Wedding at Wightman Chapel 3/10/18

On 3/10/18 a wedding, marked by quite a number of surprises that elicited emotion as well as laughter, took place at Scarritt’s Wightman Chapel.  A Silver Strings trio convened there to oversee the nuptials of Halee and Craig.  There was nothing typical about this wedding and the sense of humor displayed by the couple will see them through any rough patch in their marriage.

Halee chose things like the themes from Downton Abbey and Pride and Prejudice with a nod to their Catholic backgrounds Silver Strings played “Ave Maria” and the Prayer of St. Francis.  The first surprise happened as the flower girls took their places…actually it’s never a surprise when a 3 year old decides it’s fun to start walking across the front of the church and then back down the aisle just when we’re supposed to be playing the bride in.  We waited for someone to snag her before we began the next surprise — to the groom.

Halee swore me to secrecy that her processional, a song written by Craig, was not to be mentioned to him.  She had sent me a sound file so I could arrange it for the trio.  (Thank heavens Craig Duncan was playing violin with me this time as there were some omissions in the music, thanks to my music writing program, that would have been disastrous if we hadn’t gone through it first during call time.   He quickly saw where the problems were and we were able to repair our parts before the prelude.)  And maybe the delay created by the young flower girl’s distraction just increased the excitement of the moment so that when Craig realized what the song was, the tears flowed.

Shortly after the deacon opened the ceremony and the readings were done, he made his way to the lectern and joked that his homily was going to last 45 minutes at which point the groom threw up his hands and sat down on the stairs with his chin in his hands.  More laughter.  The homily was actually less than 5 minutes.

The next surprise was the period of time after Halee and Craig said their vows and instead of continuing to the exchange of rings, unbeknownst to the couple, had us play a verse of a hymn to give them time to contemplate what they had just promised.  Then after the ring exchange and again unbeknownst to the couple, the deacon had the parents come to the stage to participate in the Nuptial Blessing.  Very touching.

At long last Halee and Craig were pronounced husband and wife and we sent them off to Vivaldi’s “Spring” followed by Craig’s song again.  May their union be filled with fun and laughter in the years to come.  Congratulations to them and their families!


2/10/18 Marriage Proposal

Ok, guys…the bar has been set really high.  I mean this is pole vaulting high.  On 2/10/18 Ken asked Rhea for her hand in marriage.  But not right away.  First he brought her into his home blindfolded, guided her into the living area, had her stand in a particular spot and then signaled the string quartet to begin playing “A Thousand Years”.  She thought she was going to the opera and was dressed to the nines (or maybe in her case the tens…fabulous) but when the blindfold was removed she saw Ken in tie and tails and the musicians in tux playing her favorite song.  Then she saw at least eight arrangements of roses placed about the room in the soft candlelight.

For the next two hours they danced or just sat and listened to the music Ken had carefully chosen to express his love for her.  Then at the appointed song, “When God Made You”, he got down on one knee and proposed, producing a gorgeous ring to seal the proposal.  Violinist Toni Ferguson started crying and I nearly lost my place in the music when this happened.  We all felt honored and so delighted to be part of this grand scheme.

When the time came to pack up Ken announced that they were going out to Taco Bell dressed as they were and extended the invitation to join them since we were all dressed up as well.  We had a good laugh over that and had we not faced a long drive home we certainly would have joined in fun.

Congratulations to Ken and Rhea!!  Guys, remember what I said at the beginning…..FullSizeR2


Party!! 1/27/18

Occasionally Silver Strings gets to step out of the wedding mode to do something really fun.  On Saturday, January 27, a trio of us played for a birthday party.  Actually we had played the wedding of two of the attendees a couple of years ago but the party was for the birthday of the bride’s grandmother.

