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#1284718 - 10/11/09 07:35 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
gdguarino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 317
Loc: New York City
Report for this weekend:

No weddings, no nightclub, no church BYOB dinner-dance, no Oldies Show, no 50th birthday, no nothing. My collection of black pants and shirts stayed on the shelf, untouched. Unfamiliar people read the news to me on TV last night. Who knew they had a weekend crew?

Saturday stretched on forever. Having gotten to bed at a more sensible hour than usual, I got up pretty early. I did the crossword with breakfast, put away some clothes, took out some window air conditioners for the winter, took my daughter to dance school, got a haircut, took the air conditioners to storage, went to a local music store to buy some spare cables, picked up my daughter, took her for a late lunch, came home, took a nap (a Saturday habit before a gig), went with my wife to the supermarket, came home and it was still only eight o'clock or so.

Except for when we were on vacation, I'm pretty sure I haven't had an entirely free weekend since...well, I don't know when. It's nice, actually, but I feel a little out of sync.

Today we're driving a couple of hours into Upstate New York to see the Levon Helm Band outdoors and watch people launch pumpkins with medieval technology. It should be fun.

Happy weekend all!
_________________________
Greg Guarino

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Piano & Music Accessories
#1284815 - 10/11/09 11:51 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: gdguarino]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 710
Loc: Germany
Weekend wedding report: Smooth sailing. Really, I think someone could do a scientific study of brides who chose to marry off season—I think they are much saner than their June counterparts.

On Saturday I played for a wedding party of 16. Quiet, tasteful, and really nice folks.

The castle is full of Americans this weekend—the specialty food convention is happening in Cologne. Lots of coffee, chocolate and olive oil buyers from New Jersey hanging out in the lobby. It warms my heart to hear those American accents.

Greg, enjoy the time as a civilian, and have fun at the pumpkin launching. I had pumpkin soup for lunch, in between sets. The fall/winter Sunday lunch buffet is lethal.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1285050 - 10/11/09 06:25 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4441
Loc: San Jose, CA
I served coffee for sixty at a new-volunteer training weekend at the state park, where I also work as a volunteer. There's nothing that's such a big deal about that, except that it's WAY out in the backcountry: no stoves, no electricity, but lots of campfire light and starlight--- a perfect October day. One gets up at 4 AM to start water heating for the morning coffee. I lapsed one year and got to see what those people are like when they don't have that first cup when they think it ought to be there, and it's not a pretty sight. Otherwise, they are lovely people, and I learned my lesson. It so happens, it's just beautiful at four in the morning.

I started a hiking group ten years or so ago--- nothing to do with the park--- and two different times, people met through the group and later married. One man proposed in front of all and sundry, after we had summited a peak near Lake Tahoe--- down on one knee and everything. The ring would have knocked your eyes out (jaws dropped, eyes bugged out, and some ladies looked rather coldly at their own husbands, clearly saying with their look, "Do you see that?"), and he had swapped packs with his intended, so she had actually carried it all day long. "That little devil," she remarked later. When he proposed, she was speechless for so long I started to fear she was going to say no. But the suspense was for naught; she accepted him and all was well.

They met at a previous retreat. She came with one man and left with another, the one she eventually married. Not the best of form, I suppose, but in the circumstances we'll have to overlook it. There's no arguing with the force of destiny... and they're still together, so that undermines any further argument. It supports Robin's theory that October brides really are happier--- or did she say, "less crazy." Anyway, this one was happy.

The other wedding makes less of a tale.

I lent Robin's book, Rhythm, to my friend Darlene. I thought it was a very fine book and considered that Robin had made very significant growth as an expert teller of tales, which is saying something considering what a wonderful book Piano Girl is. Rhythm is a dramatic story about musicians (though not pianists), which rotates in an elliptical but very satisfying way around a music conservatory... but I don't like to say too much for fear of giving anything at all away. It would rob readers of the enjoyment, and the surprise... though I can tell you that weddings have their day within its pages. Nothing will be taken away by my telling you Darlene's report: "What a great story!" she exclaimed. "I couldn't put it down." I don't think either of us are that easily impressed, either.

