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Benfield Blog

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Interview with Cello by Austin



The blog contains little bits of my life, my passions, and my work. I update it daily so there is always something new to come see.





I recently got to interview my new buddy Austin from Cello by Austin about all things weddings. He’s such a great dude and had a lot of interesting things to share! I hope you give this a watch! Also, if you’re looking for music for your wedding ceremony, I 100% recommend Cello by Austin (check him out on Instagram)!



Video Transcript for the interview with Cello by Austin

Dale (Benfield Photography)
Hey, everybody. I’ve got Austin Hendricks here. You might know him by cello, by Austin. Is that right?

00:00:06:20 – 00:00:07:06
Austin (Cello by Austin)
That’s correct.

00:00:08:22 – 00:00:10:23
Dale (Benfield Photography)
And we’re going to talk about some wedding stuff today.

00:00:20:24 – 00:00:22:03
Dale (Benfield Photography)
Hello, Austin. How are you, sir?

00:00:22:20 – 00:00:25:17
Austin (Cello by Austin)
Good. I’m glad to be here.

00:00:25:22 – 00:00:51:22
Dale (Benfield Photography)
Nice. So we started doing some weddings together. I’m shooting these weddings, and all of a sudden, I hear, like, this beautiful music behind me. I’m like, Wow, this is going on. I turn around and there you are. And from that day, like, you’ve been now at multiple weddings. I love the weddings that you get to play that I’m shooting because I know I’m in for like a really nice, emotional, beautiful time ceremony.

00:00:52:03 – 00:00:55:20
Dale (Benfield Photography)
So welcome to the wedding world.

How long have you been doing Cello by Austin?

00:00:57:00 – 00:01:19:19
Austin (Cello by Austin)
Oh, goodness. I played my first wedding when I was 13 years old, which is a long time ago. But I would say that I like really started authentically pursuing, like, I want to play cello at weddings, probably. I mean, it’s it was fluid, but there is a there was a point where it finally, like, kind of took off.

00:01:19:21 – 00:01:33:16
Austin (Cello by Austin)
And I went I would say I like sort of directly pursuing it probably somewhere around like 20, 19 or so so not that long ago honestly. So have more than half the weddings I’ve played in my entire life have been in the past three years.

00:01:34:17 – 00:01:38:10
Dale (Benfield Photography)
That’s crazy. But awesome. So how many weddings are you up to now?

00:01:39:20 – 00:01:45:11
Austin (Cello by Austin)
I think so. I love to keep track of things, and I think that I’m at 104 or five.

00:01:45:23 – 00:01:48:02
Dale (Benfield Photography)
So you’ve passed the 100 mark?

You’ve done more than 100 weddings?

00:01:48:06 – 00:01:56:11
Austin (Cello by Austin)
I pass a hundred, right. What’s fun is that my very last wedding of 20, 21 was my wedding. I never it was fun.

00:01:56:20 – 00:01:57:21
Dale (Benfield Photography)
Dude, that’s so cool.

00:01:58:18 – 00:02:15:21
Austin (Cello by Austin)
Yeah, I’ve loved it. It’s been a blast and I feel very, very fortunate to be doing what I’m doing. I honestly had hoped that I could be doing cello to the extent that I am. But like as a kid taking lessons, you never really know what’s going to happen. And so I feel really fortunate and it’s a bit of like proud.

00:02:16:06 – 00:02:24:14
Austin (Cello by Austin)
I feel proud that like I didn’t just like quit cello is something I had as a kid. And here I am doing it at weddings almost every weekend. So it’s a blast.

Tell us how Cello by Austin started.

00:02:25:02 – 00:02:34:23
Dale (Benfield Photography)
Well, let’s talk about you as a kid for a second. Tell me why you started. How how did that come about playing the cello? Did you pick it and apparent pick it or what?

