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.

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Wedding at CJ’s 5/4/18

On May 4, 2018 Caroline married her sweetheart, Mike in a lovely ceremony in front of the gazebo in the garden at CJ’s Off the Square in Franklin.  Caroline chose mostly contemporary tunes such as “River Flows in You” and “Marry Me” for the prelude and traditional music such as “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” and “Canon in D” for the processionals.  She chose “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” for the recessional, the lyrics of which are so apropos for a wedding…”My oh my what a wonderful day.  Plenty of sunshine headin’ my way…”

Susan Mullen and Elizabeth Browne joined me that day.  Being a Friday and rush hour in Nashville, compounded by events going on in Franklin, Elizabeth and I got caught in traffic jam after traffic jam trying to get to CJ’s on time.  We left really early hoping to avoid the worst traffic but no such luck.  Fortunately Susan got there before we did and took care of carving out a place for us set up.  We made it before the guests began to arrive so all was well.  Kudos to CJ’s team for rolling with the situation and making sure we got the proper signals as to when to play what.

Congratulations to Caroline and Mike on their new life journey together!

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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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!

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.

Wedding at Country Music Hall of Fame 10/14/17

October 14, 2017 was a busy day for us.  After a wedding at Ravenswood we jumped in our cars and sped downtown to take care of the music for a wedding booked by Craig Duncan, one of our colleagues who sometimes double books himself knowing we’ll take care of business.  Sarah Fried of the CMHoF very ably did the coordinating.

Alexis and Jared were wed in the Rotunda at the Country Music Hall of Fame.  Alexis chose several Country tunes including “Amarillo by Morning” (George Strait) and “Cowboy Take Me Away” (Dixie Chicks) for the parents and wedding party and recessional respectively.  After an introduction from “When You Wish Upon a Star” Alexis  arrived at the chupah to “Forever and Ever Amen”.  Rabbi Rice of Congregation Micah performed the rite after which, of course, Jared stomped the glass and the festivities began.

Mazel Tov to the newlyweds!  Silver Strings wishes them a long and happy life together.