All around musician offering voice, guitar, piano, bass, mandolin, and banjo. My performances are intimate and genuine and bring a touch of personal connection as well as musical excellence to your event. I'm very versatile and am willing to customize the set list for your event with nearly any song you want prepared at a high level: I've done everything from Elvis to Cloud Cult to Schubert to Macklemore!
If you're looking to make your event even more special, I also offer composition, songwriting, and arrangement services so you can have brand-new, never before heard music that is just right for the occasion. Let me know how I can make event as memorable and exceptional as possible.
When our family first contacted Paul about leading my mom's Celebration of Life, we knew he had a gift for music composition and performance, but didn't realize the depth of experience and breadth of feeling he would bring to our evening. Paul gently worked with us through our grief as we selected music that would honor someone dear to us. He developed a set list that had everything we needed; joy, tenderness, silliness (ask him about Thrift Shop), longing, and of course, love for one another. Paul's music had us singing, crying, dancing, drinking (we are a little Irish), and rejoicing. Paul's ability to improvise wtih an impromptu violin was very touching. At the end of the evening, I felt I had "left it all on the floor." Paul helped me and my family express it all; only the most compassionate and talented of professionals can make that happen. Paul has our highest recommendation. He's awesome! We are greateful and wish him every success.
This is a long-winded review. The reader's digest version is this: If you want an amazing accompanist, event music planner, or top-notch performer look no further. You have found the right fit with Paul Winchester Music.
Paul worked with us to provide music for our wedding on Sept 2, 2017. Right from the get-go, Paul was supportive and flexible with helping us find the music that was the best match for our wedding service. Lots of laughs and the easing of wedding-related tension occurred in Paul's presence when music planning. We knew that if planning our music could be this great with Paul, the actual event would be stellar.
The music for our wedding was beyond stellar. The final result brought our wedding guests to tears-- of course we were crying during the ceremony as well (for multiple reasons). Paul's music wrapped us and our guests in this love-filled embrace, allowing the flow of all those wedding feels to gush out, unapologetically and honestly. Paul worked,rehearsed. and preformed with our people of honor (violinist, vocalist who did harmony, guitarist-- all except the violist are not professional musicians) on a cover of Cloud Cult's "Meet Me Where You're Going." This has apparently become a popular wedding song-- several friends who have been wedding hopping the past year let us know this. But they followed this comment up with: "and your wedding's version of the song was by far the best."
Paul also accompanied our younger cousin by piano - after only having the music score a couple days before the wedding (this was a last minute change)- on a french love song that kicked off our wedding with a bang. This speaks to Paul's adaptability. As non-traditional brides, we did not want to march in during the typical wedding march, so we asked Paul to improvise a "joyful, slightly upbeat, yet somewhat pensive" piano piece for us to walk in to (and out of) the sanctuary to. It was lovely, to say in the least. Paul was able to time the music perfectly to what was happening during the service.
Paul also did some low-key DJ-ing for our reception dance. He was fun and energetic, accepting requests from my music controlling brother, young cousins who weren't sure what they wanted, and fun songs that fit across generations-- all of our grandmas loved him :)
This personalized attention to our wedding event music made our day that much more special. When we do the next life-step things we will be sure turn to Paul for more music epic-ness!
Price Range: Please contact for rates
Gig Length: 20 - 300 minutes
What to Expect
In booking me for an event, you get a consummate music professional. What that means is you can be as involved or hands off as you like in the music preparation and either way, you will get a first-rate performance.
If you want to be heavily involved in the planning, I am capable of arranging, preparing, and performing just about any song in a way that is appropriate to your event. This includes performing the classics, but also more outside-the-box requests, such as turning Elvis' "Blue Hawaii" into a romantic piano ballad for a wedding, performing Macklemore's "Thrift Shop" with a beat supplied by the audience at a celebration of life, and arranging the Star Wars Cantina Band theme for string quartet for a reception. I will be in clear communication throughout so that you have a solid sense of expectations and direction to ensure that those match your original desires. Finally, if your goals involve multiple musicians, whether those be other professionals or friends and family who want to be involved in the event, I'm well-practiced in both leading and collaborating with musicians of all varieties and ability levels.
On the other hand, if you don't have specific ideas in mind for the musical content of your event, you can simply hand the reigns over to me and trust that you will get a quality set list that is artfully performed. Your initial input could range from a feeling to a theme to a single song that you want me to build a set or program around. From there, I will pull together songs that fit that initial direction, all while keeping in communication with you to ensure that our interpretation of the vision is the same.