I'm now reading Keven Bazzana's biography about genius pianist Ervin Nyireghazi, entitled Lost Genius. Think it's just another book review with nothing to do with weddings? You're so wrong; he had ten of them. I think there are some in whom the flame burns so brightly, it's more than anyone can bear. If you have a spark of it, be happy with that.
_________________________
Clef


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#1285398 - 10/12/09 10:46 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 710
Loc: Germany
Wow, Jeff, thanks for the nice words about RHYTHM (my novel), and thanks to Darlene as well. I had a great time writing that wedding scene. For anyone who wants to read it, here it is. Not sure if the chapter stands on its own (without all the backstory) but maybe it does. In any case, this is one wedding I'd like to attend!

Note: Mary Two is a housekeeper who comes from England. Please excuse her foul language; she really can't control herself. Mary One is also a housekeeper, as well a Billie Holiday expert. Olivia (the bride) is a music teacher. Jane (the narrator) is a teenage drummer, watching her widowed father re-marry.

RHYTHM: A Novel
©2008 Robin Meloy Goldsby

Song lyrics by Robin Meloy Goldsby
Chapter reprinted with the permission of Bass Lion Publishing

Blushing Moon

A lot of aisle marching is taking place this season. First graduation, now the wedding. It’s funny—we spend so much time spinning in messy little circles, but for benchmark occasions, we stop whirling, recover from the dizziness, focus on what we want, and march, in a tidy line, up one aisle and down another.

Olivia asked me to choose the color of the bridesmaid dresses and I picked red, since it’s always been my best color. Olivia, the Marys, and I went to the fancy bridal department of the Joseph Horne Company in downtown Pittsburgh, and were snubbed by a snotty saleslady. She took one look at the four of us, and immediately pretended to be busy rearranging her display of lace gloves. But Olivia stood there and stared her down until she helped us. The saleslady, who fell all over herself once she recognized the Bowman name, said—with one of those fake frozen smiles—that in the entire history of the Joseph Horne bridal department there had never been a single instance of the bridal party requesting red dresses. She tried to convince us to go for aqua, but we refused. She filled out the order form and we made appointments for fittings.

My dress has tiny straps and a long tight skirt with some sort of stretchy stuff in it. André will probably have a heart attack when he sees it, cause it makes my butt look even curvier than it is. Junk in the trunk, he likes to say. Mary One and Mary Two are also wearing red dresses, but with different styles. Mary One’s dress has a huge chiffon skirt, trimmed with sequined bumblebees, and Mary Two’s outfit has a long tailored jacket and a fishtailed skirt. Plus, she’s wearing one of those royal wedding hats—a wide brimmed red straw number with a big puffy veil. Leo says that the three of us look like some sort of mismatched fire brigade, but what does he know.

Grandma Millicent offered her formal living room for the wedding, and Dad and Olivia jumped at the chance. It’s more of a ballroom really, and there’s enough space for a large crowd. For today, Grandma’s furniture has been cleared and neat rows of taffeta-covered chairs line both sides of a long aisle. Octavious and Leo, dressed in dark blue suits with red rose buds in their lapels, practically blind me with their movie-star good looks as they greet guests and escort them to their seats.

“Friend of the bride, or friend of the groom?” they ask, over and over. I wonder what happens if you can’t make up your mind.

I see through a crack in the dining room door that Olivia’s side is overflowing and that Dad’s side is half empty. I also notice that the room is full of men and boys, most of them arriving unaccompanied. Wow.

“Hey Olivia, it’s a packed house and we still have fifteen minutes before show time. How many people did you invite?”

“Let me think. Sam’s list had about thirty people on it and mine had about the same. Then there were some last-minute invitations. I’d say total about 85.”

“It looks like they all brought friends and relatives.”

“Really?”

“Look for yourself.”

“Oh my God,” she says, peeking into the room. “They’re my old students. I haven’t seen some of these boys for years. Look! There’s Louis Shore! I can’t believe he’s voluntarily wearing a tie. Oh, oh, oh—Ralph Haverman is out there next to Manny Lazzaro and Stinky Grimm.”

“Stinky?”

“Don’t ask.”

“We have way too many people. I hope no one calls the police.”