00:02:36:10 – 00:02:56:18
Austin (Cello by Austin)
Yeah. I mean, I grew up in a pretty musical family. My mom, at least, is very musical. And I actually started playing violin seven and like about that time where like in the year after, my family was on a road trip and we visited some friends who one of their sons played cello and we were like having fun one evening and he got it out.
He was a good deal older than I was, and he was playing it. I got like, see it in person, like right in front of me. And interact with the cello. It was the first one I’d ever done that. I said to Mom, this is the coolest thing ever. I want to do that. And my mom loves cello, so she’s like, Awesome, let’s do it.

How Old Were You When You Started Playing Cello?

So she got my cello lessons. And so I started when I was about nine, and I just I guess I stuck with it. I, I was, I was homeschooled actually growing up, but as a seventh grader I got to start playing in the high school, the public high school orchestra, which is a really great outlet for me. And then the town I grew up in opened like a youth civic orchestra, civic youth orchestra.
So I played in that as a kid. I did first year for a while. And, and so I did that all throughout the rest of high school, I guess you could say, and which is a ton of fun. And then I just continued on into college. I like took some lessons in college a little bit. I tend to jump on a university but in college, when I kind of started playing at weddings here and there and it was like, Hey, we’re getting married. Come play our wedding.
And then it was like this friend or this friend of a friend is getting married. And then before I knew it, it was kind of like, I don’t know any of these people, actually. Wow.

The Natural Transition into the Wedding World

00:04:06:05 – 00:04:12:11
Dale (Benfield Photography)
And oh, that’s awesome. So that was a very organic, like, natural transition into the wedding world.

00:04:12:17 – 00:04:37:17
Austin (Cello by Austin)
Oh, yeah. Yeah. Like, it was it was definitely just like, hey, you play cello, I’m getting married, and you’re my good friend. I want you to play at my wedding and that was like, totally cool and normal. And then people would be like, Hey, I’ll give you a little check. And I get like, 75 bucks. I thought I was a little saying, you know, when you’re like 90 and you’re like, Oh my gosh, like, and then I was like, maybe I could charge, like, $100 to play to it, you know?

00:04:37:17 – 00:04:42:01
Austin (Cello by Austin)
Which is, like, hilarious to think of an amazing guy. Right? Yeah.

00:04:43:00 – 00:04:43:21
Dale (Benfield Photography)
But fun.

00:04:44:01 – 00:04:45:09
Austin (Cello by Austin)
Anyway, I’m trying to think.

00:04:45:21 – 00:04:52:23
Dale (Benfield Photography)
I’m picturing in my mind nine-year-old Austin playing the cello because it’s a big instrument.

00:04:53:07 – 00:04:54:07
Austin (Cello by Austin)
Yeah. And I.

00:04:55:00 – 00:04:56:07
Dale (Benfield Photography)
Have the biggest arms.

Do they Make Cellos for Kids?

00:04:57:03 – 00:05:18:16
Austin (Cello by Austin)
Know I’m like five-six, so I’m still a pretty short adult so I definitely it’s different for me, but I started it on a quarter-sized cello. This is like big on my Instagram. So now I’ll do it as a little kid. And then I went to a half-sized cello. And then when I was 13, I was growing fast enough that my teacher was like, Let’s just bump up to a full size. It’ll be a little bit, it’ll be a little big for a minute, and then he’ll grow into it. And what’s funny is that that’s actually the cello that I still have. So I got that when I was 13. So. Wow. Oh, math. That was like almost 17 years ago. Yeah, that’s what.

00:05:33:18 – 00:05:37:12
Dale (Benfield Photography)
Awesome man. I didn’t know they made half-size and quarter-sized cellos.

00:05:37:20 – 00:05:44:12
Austin (Cello by Austin)
Yeah, they make like a 32nd size. It looks like a giant violin, but I know my cousin who’s three years old, has a little cello.

00:05:45:02 – 00:05:55:03
Dale (Benfield Photography)
That’s super cool.

What, what are you hearing a lot from brides that they want you to play?

