MountainCity talks with Mannequin the Band’s Dana Wield

(Denver, CO – Jeanie Rhoades)  MountainCity recently welcomed special guest, Dana Wield, to their weekly Facebook Live stream (airing each Wednesday night at 7:30pm MST) to talk about music, being a business owner/entrepreneur, Dana’s band and her most recent venture with the Denver Music Institute.

MountainCity interviewing Dana Wield

Dana Wield talks about Mannequin the Band

While Mannequin the Band is only three years old, they quickly went from being a Denver wedding and events band to a destination band, playing high-end weddings, festivals and corporate events all over the world. They’re planning upcoming events in Cabo San Lucas and Hawaii and spent a week in Hong Kong last year with Mother’s Choice, a non-profit adoption agency. They got to play for the kids and were featured at the gala.

The story behind their incredible success and the subsequent doors it has opened was intriguing for Dave and Tara, who are also entrepreneurs and have been fascinated by the business side of having a band, as well as the creative, artistic end of it.

Dana told them she had been living in Texas and even though she had her BFA in Musical Theater, with experience directing, children’s theater, and 20 years of performing experience, she just wasn’t “connecting with it.” She began to think about starting a band to do weddings and live events.

When she learned she and her husband would be moving to Denver, she got on Craigslist to look for singing opportunities. It was there she found Alan Currens, her soon-to-be business partner, who had posted a well-organized plan for a wedding/events band. When they met, she resonated with his vision and goals and Mannequin the Band was born.

Dana Wield and Alan Currens of Mannequin the Band

Their website describes the band

“…A band guaranteed to make any event unforgettable, Mannequin knows how to pack the dance floor. This high energy party band provides a musical range that spans decades to the current hits of today. Mannequin is a turnkey band available to create the soundtrack to your whole day. With a full horn line, five singers, extra percussion, and nonstop movement, Mannequin fills the stage with world class musicians and style. Band Members: 9-12”

Mannequin the Band has been featured in Rocky Mountain Bride and The Knot-Best of Weddings, 2017 pick.

Dana says they have more than 200 cover songs in their repertoire, with plenty of mashups and medleys and can easily fit 60 songs into an evening set list. “We keep the dance floor hot,” she told Dave and Tara.

Mannequin the Band

“We take time to gel with every bride. We know we’re the first celebration they’ll ever have. And even though we’re the entertainers and the attention is onstage, we make sure to direct the attention back to the bride and groom and their families,” she says, sharing a philosophy that has made them popular with wedding planners.

The Downtown Band

When the band started having to turn down gigs because they were fully booked, or when a venue couldn’t support the space needed for such a large band, Alan and Dana created a smaller ensemble as an extension of the Mannequin brand. The Downtown Band is a 6-7 piece band that operates with the same seamless quality Mannequin employs. With a 100-song set list, they facilitate an evening to include nonstop music and entertainment with songs from the 1950s to the present.

This year, they have created a third band.


Dana, knowing live music will always create a festive atmosphere at any event, saw that many brides had an entertainment price-point of $2000-2500. She and her business partner strategized a plan to provide live music by assembling  a jazz quartet. Candlelight plays jazz and postmodern jukebox during cocktails and dinner, then provides a DJ for dancing.

The values for each of the three bands are the same. They encourage collaboration for each musician, allowing band members to have input and take risks musically.

Continuing to learn the craft is another important value for the Mannequin family of artists. They all continue taking classes and/or teaching them. And the band also places a high priority on family. They get to know, not just band members, but their spouses and children and encourage group members to bring spouses to destination events.

Mannequin maintains the tight chemistry they possess by having established band members in place as opposed to rostering musicians, rotating talent in and out. They strive for seamless performances, watching carefully for wedding planners’s queues and none of the band members drink or smoke onsite at their events. When they get to a wedding or event, they are there 100% and try to roll with whatever comes up.

Creating “middle-class musicians”

Dana says they have a strong desire to “create a middle-class of musicians.” She explains this as being the middle ground between the old starving artists scenario, a person who couldn’t get paid well for their talent, versus the rock-star persona who was highly paid. They believe there is a place for musicians and artists to sustain and provide for their families and make money with their talent.

The Denver Music Institute

With this in mind, a few months ago, Dana and her partner, Alan Currens, thought about starting a school to help musicians who wanted to learn how to work professionally in their craft.

When Alan called the Denver Music Institute to see about renting some rooms in which they could hold classes, the person he spoke to liked what he heard and asked them to come in for a meeting. Within 2 weeks, Alan and Dana were the new owners of the Denver Music Institute, which trains and prepares musicians for professional careers in music.

Because many of their band members have degrees in music and are making a living as professional musicians, they have become teachers at the school. Up to now, it has been classes, as in the past. However, there are changes on the horizon. Group classes, private lessons, workshops, and masterclasses are being developed.

They can envision a 16-year old taking private lessons to prepare to attend university or who wants to get to Nashville and find studio work. Dana told Dave and Tara they even hope to have MountainCity do a 4-week songwriting class in the future.

In April DMI will launch Scratch Academy, led by DeeJ Karbon, a well-known Denver DJ. He has a passion to awaken the next generation to true DJ-ing, from its’ history to now, merging technology with music and theory.  

When Dave asked her what her personal goals are for the rest of 2017, Dana, this entrepreneur/business owner/performer, who is also a wife and the mother of a 2-year old, laughed and said, “To get through the twos. Potty training is at the top of the list!”

There is absolutely no doubt she will be 100% successful!

Check out Mannequin the Band HERE; on Facebook, and Instagram.

Get information about the Denver Music Institute HERE

Denver Music Institute // 4195 S Broadway // Englewood, CO 80113 303-788-0303 //


Dave would like to thank his new sponsor, Temple Audio

Dave says:

“There are pedal boards, and then there are PEDAL BOARDS + INNOVATION + PURE GENIUS. The later is the epitome of Temple Audio. Man, this team is SHARP…. I mean REALLY sharp. Besides their excellent customer service, the quality of their products is amazing! It’s the lightest pedalboard I’ve ever experienced! And, my pedal board is velcro free, and while velcro may be one of the greatest inventions in the universe, I don’t prefer it on my board! It is a great privilege for me to be a part of the Temple Audio Family of Artists, and I absolutely encourage you to check out Temple Audio!”

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