Breakers’ Dream Maker: Valerie Romanoff
By 11-years-old, Valerie Romanoff has played an array of instruments, mastered the electric guitar and considered herself a musician – knowing full well there was no other job she’d rather hold. Now the CEO of Starlight Orchestras in New York, the guitarist, composer and producer is living the dream and making dreams come true.
After college I got involved in the music scene in New York City, and soon found there was a need for good quality music for weddings. Our band developed a style that was unique to the wedding industry, and we created a prototype that became Starlight Orchestras,” Valerie says. “Our entire approach was based on the challenge ‘How good can it get?’ And we continue, 20 years later, making it better still with every single wedding.”
Q: What is it like performing at an event at The Breakers?
A: I will never forget the first time I performed at the Breakers. We had come from New York and were in the ballroom doing a sound check in the afternoon before the event. The band assembled onstage, and we began singing and performing “Lovely Day,” by Bill Withers. All of a sudden, across the room, a wall of curtains began opening! And there before us was the vast ocean; slightly turquoise, sparkling in the sun, bouncing with waves not 5 feet from the window. I caught my breath; I could not believe the power, the majesty and the beauty. Those qualities are evident throughout the hotel and banquet spaces. The Breakers is one of my most favorite places to perform.
Q: Where does your inspiration come from?
A: My inspiration comes from the excitement and the “energy” surrounding a party. We, as bandleaders, feel this excitement brewing, and can sense what songs and musical choices the crowd will love. The interaction between the musicians and the guests is like magic; something new and different is created every time. I am also inspired by the musicians and performers I work with, and the joy that happens when we are onstage together.
Q: How does The Breakers history and architecture inspire you and your events?
A: Driving up to the entrance of The Breakers I often envision the grand parties of times past, and I am inspired to recreate moods with music that reflect different times in our history. For example, at a recent Charity Gala at The Breakers I had 10 violins lining the corridor as guests first arrived, and we performed a repertoire reminiscent of a Palace Ball at Versailles. I could see how our music affected the emotions and even the stature of many of the partygoers. It was exciting!
Q: Do you have a favorite ballroom to perform in?
A: The Breakers has ballrooms in a wide variety of sizes and styles. The Starlight Orchestras are a great match because our ensembles also come in a wide variety, and pair well with the options available at the hotel. We have small trios that can play in the courtyard, six piece jazzy combos perfect for a dinner dance in the Magnolia Room, a 10 piece dance band for a wedding in the Venetian Ballroom, or a 15 piece blow-out party band rocking the Ponce de Leon room for one of Palm Beach’s top galas.
Q: What’s the most important piece of advice you can offer a bride and groom?
A: Try to really enjoy your wedding is to be in the moment! My advice to our brides and grooms is to choose your team of wedding professionals and do all the planning ahead. Communicate fully in the months and weeks before your wedding, and then on the big day, just let it go and be in the romance, the magic, and the fun!
Q: How does a wedding at The Breakers differ from those at other venues?
A: I recently was a guest at an event at The Breakers and the service, the ambiance, the food, and the staff blew me away! There are so many wonderful things about being part of the team when I work there, but being a guest showed me the other side, and increased my appreciation of the venue.
More: Meet all The Breakers’ Dream Makers in our Spotlight With A Guru