00:05:55:18 – 00:06:16:14
Austin (Cello by Austin)
Sure. It was really funny. Is that like of course there’s the traditional, like, Here Comes The Bride that’s like really common. Da da da da da da da da da. And as the bride enters and then there’s like the Mendelssohn march, which is really calm as people walk out. Like that’s kind of been what’s been traditional for weddings that are really long time.
I was actually talking to a couple who I played in their wedding recently, and they were asking because they, you know, only got married once and so they don’t really know a whole lot of how things usually work. They were asking me about like song choices. And they’re like, you know, I know that there’s like the typical Here Comes The Bride song, but have you ever seen it done in a small way where like people don’t play that song and they, like, play something different for the bride coming down.
They were trying to be they’re like is there any way that, like, it could make it work to not play those songs? And I was like, yeah, like less than 10% of the weddings I play and probably asked me to play those classic songs. Like, really? I hardly ever play those songs. Like, If people want me to play Here Comes The Bride, like the actual Here Comes The Bride song.
I’m crying like, Whoa, OK. I mean, I’ll do it like that’s great. It’s easy. I know the song now.

00:07:09:11 – 00:07:13:24
Dale (Benfield Photography)
Funny, but most people go for something different, like something more personal to them.

00:07:13:24 – 00:07:32:11
Austin (Cello by Austin)
Or a lot of times it’s personal them, but I would say the most common wedding song choices that are being requested right now would be “I Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley, and Canon in D. Pachelbel’s Canon in D is like iconic. A classical music song. Christina Perry’s…

00:07:33:19 – 00:07:34:13
Dale (Benfield Photography)
A Thousand Years?

00:07:34:23 – 00:07:57:03
Austin (Cello by Austin)
Yes. Thank you. I think it’s because the piano guys released a recording of it back in 2013. Oh, that’s actually my wedding. And so it’s just it’s a really beautiful melody and it’s fantastic on the cello. So I would say that those are really common. And then like Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” is like really close behind. Oh yeah, yeah.
As a performer. But often like so those are kind of like my common songs when like I see that it’s like, OK, yep, easy easy. I don’t even have to practice for that one. But often a lot of times couples will choose songs that are just like special or meaningful to them.

What Song Did You Play at the Wedding This Past Weekend?

So like this past weekend, I played a song at a wedding for the bride to walk into that was like written by the artist Ben Folds.

00:08:21:18 – 00:08:22:21
Dale (Benfield Photography)
Yeah, I love Ben Folds.

00:08:22:21 – 00:08:45:18
Austin (Cello by Austin)
Yeah. Yeah, it was like one of his really old songs, like Released in the early 2000s. I would love it. Yes… called The Luckiest Song. It’s a fun one. It’s really pretty, actually. And so I guess it first started with a couple, but what’s neat is that they had like the deejay play Ben full this recording for their first dance that evening at their at the reception.

How to Make a Wedding Unique with Your Wedding Music.

And then together often there’s some song that’s like special to them. Like I played Taylor Swift at weddings before I mean, when I played Jurassic Park, I played Star Wars. I played like, you know.

00:08:58:17 – 00:08:59:23
Dale (Benfield Photography)
Hey, that’s everything.

00:08:59:23 – 00:09:16:24
Austin (Cello by Austin)
For the Star Wars wedding, nobody knew that I was going to play that except for the girl. Like, it’s a surprise to everybody else. That’s so cool. Really, really fun. Da da da da da da da. Exit song is like Mr. and Mrs. whatever it was and that it did it to do that.

00:09:17:12 – 00:09:18:07
Dale (Benfield Photography)
That’s super cool!

00:09:18:21 – 00:09:19:17
Austin (Cello by Austin)
It was fun.

00:09:19:17 – 00:09:32:19
Dale (Benfield Photography)
You know, I’m a big fan of however bride and groom can personalize the wedding. Yeah. Make it something about themselves. I’m all for that wedding. Couples should make the wedding their own.

00:09:33:05 – 00:09:34:05
Austin (Cello by Austin)
Yeah. Just be tight. Really.

00:09:34:14 – 00:09:39:08
Dale (Benfield Photography)
Too. Yeah. Just because there’s a tradition or something like that. Now make. Yeah. Yeah.

What do you love about this job?