In the planning process, I am also very flexible, and I understand that life events or even just last-minute realizations can mean late changes to the musical content. Even up until a few days before the even, I am generally able to accommodate any reasonable request, ensuring that you get the music you most want, and not locking you into what you thought you wanted months before.
On the day of the event, I will arrive prepared and composed, and present myself in a manner best fitting with the tone of your event. For more somber gatherings, you will receive the utmost professionalism and respect from me. If you want a more casual feel to the day, I'm also perfectly happy to mingle, chat with guests or family members, and "blend in," all while maintaining a professional air. The performance itself will, of course, be technically and musically well-prepared, but also have a feel of sincerity with a genuine and personal connection to your audience and the spirit of your event.
I've been working as a professional musician for over 10 years now, serving as a worship leader, singer, actor, accompanist, fill-in player, composer, arranger, pianist, guitarist, producer, conductor, and many other roles.
I received my B. Mus. in Music Composition from The College of Wooster in 2011, where I also received the Pi Kappa Lambda music prize. During that time I also worked as a choral scholar for First Presbyterian Church of Wooster, OH, the music coordinator for the College of Wooster Office of Interfaith Campus Ministries, and as an independent gigging musician and music teacher. In 2013, I received my M. Mus. in Music Composition from Syracuse University, where I received the Brian Israel Prize in Composition and the College of Visual and Performing Arts Masters Prize. I also continued my work as an independent gigging musician while also serving as a performer or music director for two campus ministries and two area churches.
I have performed as an actor, singer, and instrumentalist. As an actor, I've held roles such as Avram in "Rags" at Interlochen Arts Academy, Gaston in "Beauty and the Beast," Man 2 in "Songs for a New World," and Cliff in "Cabaret." I have performed and recorded with numerous bands such as The Winchester and Weaver Family Band, Freddie Cool, and Shivogitt as a bassist, guitarist, and vocalist, and have also performed in several pit bands for musicals such as "The Music Man," "Tick, Tick…Boom!," and "Seussical." I am currently a member of The Singers: Minnesota Choral Artists.
In addition to my music career, I am also a professional game developer. I'm currently freelancing after working for 3 years with Fantasy Flight Games in Roseville, where I served on the development team for and subsequently served as lead designer and producer for the product line of Star Wars: Imperial Assault, winner of the 2016 Board Game of the Year Origin Award.
I am currently the Music Director of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Minnetonka, where I accompany services and perform most weeks on voice, piano, and/or guitar and lead a vibrant group of congregational musicians in both classical and popular music.
Sets can be customized to fit the need of any given occasion. Popular choices that I have performed throughout the years include:
All You Need is Love - The Beatles
Born To Fly - Sara Evans
Can't Help Falling In Love With You - Elvis Presley
First Day of My Life - Bright Eyes
Hallelujah - Leonard Cohen
Homeward Bound - Simon and Garfunkel
I Can See Clearly Now - Johnny Nash
In My Life - The Beatles
Isn't She Lovely - Stevie Wonder
Joy to the World - Three Dog Night
Let It Be - The Beatles
The Luckiest - Ben Folds
Meet Me Where You're Going - Cloud Cult
Rainbow Connection - The Muppet Movie
Sound of Silence - Simon and Garfunkel
Take Me Home - Pentatonix
Tears in Heaven - Eric Clapton
When I'm 64 - The Beatles
Wind Beneath My Wings - Bette Midler
Closer to Fine - Indigo Girls
Forever Young - Bob Dylan
Poor Wayfaring Stranger - Traditional
Shenandoah - Traditional
Slumber, My Darling - Stephen Foster
Fly Me To the Moon - Frank Sinatra
I Get a Kick Out of You - Frank Sinatra
My Funny Valentine - Rodgers and Hart
What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
The Way You Look Tonight - Frank Sinatra
You Make Me Feel So Young - Frank Sinatra
10 Minutes Ago - Cinderella
Bring Him Home - Les Miserables
The Girl That I Marry/My Defenses Are Down - Annie Get Your Gun
I Dreamed a Dream - Les Miserables
Lida Rose - The Music Man
Master of the House - Les Miserables
Seasons of Love - Rent
Somewhere Over the Rainbow - The Wizard of Oz
Ave Maria - Franz Schubert
Forever Young - John Corigliano
Frühlingsglaube - Franz Schubert
The Lord's Prayer - Albert Hay Malotte
Nacht und Träume - Franz Schubert
On Eagle's Wings - Michael Joncas
And many, many more!
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