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Musicians Give Weddings a Heart Beat

Music brought Bob and Barbara LaValle together years ago as music majors at Western Connecticut State University, and it remains a large part of their lives. The founders of Heart Beat Dance Band, based in Easton, started the group in 1981 (originally called LaVal Musuc Service) to fill a niche in the wedding entertainment market.

"At the time, there were very few younger groups doing weddings because it wasn't maybe cool to do weddings for musicians. But we decided it's more important to make money and bring a young sound and a contemporary sound to the wedding scene," said Bob, who has been a music teacher at Helen Keller Middle School since 1980.

The group performs at weddings, corporate events, private parties and fundraisers. It did a show at the Easton Community Center gazebo last weekend, getting the crowd moving with their contemporary hits. Their son, Michael, played bass for the band.

"We get everybody up dancing, and that's what we're there to do," said Barbara. Her favorite part of being in the band is working with the brides.

"I talk to brides all day long, and it is their biggest day, I think, by far," Barbara said. "It's hugely important to them, and the band is hugely important to the success of every single wedding event that we do."

The pair ( and the other members of the group ) has an extensive resume. They have written original scores for Radio City Music Hall and soundtracks for documentaries, among pieces. Barbara, an experienced jingle singer, is lead vocalist and manager of Heart Beat. Bob is drummer and another lead vocalist.

"Although I'm sort of an unsung hero because I'm not up from and I'm not playing guitar, I look out into the audience and see everybody dancing and having a good time and smiling," said Bob. "That's what it's about."

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