00:09:40:03 – 00:09:55:03
Austin (Cello by Austin)
One of the things that I really love about what I do is, like, just getting to develop a relationship with couples and back to where I was as busy as I am, I used to, like, get on the phone and talk to every bride, and I talk through the plans with them. I’ve got a little too busy to, like, make that realistic.
And so I’ve had to streamline some of my processes, which is cool. But also, like, I kind of miss that. But I used to also the conversations like, OK, this is probably your first time getting married, so if I can be of any help to you in terms of offering suggestions or telling you what I often see, I can absolutely do that.

00:10:13:06 – 00:10:25:08
Austin (Cello by Austin)
But like this is your wedding and so you could do this however you want to and sign me up. You know, just tell me what I’m doing and I’ll do it. But like if I can help you by saying, here’s what I can see, by all means, you know.

How Much Advance Notice Do you Need for a Wedding?

00:10:33:24 – 00:11:03:03
Austin (Cello by Austin)
Yeah, I typically say, let’s try to have a song is chosen a month out because then inevitably we’re choosing songs two weeks out sometimes that’s plenty of time because usually people aren’t choosing stuff. It’s like super complex. That’s like the to learn or play, but yeah, two weeks minimum, I would say sometimes I’m finalizing stuff like a week before and I feel a little like right but I mean, it’s OK.
I do play by ear decently, which is been really, really helpful. So when I am learning a song that’s like new, if it’s not super complicated, like I’m just listening to it and then learning it. I’m not trying to like, you know, search sheet music and purchase right there.

00:11:17:19 – 00:11:18:12
Dale (Benfield Photography)
Yeah, nice.

00:11:18:23 – 00:11:19:09
Austin (Cello by Austin)

And your wife is in the industry too, right?

00:11:23:04 – 00:11:25:22
Austin (Cello by Austin)
Yeah, absolutely. Coordinated by Lauren, so. Right.

00:11:26:01 – 00:11:31:11
Dale (Benfield Photography)
So she’s a wedding coordinator. And how long have you been doing it? You don’t have to go in a big thing, but she’s good.

00:11:32:07 – 00:11:57:11
Austin (Cello by Austin)
Yes. She’s been like it’s been pretty organic for her as well, which I have coordinated. I think I was at the first wedding that she coordinated for a friend was in like 2017 and then it was like the bridesmaid at that wedding asked for the Courtney and then you know, stuff like that. And so now she’s like people whose weddings she has now, obviously she’s also so it’s kind of fun.

When did Coordinated by Lauren start?

00:11:57:11 – 00:12:18:24
Austin (Cello by Austin)
The Brick Ballroom in Siloam Springs…the owner of that is a husband and wife. The husband actually officiated our wedding, which is really fun. So they’re like good friends. He was like a professor of ours at John Brown University. On the undergrad there. And so Lauren is actually like their coordinator for weddings. Like if they order the package, that one is for my wife, which is really fun.

00:12:18:24 – 00:12:35:00
Austin (Cello by Austin)
So she’s in Siloam a lot, which is great. We live in a tiny town and so not too far, but yeah, so she’s kind of been in it a little bit more seriously for the past, like a year and a half or two, I would say. But it started back in around 2017, which is weird 2017 was not like two or three years ago.

00:12:35:00 – 00:12:37:20
Austin (Cello by Austin)
Like that was five years ago. That’s nuts.

00:12:38:01 – 00:12:47:12
Dale (Benfield Photography)
Yeah, that is nuts. I mean, seriously, so crazy. I don’t even like, don’t even get me started on the 20, 20 and the 2021. Like it was the slowest and fastest time of my entire life.

00:12:47:12 – 00:12:51:18
Austin (Cello by Austin)
I still am writing like 201 day.

00:12:52:17 – 00:12:57:18
Dale (Benfield Photography)
Right. OK, so what’s next for, for you oh goodness.

What’s Next for Cello by Austin?

00:12:58:03 – 00:13:18:18
Austin (Cello by Austin)
Yeah, that’s, it’s like an invigorating question and it’s a little bit like almost intimidating as well. But I mean, I love what I’m doing. I’m still so fortunate to be doing what I’m doing. I would love to do so this past year, I’ve started like kind of having contractors that work under me because I keep getting asked to do weddings that I already am booked for.