For the cocktail hour we played fun stuff that had several guests dancing and applauding.  People still can’t believe that strings play rock and roll and have a good time doing it.  When it came time for the dinner we toned it down a bit to play some favorite hymns and classics.  When we had finished their requests I pulled out my new favorite…a tango by Astor Piazzolla called “Oblivion”.  Look that one up on youtube and find you’ll find yourself attempting an impromptu tango to this incredibly sensuous music.

We finished our part of the evening with “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” which brought sighs and applause from the guests.

What a lovely evening!  And Happy Birthday to the birthday girl with wishes for many more birthdays to follow!

Wedding at Church of the Assumption 12/16/17

Silver Strings had the honor of bringing the music to the celebration of marriage of Maria and Kyle on December 16, 2017 at the Church of the Assumption.  Catholic weddings can be a challenge for us non-Catholics but we had wonderful help in the form of two friends of the bride who sang several of the essential parts of the service with us accompanying.  The sound in that sanctuary of these pure, clear voices was absolutely ethereal.  I felt like I was participating in a movie scene.

With my able colleagues, Susan Mullen and Gary Tussing, last minute adjustments to arrangements to fit what the girls were singing got worked out quickly so that the music worked perfectly for this lovely wedding.  Of course the music the trio played alone was classical, something we don’t do so often in this day and age.  It’s truly a pleasure now for us to play the classics such as Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” and Mozart’s “Alleluia”.

Maria was a joy to work with and we wish her and Kyle many happy years together!

Christmas Party for the Bridge Ministry 12/11/17

Allow me to step away from the wedding recitations for a change to gush about what Candy Christmas does through her Bridge Ministry to feed the hungry in Nashville and for her volunteers who help make her ministry happen.

Every Tuesday night through the efforts and perseverance of gospel singer, Candy Christmas, several big trucks pull up under the Jefferson Street bridge to serve hot meals to the homeless population and minister to their spiritual needs as well.  She started this ministry years ago with a big pot of jumbalaya she cooked herself.  Now an army of volunteers prepare and serve tens of thousands of meals to the homeless over the year.  They have expanded to feed children and provide clothes for those in need.

Every December Candy hosts a Christmas party for the volunteers and asks Silver Strings to provide the music.  We jump at the chance to be a part of the thanks to these tireless workers.  It’s humbling but exhilarating to be a part of these festivities.

For more information visit to read about this ministry and if you find it in your heart to want to pitch in, you’ll find several ways to do so.

Wedding at King’s Chapel 11/3/17

On November 3, 2017 Elise married Brandon in a lovely ceremony in the quaint, little church known as King’s Chapel in Arrington, TN.  We played lovely hymns for prelude and traditional classics for the processionals.  Elise chose the Wagner “Wedding March” for her entrance and “Wedding March Recessional” by Mendelssohn for their recessional.

King’s Chapel is a tiny chapel in Arrington, TN.  The acoustics are superb.  A string trio sounds especially nice, if I do say so.  This, however, was the first wedding I’ve ever played where the minister was late entering.  We weren’t sure if he thought someone was going to signal him to enter but we couldn’t really stop playing to go open the door to invite him in.  Finally a family member opened the side door to wave him in.  At the end of every wedding we play someone inevitably says “They’re married!” and indeed it was so.

Congratulations to Elise, Brandon and their families!  Blessings to all!

Anniversary Surprise at Amerigo’s 11/25/17

Occasionally we get to do something that is so much fun and so rewarding for the good feelings generated for the recipient and accidental guests of the surprise.  On November 25, 2017 a quartet of us did what might be thought of as a flash mob quartet gig at Amerigo’s on West End.  Charles wanted to surprise his wife, Tessa, on their first anniversary by having a quartet play the song to which she came down the aisle at their wedding in Tampa last year.  The song was “In My Life” for which thankfully we have a great arrangement.