Mary Two, who is repairing her scarlet lipstick for the fifth time, stops preening long enough to look at the crowd. “Jesus m’beads! Look at all those fuckin’ people.”

“There are no more chairs,” I say. “SRO, Olivia.”

“I can’t believe all these young men have come,” she says. “Some of them live really far away.”

“I’ll be buggered,” says Mary Two. “How did they know?”

“Oh!” says Olivia.

“What?” I say.

“It’s Franklin! All the way from Boston!”

“Franklin? Franklin the drummer?” I say. Uh-oh. I still get nervous whenever I hear his name.

“The one and only, and he’s talking to Leo.” She leaps away from the door like a nine-year old. “They’re coming back here,” she says. “What do I do?”

“Hide behind the china closet!” says Mary Two, pushing Olivia to the other side of the room. “It’s bad fuckin’ luck if they see you before the ceremony.”

“I think that rule just applies to the groom, Mary Two,” I say, as I open the door enough to let Franklin inside. He and Olivia stare at each for a moment.

“Hello, Miss Blue.” He’s as close to tears as a guy can get without actually crying. “Congratulations. Wow. You look just beautiful.”

“Oh Franklin,” she says. “How did you know to come? I didn’t invite you. I mean I would have, but I didn’t want you to go to any trouble and—”

“Your husband-to-be invited me and sent me an airline ticket. Mr. Bowman asked if I would walk down the aisle with you and give you away, you know, sort of as a representative of the Gateway Band. We’re all here, Miss Blue, just about all of your band students.”

Holy cow, I think. Dad did this. He invited Olivia’s students as a surprise to her. At this instant, I love my father more than ever. I peek into the living room and see Octavious opening the huge glass doors to the conservatory. Waiters appear out of nowhere with more of the taffeta-covered chairs.

Leo, playing stage manager for the day, sticks his head in the door. “You ready back there?” he says. “I’ll cue the band to start the overture. Five minutes to show time, Ladies and Gentlemen, five minutes.”

“Leo,” I whisper. “Did you know about this? That all of these people would be coming?”

“Are you kidding?” He looks in the gilded mirror hanging on the dining-room wall and slicks back his long golden hair. “I helped your dad plan it.”

Typical Leo.

“Where are my manners?” says Olivia. “Jane, please meet Franklin Boswell! Your predecessor in the Gatehouse Band!”

Franklin Boswell has dark brown satiny skin, a perfect blend of cookie and bird-face, and has the longest eyelashes I’ve ever seen. “Hi,” I say, “I mean, how do you do?”

He laughs. “I’m fine. I hear you’re tearin’ it up over there with Gatehouse boys. Glad to hear the drum chair is in hard-hitting’ hands.”

“Thanks.” My knees feel weak.

“Careful there Miss Jane,” says Mary Two. “June is bustin’ out all over.”

I look down and see that my boobs are about to pop out of the top of my dress. Mortified, I turn away from Franklin and make some minor adjustments. André, playing my grandmother’s 1923 Steinway art-case grand piano, begins a rhythm and blues version of the old standard “Second Time Around,” accompanied by Carlos on electric bass and David on alto sax. Octavious goes to the front and begins to sing.

God, this band is groovin’. They slip into a funky version of “All the Things You Are.” I turn back to talk to Franklin again, but he’s leaning over and whispering in Olivia’s ear. Oh my. He looks as good from the back as he does from the front.

I sneak another peek out front and see the backs of the guests’ heads bobbing up and down in time to the music. Even Grandma Millicent, who had seemed a bit shocked when Dad announced his engagement to Olivia, bounces in her front row seat. She sits between Grandpa Vernon and dear old Grandpa Jack. Jack has left Grandma Isabella in the care of her nurse. It must have been hard for him to be without her, even for a few days, but he wanted to show his support for Sam and Olivia. Sometimes I think Grandpa Jack is the bravest man in the world.

Mary One hands me my bouquet of red and pink roses and André and his band begin playing a very funky “Here Comes the Bride.” Dad waits at the other end of the aisle, looking wired, happy, and maybe just a little bit afraid. Sort of like me.

