10/13/18 Wedding in Burns, TN

On 10/13/18 Silver Strings had the honor of playing for a wedding of a colleague from Wisconsin at a farm in Burns, TN.  Heather is a cellist in her Wisconsin city doing the same thing we do, but was here to be married to her sweetheart, Adam.  She provided the music for the processional and we were very impressed with her arranging skills.  Everyone who was part of the service entered to “Higher Ground” in which we played along with a track created by Heather of an oboist friend of hers who couldn’t be at the wedding but wanted to participate.

But I’m ahead of myself.  The wedding took place in a freshly mown meadow down from the house of her fiance’s brother in rural Burns.  Chairs for about 25 guests were placed in a circle.  At the beginning of the ceremony the officiant gave the rings to a guest to start the “Ring Warming” where the rings were passed around the circle of guests with each person silently conveying prayers, good thoughts or wishes as the rings were in their hands while the quartet played “The Book of Love” (Heather’s arrangement).  After the vows were recited and rings exchanged we sent them and the guests up to the brunch tent to the strains of “In Your Eyes/Solsbury Hill”, another of Heather’s arrangements.

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We soon followed to play fun stuff for their gourmet brunch, pulling out songs like “Uptown Funk”, “Istanbul”, Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls” and “Another One Bites the Dust”.  Toward the end of the brunch Heather asked if she could sit in and would Paul Nelson mind if she played his cello.  He happily let her have his place so he could warm up with a hot cup of coffee, it being quite cold that day.  When we were done we were invited to enjoy the buffet at a table set specifically for us….something only another musician would think of.

Congratulations to Heather and Adam!  It was wonderful meeting them, seeing that they were properly married and hopefully we’ll see them again when they visit Adam’s brother again.

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6/16/18 Wedding at Scarritt

On 6/16/18 Silver Strings was in attendance at Wightman Chapel on the Scarritt campus bringing selection of contemporary songs to the wedding of Rachel and Nick.  I got a last minute request for “Stand By Me” from Rachel.  I asked her if she had just watched the Royal Wedding to which she admitted she had.  Fortunately I had set my alarm to get up in time to watch the royal nuptials and heard the gospel choir sing their interpretation of this song.  I got out my stock arrangement of the the Ben E. King version, decided it couldn’t be what Rachel was thinking and transcribed what the choir did.  I told the quartet to play it as though we were a gospel choir…which they did admirably.

Rachel had also asked for “Your Song” by Elton John for the mothers and men, “Stolen” by Dashboard Confessional for the bridesmaids, and finally “Young and Beautiful” by Lana del Ray for her entrance.  After the vows and rings were exchanged, the pronouncement of marriage and most importantly….the kiss….we played them back down the aisle as husband and wife to “Shut Up and Dance”.  And indeed it was time to dance with joy and celebration.

Congratulations to Rachel and Nick!  May they have a long and happy union!

6/15/18 Wedding at St. John Vianney Catholic Church

On 6/15/18 Kate and Derick were married in a Catholic ceremony at St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Gallatin.  We were a quartet that day and very much appreciated the help of organist and cantor, Stuart Kelly, in navigating the details of the Catholic marriage rite.  We also all agreed that it was such a pleasure to play selections from the classical literature for this wedding.  Kate chose things like the Brandenburg Concerto #3 and the stunningly beautiful Pavane by Faure for the prelude.  We brought family members to their places with “Arioso”, the men to “Trumpet Voluntary”, the bridesmaids to “Trumpet Tune” and finally Kate, on her mother’s arm, to “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”.  We mostly got to watch this beautiful rite with the exception of playing “The Prayer” and “Panis Angelicus” during Communion.  Finally after all was said and done and the bride and groom were presented as Mr. and Mrs., we sent them back down the aisle to “O Happy Day”.

Silver Strings wishes Kate and Derick a long and happy together.  Congratulations to them and their families!

5/26/18 Wedding at Long Hollow Gardens

Meanwhile at Long Hollow Gardens another wedding was taking place just after a cloudburst where Caroline wed her sweetheart, Andy in a traditional ceremony accompanied by not-so-traditional music played by a string trio of Craig Duncan, Julianna Waller and Gary Tussing.  Mothers were seated to “This Must Be the Place”, Andy then entered to “Raiders of the Lost Ark” followed by Star Wars “Throne Room” for the groomsmen.  Bridesmaids entered to “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” followed by bride, Caroline, to “You’re My Best Friend” (Queen).  During the ceremony their unity celebration was of planting a Bonsai tree to the “Feather Theme” from Forrest Gump.  The newlyweds were then sent back down the aisle to “You Make My Dreams Come True”.

The sun smiled on this happy occasion and the rain stayed away for the rest of the evening.  Callie of Lavender Events did a great job of coordinating the rehearsal and wedding.

And now congratulations are offered to the bride and groom and their families with wishes for a long and happy life together.

Wedding rehearsal at Long Hollow Gardens

Wedding rehearsal

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!

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