Installation of the President of Watkins College of Art, Design and Film

On May 13 Silver Strings brought their music to the installation of the new president of the Watkins College of Art, Design and Film.  It was great to play something other than a wedding although we did play a processional for the dignitaries, Mayor Megan Barry and the “new” President, Dr. Kline (who had already done two semesters of leading the college before his inauguration).  We enjoyed playing interludes for the guests and graduating seniors during the installation.  Julianna Waller, the violinist with the trio that day, did a beautiful job of playing the “Meditation” from Thais for one of the interludes.  We played a movement from the Mozart “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” as a sort of inside joke on the new president’s name.

After the ceremony we reconvened behind the school on a patio overlooking the lake at Metro Center for a cocktail hour where we played fun stuff for the guests.  Julianna is marvelous at improvising on the jazzy tunes and even got the other two of us to swing the Bach Concerto for Two Violins.  A little bit later we got a thumbs up on our rendition of “Game of Thrones”.  Someday I need to see an episode to see what the fuss is all about.

Beautiful weather, fun music, nice people….it doesn’t get much better than this.

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Wedding at College Hills Church of Christ May 23, 2015

I’m a little bit of a risk taker, especially when it comes to participating in weddings that have wonderful requests for music.  On May 23, 2015 three of us dashed from an earlier wedding to this one in record time (I’ll never admit we exceeded the speed limit).  Fortunately I’d attended the rehearsal the day before and was able to set up part of our equipment to save time.  We were a quartet with a trumpet, a vocalist and a pianist this time playing mostly classic wedding selections and a few well-known songs from famous movies.  The stage was stunning with white draping  that looked almost like it could have been a chuppah with a chandelier hanging over where Lindsay and Caleb would be exchanging their vows.

The really cool thing about this wedding was the discovery that I had played in the quartet for Lindsay’s mother, Linda’s wedding 27 years earlier.  Linda handed me a picture at the rehearsal that really took me back, seeing old friends I’d worked with in what seems like another lifetime.

Jonathan Riggs was our soloist for the ceremony, singing “Ave Maria”, “My Own True Love” from Gone With the Wind”, and “All I Ask of You” from Phantom of the Opera.  Jonathan did a phenomenal job allowing us the pleasure of simply accompanying him because of his confidence in leading us to make music with him.  Steve Patrick on trumpet did a phenomenal job of tastefully adding to the arrangements when appropriate or taking the lead when it was time to bring Lindsay to her groom with a fanfare to the Wedding March.  Brandon Carver, a friend of Lindsay’s, was terrific on keyboard stepping up to work with total strangers without missing a beat.

During the ceremony there was a very sweet moment during the unity candle when a recording of Lindsay’s sister singing “The Prayer” was played.  Lindsay’s sister thought she would be too nervous to sing with us accompanying so her song was pre-recorded.

Now for the fun part…We started off the recessional with the Mendelssohn “Wedding March” but before we got to the second refrain we seamlessly launched into “Rocky Top” to send the newlyweds the rest of the way back up the aisle along with their wedding party.  “Rocky Top” had special meaning for them at the start of their relationship so it was imperative to include the song somehow.  By the time the mothers were ready to recess we were back to “Wedding March” for a little more dignified exit.

One last thing…thanks to Misty Saunders of Finishing Touch Event Design for her able directing and coordinating of the millions of details that going into making a wedding run smoothly.

Congratulations to Lindsay and Caleb and their families!  If they get busy with starting their family maybe I’ll be able to see the third generation down the aisle.  Best wishes to all!

Wedding at Belle Meade Plantation May 16, 2015

Meanwhile over in West Nashville at the Belle Meade Plantation Hilari was busy getting married to Grant in the garden behind the mansion.  I was originally looking forward to playing their wedding until necessary surgery intervened because they had chosen some really fun (for the musicians anyway) classical music for the prelude.  Selections included Overture to the Marriage of Figaro, Mozart’s Turkish March originally written for piano, a Handel Harp Concerto.  A trio consisting of Julianna Waller, Tammy Hobbs and Gary Tussing did justice to the masters’ works.

For the processionals Hilari chose Vivaldi’s “Spring” first movement for the mothers and then the third movement for the wedding party.  She chose for her entrance Handel’s “Hornpipe” from the Water Music.  At the close of the ceremony the newlyweds made their way back down the aisle to the exciting Handel “Allegro from Solomon”.

The trio reconvened at the area between the stable and the carriage house to play for cocktails and dinner.  They played music from all different eras to cover the generations in attendance including Ellington’s “Take the A Train” to Ben Rector’s “White Dress”.  During dinner the trio played “old school” love songs such as “When I Fall In Love” and “At Last”.

Congratulations to Hilari and Grant along with their families!  Many wishes for a long and happy life together.