00:13:19:05 – 00:13:33:18
Austin (Cello by Austin)
But I’m like, hey, I already have like a ton of sheet music. I know the system. I have a good process. So if I can staff a cellist or a violinist, or someone for you, I’ll handle that whole booking process. They will show up knowing what to do, and you talk to me and you follow my system or whatever.
So I’ve been doing that, and that’s been working out really well for me. Yeah. In 2021, I myself played in 45 weddings and I think I staffed like ten weddings with musicians. I would love to like expand. So many musicians are kind of working under me and try to like just stuff my weddings with like musicians in that way.
That would be really fun. I would love to like travel more, I love to travel and people, I mean weddings are happening everywhere, right?

How does Cello by Austin Travel with a Cello?

00:14:05:08 – 00:14:10:00
Dale (Benfield Photography)
So how do you travel with the cello? That’s hard. You’d have to drive. Wait, can you put one on a plane?

00:14:10:17 – 00:14:14:00
Austin (Cello by Austin)
I mean, so it depends. That’s kind of like a.

00:14:14:04 – 00:14:16:11
Dale (Benfield Photography)
Or you could rent locally wherever you are. I don’t know.

00:14:16:11 – 00:14:24:21
Austin (Cello by Austin)
If you can, rent. Luckily, wherever you are, if you have connections, you could get a cello. Some people buy a plane ticket for their cello and they’ll put it on a seat next to them, which is like a little extra.

00:14:24:21 – 00:14:26:04
Dale (Benfield Photography)
I oh, that’s baller.

So Your Cello is Your Carryon Item?

00:14:27:03 – 00:14:51:21
Austin (Cello by Austin)
I know. I’m like, Dude, you got to be it. That’s going to be a good thing. Going to buy a plane ticket for your cello. So they have like really protective cases that you can check your cello as a bag rattle stickers or whatever. And I guess the oversize section cellists who are like professional cellist who are playing with this symphony orchestra and all that stuff, like they would probably never think of doing that.

00:14:51:23 – 00:15:11:22
Austin (Cello by Austin)
Like, I will only have the cello right next to me the whole time because they’re cellos. $20,000 plus my cello is not a $20,000 cello I’m not as protective with it. So I mean, as long as you have like a protective case, you, you could check it.

Does Cello by Austin do destination weddings?

00:15:11:24 – 00:15:15:16
Dale (Benfield Photography)
I could just imagine you on the beach playing the wind blowing.

00:15:15:16 – 00:15:31:02
Austin (Cello by Austin)
You. Oh, man, sign me up for a destination wedding. What I want to do this. I’m like, wherever it is. The mountains, the beach. Who cares? Like, maybe not. I don’t know that we’re going to Nebraska for a wedding…

00:15:31:17 – 00:15:36:16
Dale (Benfield Photography)
Nobody on my blog is ever from Nebraska, so we can talk about them all you want now.

00:15:36:18 – 00:15:54:12
Austin (Cello by Austin)
But I do love to travel, and I do love to work with people from different places. And so it would be really fun to be able to expand where I’m doing weddings. I work in public school system, so I have summers off. So yeah, summers are one weddings often. So I like have some of the capacity to be able to do that.

How To Know When to Go Full Time with Your Side Hustle.

00:15:54:12 – 00:16:12:12
Dale (Benfield Photography)
So little known fact, I was a teacher for five years as I grew my photo business. That’s now been like 15 years since I was a teacher. So nobody knows that. But yeah, that’s, that’s what I did. So mine kind of grew organically too. I shot seniors, sorry, high school seniors graduate graduate photos, and then they started getting married.

00:16:12:12 – 00:16:27:18
Dale (Benfield Photography)
And so then that’s how it was kind of organic for me. But I would shoot during the what during the summers when I wasn’t teaching. And then it just got to a point where I was like, I had to choose. I was I couldn’t do both because I never had a day off. And yeah, you know, it was a good job.

00:16:27:19 – 00:16:28:21
Dale (Benfield Photography)
I have. I’m very thankful.