Leo throws open the big mahogany doors leading into the living room, and I step through the threshold. The band would sound better with me playing, but even without a drummer, André rocks along at a tempo that manages to be both sexy and powerful. The music builds. I think about Mom and I’m sad and joyful all at once. I look over at André and he smiles at me. Then, as the guests rise to pay tribute to the bride, Olivia enters through the big wooden doors. Ribbons of sunlight shine on the uncluttered path leading to my father. She walks down the aisle, with Franklin holding her arm. She turns to face Dad.

The judge asks, “Who gives this woman in marriage?”

Franklin clears his throat and says, “I do, your honor, Franklin Boswell, her former student.”

“And what,” says the judge, “did this lovely woman teach you?”

“Everything,” says Franklin. “But mostly, how to play the drums.”

“Hey!” shouts a voice from the back. “I give this woman in marriage, too.”

“And who are you?”

“Louis Shore, first trumpet.”

“Me, too” says a familiar voice. “André Kenyon, keyboards.”

“Carlos Vierra, bass.”

“David Herman, alto sax.”

“Manny Lazzaro, vocals.”

“Stinky Grimm, lead trombone.”

And so it continues, with each of Olivia Blue’s former students—dozens of them—standing up, going to the front of the room, and giving away the bride.

I know what I have to do. When the guys finish, I make sure the top of my dress is in place, step forward, and join the crowd of boys and men huddled around Olivia.

“Jane Bowman,” I say. “Drums.”

****

The reception, held in Grandma Millicent’s terraced garden—overlooking the Ohio River—is one swingin’ party. At first, the Sewickley Heights neighbors huddle in a cautious group on one side of the lawn. They sneak peeks at the Gatehouse boys. But before long, everyone is mixing it up, dancing, eating and drinking, laughing and telling stories. The musicians take turns on the bandstand. Even with the touch of Lycra sewn into my dress, there’s no way to play the drums in it, so I’ve changed into the jeans and t-shirt I brought with me. When I’m not playing, I check out Franklin Boswell, former drummer and future heart surgeon, as he takes charge and guides the members of the Gatehouse Band, past and present, through stinging versions of their favorite tunes. He may not be playing much these days, but he sure sounds good. I’d kind of like to dance with him, but since one of us is always playing the drums I never get a chance. We pass each other on the way to and from the stage. He nods, I nod. My skin tingles whenever I look at him. Something about Franklin makes me want to talk to him, to touch him, oh man, to just jump on him right here in Grandma Millicent’s back yard. Poor André is oblivious to all of this; he’s way into the music.

As the sun sets, Mary Two—full of champagne punch, her royal wedding hat slightly akimbo—takes the stage and grabs the microphone.

“Ladies and Gentleman, Miss Mary One and I have been working for Mr. Bowman for almost fifteen years now. I used to think Jesus was a good boss, but he doesn’t hold a fucking candle to Sam Bowman. Anyway, Mary One and I love Mr. Bowman very much and we’re ever so thrilled to see him this happy. Miss Olivia, you’ve seemed like part of our family since the minute you walked into our house. I’m glad that now it’s official. So, to celebrate the coming off of your nuptials, Miss Mary One and I have prepared a little musical selection as a gift to you. André is going to play for us.”

I can’t imagine what the Marys are about to do. I’m almost afraid to look. André slides in behind his keyboard. Franklin leaves the stage and stands next to me. Mary One, a little bashful, walks center stage and takes the mike.

Look at the blushing moon,
Swimming in cherry light,
How can I feel so fine?
I've just had one glass of wine,
The thought of a simple kiss,
Could light up the sky in shades of bliss,
I’m swept away by your love.


Mary One sings like an angel, doing her very best Lady Day impression. A piano-solo begins, and right then, Mary Two lifts her long skirt, grins, and performs a perfectly rehearsed little soft-shoe dance, while Mary One stands to the side with one arm held out.

