10/27/18 Wedding at Scarritt

On 10/27/18 Silver Strings convened at Wightman Chapel on the Scarritt Campus for the nuptials of Shannon and Eduardo.  Jocelyn Sprouse and Gary Tussing joined me in a mostly classical setting in this beautiful chapel.  Grandparents and mothers took their places to Bach’s “Sheep May Safely Graze” after which the attendants arrived to the no-so-classical Coldplay tune “Clocks”.  Shannon met Eduardo at the altar to “Trumpet Voluntary”.

Two friends of the couple lent their beautiful voices to moments during the ceremony.  At the beginning of the ceremony Maribeth sang “Blessed assurance”, accompanying herself on the piano.  After a scripture reading Dennis sang “In Christ Alone” with the trio along with the piano as accompaniment.  Both of them gave me goosebumps with the beauty of their singing.  After the vows and exchange of rings Maribeth and Dennis sang “The Prayer” with the trio in another goosebumpy moment.

When the Newlyweds were introduced we sent them back down the aisle to U2’s “Beautiful Day”.  And indeed it was a beautiful day for everyone.  Congratulations to Shannon and Eduardo and their families with wishes for a long and happy life together!

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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!

Tennessee Bar Foundation Dinner 5/5/18

May 5, 2018 was a busy day in downtown Nashville.  The Predators were playing a big game with a pre-game bash in front of the Hilton Hotel…the place we were supposed to be that evening to entertain at a dinner for the Tennessee Bar Foundation.  We all expected nightmare traffic but none of us had a problem, getting there in plenty of time.

We started off the dinner part with tunes like “Be Our Guest” and a Star Wars medley to bring the guests into the ballroom to find their tables.  Then we settled into beautiful background music to help create a convivial atmosphere for the diners.  We were a quintet that evening, an ensemble we absolutely love because the addition of a string bass really enhances the richness of the sound.  My favorite tune of the evening with this ensemble was “Oblivion” by Piazzolla.  Look it up on youtube if you’re not familiar with it.  So sensuous and compelling you’ll want to immediately run out and sign up for tango lessons.

After the dinner and presentation we kicked our music into high gear and played danceable music such as “Shut Up and Dance”, “Billie Jean” and “Born to Be Wild” during dessert.  One table of guests kept us playing a good half hour after our contracted time.  We winged an accompaniment to Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” for one of the guests to sing and later a tango for one of the couples.  They were having fun and we were having fun.  Indeed a good time was had by all.

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!

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