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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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 Village Chapel 6/17/17

Silver Strings had a double header on June 17 starting at the Village Chapel in the former convent at St. Bernard Academy on 21st Ave. S. with the wedding of Ashley and Rob.  Ashley chose an eclectic mix of hymns, contemporary rock/pop and classical for the prelude and processionals.  The fun came after a traditional ceremony with the bride and groom exiting to, as a surprise to Rob, “Wagon Wheel”.  Jocelyn Sprouse handled the fiddle part with panache much to the delight of the newlyweds and their guests.

Congratulations to Ashley and Rob and their families with a wish for many happy years together.

Wedding at Union Station Hotel 10/21/16

On October 21, 2016 Valerie wed her sweetheart Brendan in the the breathtakingly beautiful lobby of the Union Station Hotel.  Silver Strings, as a trio, provided music not only for the ceremony, but for the cocktail hour and dinner as well.  Rachel Gladstone, the coordinator for the day, did a fabulous job of making everything run smoothly.  Valerie chose mostly traditional classics for the prelude and processionals including the popular “Canon in D” for her entrance.  After a short and sweet ceremony we sent them back down the aisle as Mr. and Mrs. to Handel’s “Arrival of the Queen of Sheba”.

The trio then moved to the veranda to play an eclectic mix of fun stuff for cocktails.  We included songs by Coldplay, Smashing Pumpkins, Train and Jonsi.  Immediately after the cocktails we returned to the lobby to play for Valerie and Brendan’s first dance and dances with their parents.  Their first dance was “All I Ask of You” from Phantom of the Opera after which Valerie danced to “She Talks to Angels” by the Black Crowes with her father.  Brendan then took the floor with his mother to dance to Lea Anne Womack’s “I Hope You Dance”.  Amazingly (to us), people still are surprised to hear a string ensemble play contemporary rock.  You bet we do and have a great time doing it and by the comments we received from the guests, they were having a great time as well.

So congratulations are in order for Valerie, Brendan and their families.  May they have a long and happy life together!

Wedding at Belle Meade Plantation 10/15/16

On October 15 a trio of us convened to provide the music for the wedding ceremony of Alexandra and Graham at the Belle Meade Plantation.  The ceremony took place in the yard in back of the mansion past what used to be a maze.  Highlights of the ceremony included the presence of a well-behaved “ring dog” who performed his duties without a fuss.  Then after a lovely ceremony we helped kick off the celebration to come with our rendition of “Happy” (from the movie, “Despicable Me 2) as the newlyweds made their way back down the aisle.

After the ceremony we entertained at the cocktail hour with a mix of standards (including a request for “Always” by the bride’s mother) and more contemporary tunes.  Lucky us, we got to sample some of the food while everyone entered the Carriage House for the cake cutting and first dances.

And finally, congratulations to Alexandra and Graham and their families.  Many wishes to them for a long and happy life together!

Wedding at Scarritt Wightman Chapel 9/12/15

On September 12 Silver Strings was in attendance at the nuptials of Emily and Jake which took place in Wightman Chapel on the Scarritt Campus.  This chapel has to be our all time favorite for the wonderful acoustics.  Emily chose traditional classics for the prelude as well as the processionals saving the fun stuff for the cocktail hour that took place at the Hermitage Hotel downtown.

The processionals included the Bach “Air” from the Suite in D and “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” for the mothers and bridesmaids.  Emily chose the always beautiful and appropriate “Canon in D” for her entrance.  Staying in the classic tradition they recessed to “Wedding March”.  Kelly Dillinger of Kelly Dillinger Events was our able coordinator for the day, giving us perfect signals that helped us time the music to a T.

After the ceremony everyone made their way to the Hermitage Hotel to continue the festivities.  We entertained the guests with a variety of Beatles songs, standards, love songs and good old rock and roll.

Best wishes from Silver Strings to the newlyweds for a long and happy life together!

Wedding at Laurelbrooke Clubhouse 6/20/15

June 20 was a banner day for Silver Strings.  We divided ourselves among four weddings that day.  This particular wedding took place in Franklin at the Laurelbrooke Clubhouse.  Jocelyn Sprouse took the reins to guide a trio through their paces for the wedding of Kristy and David.

The trio played traditional music for the prelude but gave a nod to the contemporary music when a friend of the bride, Kelley Dugan sang John Legend’s “All of Me” with the trio.  Then mothers were seated to “Butterfly Waltz”, a lovely, lilting tune to start off the processionals.  The wedding party entered to the beloved “Canon in D” with the two flowergirls bringing up the rear with one of them carrying a sign that said “Here Comes the Bride!”

Kristy entered to “Wedding March” aka “Here Comes the Bride” on her father’s arm.  When the Kristy and David sealed their union with a kiss the were played back down the aisle to Mendelssohn’s familiar “Wedding March”.

The trio stayed to play Buble, Sinatra, Jason Mraz and Bruno Mars selections for the cocktail hour.

Congratulations to the newlyweds Kristy and David and a wish for a long and happy marriage.

Wedding at Schermerhorn Symphony Center May 23, 2015

The Schermerhorn Symphony Center Courtyard was the scene of the wedding of Ashley to Eddie.  Jocelyn Sprouse took over for me with a trio to play the ceremony as well as a cocktail hour.  Ashley chose an elegant selection of beautiful classics for the prelude as well as the processionals.  Mothers entered to Bach’s “Sheep May Safely Graze”, the wedding party to the beloved “Canon in D” and for Ashley, the traditional “Wedding March” (Here Comes the Bride for the uninitiated).  After Ashley and Eddie were pronounced husband and wife they made their way back down the aisle to the joyous “Hornpipe” by Handel.

For the cocktail hour the trio continued to play a mix of light classics and standards to add elegance to the festivities.  Leigh Barker of A Delightful Day Event Planning did a beautiful job of organizing and directing from start to finish, always answering my questions as soon as humanly possible.

Congratulations to Ashley and Eddie and their families!  Best wishes as they depart on their life’s journey together.

Wedding at The Cordelle 11/22/14

We’re finally winding down for the year 2014.  The Cordelle, a relatively new venue I’ve mentioned earlier, hosted the wedding of Kat to James on November 22.    We were a trio with Jocelyn Sprouse on violin and Steve Drake on cello.  The prelude included selections from the classical repertoire including the achingly beautiful slow movement from the Pathetique Sonata by Beethoven.  The first time I heard this piece was in an early Charlie Brown movie (decades ago) where Snoopy skated to it.  I was really happy to be able to recreate it as a trio for Kat.  Another request was for the Nimrod movement from Elgar’s Enigma Variations, also another favorite of mine.

For the ceremony we brought mothers in to Handel’s “Passacaile”, the maids to the gorgeous “Ladies in Lavender” from the movie of the same name and Kat to “Con Te Partiro”.  After a short and sweet ceremony they made their way back down the aisle to the joyous Handel “Hornpipe”.

These days I often communicate more with brides’ mothers because the girls are simply so busy with their careers and school that they’ve learned to delegate tasks to others, usually their mothers.  Martha was a joy to work with as she was organized and was able to make decisions is good time.  I really appreciated her kind words after the wedding smoke cleared when she wrote:

“Thank you again for putting together the music for Kat and James’ wedding ceremony.  It was exactly what we wanted and was beautifully performed.  So many of our guests have told me how much they enjoyed it.  Only regret was that it didn’t go on longer!”

Congratulations to Kat and James.  It truly was our pleasure to perform music from the Masters for their wedding.