The guests go wild, Dad and Olivia embrace each other like they’ll never let go, Grandma Millicent cries, Grandpa Jack leans against a magnolia tree with a wistful look on his face, Leo and Octavious lock arms and hope that nobody notices, Franklin places his hand on the small of my back, and I look up at the dusky sky and wonder if it’s possible to actually see stardust.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1285714 - 10/12/09 08:41 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4441
Loc: San Jose, CA
Oh, yes, Robin--- I think it stands up just fine... just fine. But, if people think the book is just an extra-thick version of "Brides Magazine," they're in for a very big surprise. When I said the story was elliptical, what I had in mind is the way an ellipse is formed. You can tie a loop of string and anchor it with a thumbtack and draw a circle. If you use two thumbtacks, your pencil will draw an ellipse. It is like a circle with two focal points; the oval-shaped orbit is complete, perfectly inevitable, mathematically predictable, and totally beautiful. This story traces its path around two focal points (the conservatory is one)... but I certainly didn't know where I was going until I got there. Maybe some other people are smarter.
_________________________
Clef


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#1285815 - 10/13/09 12:29 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
gdguarino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 317
Loc: New York City
The ICBP part of the afternoon turned out to be just one home-built air cannon (I guess you can't just get one at Home Depot) with a 97 foot barrel. The muzzle velocity was allegedly 600 miles per hour and the 8" pumpkins supposedly fly about 3700 feet. I say allegedly and supposedly because although many people pointed at the sky and claimed to see the orange missiles, I never did. They say you can more easily see them if you stand behind the gun, but each launch was accompanied by an ear-destroying blast of noise. I decided to forgo it.

Levon Helm had throat trouble and couldn't sing, but there were enough vocalists to go around among the 11 pieces. He looks small and seemingly frail these days but played the drums with authority, always with a wide grin on his face.

It was a treat to see someone else play for a change, and the band was very good. They charted a variable orbit around the meeting point of Blues, Gospel, Country and Rock & Roll. It was a reverent Sunday devotion one minute and a raucous New Orleans party the next. One song would feature acoustic guitars and mandolins, the next razor-timbred guitar, the next the four-piece horn section, sometimes including Tuba.

The "venue" was nearly as primitive as some of my own stories -- a small field next to a farm stand -- but that only added to the atmosphere. There was a good-sized crowd for the site, maybe a little over a thousand, but you could easily walk back and get a cup of chili or corn chowder, or watch kids chase each other through the cornfield. All in all, an enjoyable afternoon, especially as it gave us yet another chance to demonstrate to our daughter that her parents are a little odd when it comes to music appreciation. What's the use of having a teenager if you can't embarrass and bewilder her from time to time? I think of it as returning the favor.

We had another such opportunity on our recent summer vacation. We had arrived at the Gare du Nord train station in Paris and were taking a fairly long cab ride to our hotel. The cab driver must have been from one of the former French possessions in Africa and the car stereo reflected his heritage. He launched the car into a series of narrow streets well before he really knew where he was going.It was a little disconcerting to see him consulting the fine-print index of the Paris Atlas while driving and honking the horn.

Our hotel was seemingly on a major street, but was technically on a tiny alley; it was a pedestrian walkway for most of the day. The address was entirely unknown to our driver. There we were, jawing back and forth in his African French and our New York French, marking up our map with a highlighter pen, scraping past famous monuments as we hurtled through Paris, all the while bopping and singing along in 6/8 time. Our daughter, sitting between us in the back, shook her head with that "Parents" look on her face.

I get a warm feeling inside just thinking about it.



Edited by gdguarino (10/13/09 12:31 AM)
_________________________
Greg Guarino

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#1286922 - 10/14/09 02:26 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Erik L Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/15/08
Posts: 4
Loc: Ft. Lauderdale FL
I played a wedding last week and was waiting for the bride to come out so I could start up "here comes the bride". as soon as I begin playing a brides maid comes running up to me and starts telling me to play something else because it was written by an anti-semetic composer. This was a jewish wedding by the way. So I start just pulling out a bunch of epic-sounding major chors in classical cadences, but seeing as I had just watched star wars earlier that day, the tune was stuck in my head. That poor couple is going to watch their wedding video in the future and expect Han Solo and Chewey to walk down the aisle instead!

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#1287267 - 10/15/09 01:21 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Erik L]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 710
Loc: Germany
Very funny, Eric! You start improving with majestic sounding march music and something goofy is bound to happen. One time, when I was in a similar situation, someone asked me if I was playing the Burger King theme song.

