’s, they also perform in restaurants to set the mood for a romantic ambiance.
Peak season is from “ber-ber” (September to December) months to February, but the couple says December is the busiest when they have bookings almost every day.
Thanks to social networking sites, Impressions is able to reach wider patrons within and outside Metro Manila.
They also take part in bridal fairs where would-be married couples get to hear them play. In a recent wedding fair alone, Johanna beams that they were able to book 11 events on the spot.
Bong says they offer packages for couples to choose from but they are also open to suggestions. “We can customize depending on the client’s requests,” he says.
A trio (piano, flute and violin) costs P12,000; Quartet is at P16,000 and Quintet P20,000, this includes performances during Mass/ceremony and the reception. P5,000 is added if the client asks for a singer.
Rates vary if the client opts to have the musicians play only during the mass or at the reception. Impressions can also provide a sextet, octet and even a 10-piece ensemble. Additional charges apply for out-of-town events.
Bong says they give big discounts for bookings made six months in advance.
Their repertoire includes classical, Broadway, popular, R&B and light jazz. If a client requests for a piece that is not in their list, an in-house arranger is on hand to help for a minimal fee.
Bong says more people today appreciate having live music during special occasions.
“The ambiance is really different when there is a live performance. It’s not a necessity but it has become a trend. Especially during wedding events, there are couples who would rather spend for live music than putting a lot for flowers and other decorations,” he adds.
The couple says they are also happy to meet new friends in the many events they get to perform in. Impressions performed at the wedding of singer/actress Carol Banawa to Ryan Crisostomo. Aiko Melendez is also a regular client.
Bong and Johanna are happy with the way their business is going right now but they also believe that they should keep on honing their craft to keep up with the times.
“Before, some of the most requested songs by the clients were ‘The Promise,’ ‘How Did You Know’ and ‘The Prayer’ but now they are gearing toward more modern songs or what we call alternative, like ‘Just The Way You Are’ by Bruno Mars, or songs by Coldplay,” shares Johanna.
Asked how it is to be working together as a couple, she says: “Masaya. Iba kasi when you work together as a team with the same interest. Two heads are always better than one. May naiisip siya na hindi ko naiisip and vice versa. We help each other out. Like his expertise is on the technical side of the business while I do research and reply to client’s e-mail inquiries, etc.”
Bong, on the other hand, has this to say to would-be entrepreneurs: “Know your passion and start from there. Because if you’re doing something that you love, you will not get tired of doing it over and over. And when your business booms, it is very important that your passion would not die down. Always give high regard to excellence and not to profit. That’s why integrity is also very important.”
Check out impressionsmusic.multiply.com, or call 09178969137.
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