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!

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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!

6/9/18 Wedding at Ruby Cora

On 6/9/18 a trio of us made an afternoon trip to Adams, TN to provide the music for the nuptials of Taylor and Cory at a site overlooking the freshly harvested fields of wheat in the countryside.  Marcia Winn, owner of Ruby Cora, has taken great care to make her event venue beautiful and welcoming.

I mostly worked with mom, Chauncy, on the music as kids these days have way too much on their plates and welcome the help of parents and friends.  The processionals were mostly classics with my choice of prelude music.  The scenery begged for things like “Butterfly Waltz” as there were many swallowtail butterflies lending their grace and beauty.  The minister showed his sense of humor at the end of the ceremony by telling Cory he could now make out with his bride after which we played them back down the aisle to “Cowboy Take Me Away”.

The reception took place in a specially designed building for events that was mostly windows with beautiful views out all sides.  The trio played Country tunes, old and new, while guests had cocktails and barbecue.  We even wore our Cowboy boots in honor of the music requested.

Silver Strings offers many wishes to Taylor and Cory for a long and happy life together.

Ruby Cora

Rehearsal at Ruby Cora

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 the Noah Liff Opera Center 4/21/18

On April 21st of 2018 a trio of us, Susan Mullen, Gary Tussing and myself, convened at the Noah Liff Opera Center to play for the nuptials of Carlenda and Jonathan.  The Noah Liff Center is a wonderful place for a celebration, tucked in a quiet neighborhood off Murphy Road.

Carlenda chose an eclectic mix of traditional classics along with songs such as “White Wedding”, “Clocks” and “Love Story”.  The three young ring bearers were so cute they nearly stole the show as did the darling little flower girl escorted by her mother.  I have to say here that planner/coordinator Carolyn Dohnal of Top Tier Events was wonderful with the children and did a fantastic job of making the wedding flow smoothly from start to finish.  I also want to mention Kenisha Buchanan of K. Renee Photography who captured the many wonderful funny, touching and memorable moments of the ceremony.  Can’t wait to see the photos.

After the ceremony the guests were invited outside for a butterfly release by the newlyweds with cocktails to follow.  The trio kicked the celebration into high gear with songs such as “Signed, Sealed, Delivered”, “That’s the Way (uh-huh, uh-huh) I Like It”, and “Uptown Funk” to which the guests grooved their way to the reception area.

Congratulations to Carlenda, Jonathan and their families.  Silver Strings wishes them a long, loving and happy union.

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

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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!

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

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