A Fork in the Road for Cello by Austin

00:16:29:08 – 00:16:51:09
Austin (Cello by Austin)
Yeah. That’s kind of something that I’ve been thinking a little bit is like, how much larger can cello get before I feel like I had to choose between the two, you know, and I’m only like in my second year in my job in education. And so I feel like I don’t want to back out right now, but I also don’t want to, like, have to cap how much cello stuff is going to grow.

00:16:52:04 – 00:17:00:15
Austin (Cello by Austin)
So I think I may come to a difficult fork in the road, but we’ll take that one to get there. On cello. Oh, good problems. Yeah.

00:17:01:11 – 00:17:06:20
Dale (Benfield Photography)
So I saw you just launched your new website.

00:17:07:10 – 00:17:08:17
Austin (Cello by Austin)
Yeah. Yeah

How to contact Cello by Austin

00:17:12:04 – 00:17:35:10
Austin (Cello by Austin)
Yeah. So the website, I just felt like most of what I was doing. So like my marketing and like online presence, which is Instagram, which actually has served me really, really well. That’s amazing how far you can take a business with an Instagram account and a Google forum free and free as fantastic. Right. But I felt like there were some demographics where I was like, yeah, just log on my Instagram.

00:17:35:10 – 00:17:55:19
Austin (Cello by Austin)
They’re like, I don’t have Instagram. It’s like, Oh yeah, and let’s be like, 90% of my friends is on Instagram. So hasn’t been that big a but I just felt like it was kind of like the appropriate next step with like expanding a business and having like increasing my, my, the stage them on, I guess you could say, and stuff.

00:17:56:03 – 00:18:01:07
Austin (Cello by Austin)
So I just wanted to be more accessible to like the common public. So I say.

00:18:01:23 – 00:18:02:06
Dale (Benfield Photography)

How Can Brides See Cello by Austin in Action?

00:18:02:22 – 00:18:25:12
Austin (Cello by Austin)
Thanks. The website is just like a place where people can kind of like acquaintances with who I am and get a feel for like what I do. And there’s videos on there and there’s reviews on my work and there’s like little bit information about me and, and then also like my contact information is on there for a top right screen of the website.

00:18:25:12 – 00:18:39:06
Austin (Cello by Austin)
There is like a book now tab and I have like an inquiry form a lot of the work that I do as a checklist is for weddings. And so that inquiry form is specifically designed for weddings, but also like it’s on there too. So like other inquiries, you can just send me an email or whatever, but also like Instagram live by Austin.

00:18:39:15 – 00:18:55:01
Austin (Cello by Austin)
I get inquiries through DMS all the time. If it’s to our wedding, I typically my awesome great, I’m available that day. Please also fill out my form because that’s just kind of where I keep everything in my place. So that way I can like search the date sometimes like, hey, do you have a date available? And I’m like, I don’t have my whole time memorized.

How Far in Advance Should a Bride Book Ceremony Musician like Cello by Austin?

00:18:55:01 – 00:19:10:07
Austin (Cello by Austin)
There’s no way I’m booking stuff for a year and a half out. So it’s like it’s nice to be able to just look it up and see it. So nice. Yeah. Tell by awesome. Pretty much everything is shallow. Awesome. So shallow by Tell us about oh, not C-H, it’s Italian. It’s not English.

00:19:10:17 – 00:19:12:07
Dale (Benfield Photography)
Yeah, that’s exactly right.

00:19:13:05 – 00:19:21:05
Austin (Cello by Austin)
And and @cellobyaustin on Instagram and All right well.

00:19:21:05 – 00:19:35:07
Dale (Benfield Photography)
I will link those and we did. I’m so proud of you. It is so great to see you every time I walk up to a wedding that you’re there. I know I’m in for a treat but thanks for taking the time and let’s do this again soon.

00:19:35:17 – 00:19:37:23
Austin (Cello by Austin)
I love it sounds good. Thanks, dude. This is fun.

Want more vendor spotlights? Click on the links below to see that interview:
Brittany Bloom Events

Osage House Wedding Venue

Jules Design Event Florals

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