About Us

La Mer Ensembles has been providing music for weddings and special occasions throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania since 1988. Our experienced professional musicians are ready to perform for weddings of any denomination as well as receptions, private parties and corporate events. Upon request, other instruments can be accommodated including flute or trumpet and music can be coordinated with your organist or vocalist. Our extensive library makes it possible to perform almost any classical or popular piece that you might wish to hear, and we will work with you to ensure that you have the perfect selections of music for your event!​

our staff

James Day, Violin


James Day graduated from Dartmouth College and holds a Masters degree in performance from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He studied viola with John Graham, Jean Dupouy, and Francis Tursi, and harpsichord with Anthony Newman and Peter Wolf. He has played as principal viola with orchestras in both America and Europe, including the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, the Quebec Symphony Orchestra, and the orchestra of the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Italy, and has taught both violin and viola for the past four decades. He is currently actively performing as a violinist and violist, is executive director of the Southampton Chamber Music Society, and is an adjunct professor of music at the College of New Jersey.​

Fun Facts: James is an expert music historian. He can tell you many facts about any composer, including facts about their lives and what was happening in his/her life that helped create their pieces. He is also very knowledgeable on flowers and plants, including what something is and how to properly care for it. 

Lisa Hammell, Viola


Lisa Hammell earned her Bachelor of Music degree, graduating cum laude, from Philadelphia College of the Performing Arts in 1981. She studied viola with Joseph DePasquale, former Principal Violist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Ms. Hammell received ensemble coaching from Claus Adam, of the Juilliard Quartet and performed under the batons of Ricardo Muti, Klaus Tennstedt, and Stanislav Skrowaceski. For 20 years, Lisa performed with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, and was a long-standing member of the Riverside Symphonia, Kennett Symphony, Boheme Opera NJ and Tenth Chamber Orchestra. She has performed with the Pennsylvania Ballet, Delaware Symphony, Princeton Pro Musica, West Jersey Chamber Symphony, and Brandywine Baroque. She has also played back up with top pop headliners Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Harry Connick, Jr., Rod Stewart, Bernadette Peters, and Carole King.

Fun Facts: Lisa is an antiques expert. She Has her own antiques business called Noonmark Antiques. She loves early American history and loves photography.  She loves taking pictures of beautiful plants and flowers and interesting landmarks. 

Mayumi Grasso, Cello


Mayumi graduated from University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, where she studied cello with Deborah Reeder and Ulrich Boeckheler.  She graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor of Music in Performance and in 1993 with a Master of Arts in Teaching. She has played with various orchestras including the Bay Atlantic Symphony, Garden State Philharmonic, Trenton Symphony, Princeton Symphony and Orchestra of St. Peter-by-the-Sea. She has performed with Ray Charles, Mannheim Steamroller, Il Divo, featured in the video, "Feels Like Today", by the muli-platinum country group Rascal Flatts and was selected by Grammy judges to be a quarter finalist in the My Grammy Moment Contest with the Foo Fighters in 2008.

Fun Facts: I love action movies, Marvel movies and the Netflix series "Stranger Things".  I've done some extras work and can be seen very briefly in the movies "Unbreakable" starring Bruce Willis and "Jersey Girl" starring Ben Affleck.