Milwaukee startup innovates the way couples plan and book music for weddings

Jared Judge and Amanda Brittain, UWM graduate students in music, have started a business that connects event planners with musicians. They will be competing in the 2016 Student Startup Challenge. (UWM Photo/Troye Fox)

Founded by an orchestra conductor-turned-software-developer, Dream City Strings uses algorithms to organize teams of local musicians to play weddings

MILWAUKEE, WI – March 5, 2018 – Local Milwaukee startup, Dream City Strings, is gaining attention throughout the Greater Milwaukee area as the go-to resource for booking wedding musicians, having recently won WeddingWire’s 2018 Couple’s Choice Award and The Knot’s 2018 Best of Weddings Award. Their services will be on full display at the WedMKE wedding showcase at Turner Hall on March 11th, and will be featured on local Shark Tank-esque show, Project Pitch It on March 17th.

Dream City Strings was founded in June 2016 by local Milwaukeean and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee-trained orchestra conductor, and Student Startup Challenge alum, Jared Judge and Eastman School of Music graduate Keaton Viavattine.

Over the past year and a half, Judge and Viavattine have been changing the way couples integrate music into wedding ceremonies and receptions. With a roster of more than 85 classically trained, talented musicians based in three cities – Milwaukee, Chicago, and Rochester – Dream City Strings provided ensembles for more than 90 weddings in 2017 alone. Another 70 couples have already signed on for 2018 as of March 5.

“It’s an incredibly exciting time for us as we have one wedding season under our belts, and the response we have gotten from the couples we have worked with is overwhelmingly positive,” says Jared Judge, CEO and CTO of Dream City Strings. “We truly believe that our service fills a void by leveraging technology to allow our customers to connect with top-notch, fully-vetted string quartet performers who deliver beyond expectations.”
Though Judge is a trained orchestra conductor and an accomplished violinist, he’s also a self-taught programmer. He started developing software for fun in middle school and refined his skills over the years on the side. It wasn’t until he got stiffed after playing a wedding in college that he decided to combine his programming skill with his love of music to prevent similar outcomes in the future.

So he built a platform to do exactly that, and what began with a small handful of local musicians, has now expanded into three markets. Judge plans to keep that growth going.

“As the platform started gaining momentum, we quickly realized that cuts to federal funding for arts have actually severely limited the number of performance opportunities available for classically-trained musicians,” Judge said. “Violinists, cellists, violists, flutists – they need a platform like Dream City Strings to connect them with wedding and event planners. There are fewer and fewer opportunities for these musicians to perform with the skills they’ve honed over many years of hard work in conservatories and classrooms, but there are still plenty of people who would love to hear them make music. It’s my mission to bridge the gap between the two.”

Dream City Strings employs a number of proprietary algorithms to provide its customers with a great experience as they plan their big day.

Here’s how it works:

– Couples take Dream City Strings’ music style quiz, which generates a one-of-a-kind playlist for their wedding
– Couples are instantly shown pricing and availability for specific packages to book musicians, ranging from soloists up to quartets for each portion of the wedding (ceremony, cocktail hour, etc.)
– Once they select a package, they are matched with vetted, classically-trained musicians to perform at their wedding
– An event planning algorithm automates communications between planners and musicians regarding set lists and event logistics
– Sit back and enjoy the show

An audition algorithm based on Judge’s experience as an orchestra conductor helps the company vet and employ musicians who consistently perform at the highest level to ensure top-quality talent is always available.

“Dream City Strings played for our wedding reception and I would not hesitate to book them again,” said Deborah R, who used Dream City Strings for her wedding in 2017. “The musicians are excellent and are so much more than background music. They really set the mood and were first rate.”

While weddings are the primary service, Dream City Strings also offers unique packages for corporate retreats and events. For more information about Dream City Strings, please visit or connect with them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

About Dream City Strings

Dream City Strings is a collective of highly-talented classically-trained musicians, and each auditioned musician is equipped with the tools to craft a perfect performance every time. The company’s philosophy is simple: harness the power of technology to make the music booking and planning experience as easy and enjoyable as possible while maintaining the highest artistic values. With the mission of providing unparalleled service in the music industry, Dream City Strings is constantly innovating to ensure a superior booking, planning, and performance experience.

Read the original article from BizTimes here.