Craig Duncan, Jocelyn Sprouse, Gary Tussing and I were already dressed in tux as we made our way to Amerigo’s after a previous wedding.  Amerigo’s is set up so that we could come in without anyone in the bar noticing and get our instruments ready.  I had previously cleared our plan with the manager to avoid any hassles.  Then I had pressed my boyfriend, Sandy Smolen, into being a human music stand so we could easily read our parts without having to set up stands and make a commotion that would ruin the surprise.  With the enlarged parts pasted onto two black pieces of art board with attached stand lights, Sandy walked in before us and opened the two pieces when we were ready to play.

We breezed in and began playing before Tessa realized what was happening.  Soon Charles and Tessa were dancing to the music.  People close by took video with their phones and passed them on to Sandy and me.  The bartenders kindly consented to take pictures as well.

After we were done we decided to remain in the bar for refreshments ourselves.  Charles came over to talk and we found out that one of the musicians they used in Tampa was a friend of Gary’s and someone with whom Gary works when he’s in Tampa himself visiting family.  Small world.

Charles has set the bar really high for husbands who want to do something incredibly romantic for their wives.  Tessa is one lucky lady!IMG_0623

Wedding at The Schermerhorn 10/28/17

On October 28, 2017 Caroline married Paul in a beautiful ceremony in the lobby of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.  We were a quartet this time for the ceremony as well as the cocktail hour.  The music was more contemporary this time with songs such as “All of Me” (John Legend) and “Just the Way You Are” (Bruno Mars).  Caroline chose the “Canon in D” for her processional.  The ceremony was short and sweet after which we sent them back down the aisle to “Zip A Dee Doo Dah”.  My, oh my, what a wonderful day!

We reconvened above the west lobby to play for cocktails.  Caroline’s special request was “Crocodile Rock” which we performed after making sure she and Paul arrived to greet their guests.  We always have a big time playing classic rock and this day was no exception.

Congratulations to Caroline and Paul!  May they have many years of happiness together.

Weddings on October 21, 2017

Instead of my usual (boring) recital of what brides chose for their preludes, processionals, etc., I want to take this moment to sing the praises of Angelina Ruiz of Homestead Manor, Lauren Hartman of Southern Soiree and Jamie at East Ivy Mansion.  These three women take the stress out of my job of playing the right song in the right place at the right time.

On October 21, 2017 Susan Mullen led a trio at Homestead Manor for the wedding of Sarah and Jordan where Angelina worked miracles in making Sarah’s mother comfortable with her leadership and then pulling off a flawless wedding.  Susan reported back with a glowing review of how the wedding went.

Also on October 21, Jocelyn Sprouse led a trio for me at the Bell Tower for the nuptials of Maggy and Doug with Lauren Hartman directing.  Jocelyn reported back that everything went swimmingly and how nice Lauren was to work with.  But I knew that already.

Last but not least I led a trio for the wedding of Meryl and Andrew at East Ivy Mansion.  At East Ivy as well as the two aforementioned places the musicians were never left unsure of what was going on.  The confident and sure directing is greatly appreciated.

Many thanks to my people for doing me proud and to these three planners/coordinators for their referrals and great work.  May everyone have as much work as they can handle in the coming year.

Wedding at Homestead Manor 10/20/17

On October 20, 2107 Faith and Michael were wed on the front lawn of the Homestead Manor, a lovely old mansion near Thompson’s Station, TN.  As a little background, after a rather abrupt departure of a previous planner/coordinator, Angelina Ruiz of Velour Premier Events did a fantastic job of stepping in at the last minute.  Her leadership was confident and firm with every detail in place.  We were impressed and I can assure you the couples who were married at Homestead Manor this fall were pleased with the perfectly handled weddings.

Faith chose the classics for her prelude and processionals and very specifically wanted a particular part of the “Canon in D” for the entrance of her groom.  No problem thanks to Pachelbel’s skill at constructing this beautiful canon which allowed us to do exactly as we were asked.

Congratulations to Faith and Michael with many wishes for a long and happy life together from Silver Strings.


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