Greg, I have two teenagers here at home, actually three, if you count our South African exchange student. I do my best to embarrass them as often as possible—I think it builds character.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1287963 - 10/16/09 12:10 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
this is the best thread ever.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1288112 - 10/16/09 09:53 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: apple*]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4441
Loc: San Jose, CA
"I played a wedding last week and was waiting for the bride to come out so I could start up "here comes the bride". as soon as I begin playing a brides maid comes running up to me and starts telling me to play something else because it was written by an anti-semetic composer. This was a jewish wedding by the way."

I looked around and was unable to find any mention of anti-jewish prejudice on the part of Felix Mendelsohn, author of "The Wedding March," which became popular with brides after Queen Victoria's daughter, Princess Victoria the Princess Royal, walked down the aisle to it. It is true that Abraham Mendelsohn, his father, a wealthy banker, joined the Lutheran church and added the surname Bartholdy to the family name. That does not amount to being anti-semitic; in fact, he may have been trying to protect his family from anti-semitism. It seems, actually, that Felix was subject to anti-jewish prejudice himself, having been harshly criticized for being Jewish by Ricard Wagner.

That bridesmaid may have gotten things backwards. I'll say no more about bridesmaids; they're clearly identified by ugly uniforms for the protection of the marrying public. This is no more than truth-in-labeling.

The hottest thing about Felix was that there seems to be some evidence, suppressed for the last 100 years, that he (a married man) wrote a sizzling-hot letter to Jenny Lind (a married lady) begging her to elope with him to America (then very distant). She declined. Now, a bridesmaid could make something out of that, but it was such a long time ago. And can bridesmaids say any better for their own conduct? And does it really make a case for walking down the aisle to "The Burger King" theme--- doesn't that go "Aren't you hungry/ For Burger King now?"

I suggest wedding musicians be on guard for this sort of thing. If you can't put up concertina wire, you could at least feign deafness and keep playing the Wedding March. A bride who steps out to "Burger King" doesn't have much further to fall in this world, not with camcorders and those syndicated shows everywhere.
_________________________
Clef


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#1288237 - 10/16/09 01:18 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
gdguarino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 317
Loc: New York City
Jeff,

The "Here Comes The Bride" is Wagner, IIRC. I don't know about Wagner's personal ideas, but he was reportedly Hitler's favorite composer and recordings of his music were played in concentration camps.

I played a ceremony at a Jewish wedding once, mercifully as a duo with our sax player. I'm a poor reader. He played the melodies and I chimed in with some sort of background. I believe that Mendelssohn was actually one of the requested composers.

As far as "making up a new Wedding March on the spot", I can relate. I have already mentioned upthread that I am a "survival" ceremony musician at best. I know my own versions of the usual processional and recessional. If the couple is getting married at the catering hall and they only need those two pieces, they can save money by hiring me; I'm already there for the reception.

My repertoire of pop, rock, standards, etc. is at least in the many hundreds of songs. I don't know how many I've played over the years. But my repertoire of classical pieces can be specified quite precisely: zero.

Our band was playing a wedding at a Manhattan hotel some years ago. It was memorable for at least two things. The first was the tortured path up to the catering room. It involved cramming as much as we could into a tiny elevator, which only went to the basement, and repeating that process several times to accommodate all the equipment. Next we had to snake our way past laundry carts piled high with soiled linens to another elevator. Very Spinal Tap. That elevator was larger and took us to the fifth floor.

It was a serious haul, but we got to the catering room in plenty of time. Or so I thought. It was about then that someone came over looking for the guy who was playing the ceremony. Somewhere in the chain between the couple, the hotel, the planner and us, that detail had gotten lost. The ceremony was to start soon.

There was a piano there for me to use. It was apparently tuned by the same technician that tuned the saloon pianos in all the Western Movies, but hey, at least I didn't have to set up my gear for the ceremony. I hurried off to the bathroom, which was on another floor, to change. I apparently didn't hurry quickly enough, because they sent a waitress up to knock on the Men's Room door and pester me.

First they wanted background music for the guests that were filing in. I consulted my repertoire of classical music. Finding the cupboard bare, I started to play something off the top of my head. The problem is that what starts at the top of my head tends to wander around to other corners of my brain, sometimes leaving the skull entirely.

About then a manager of some sort came over with a list. "What do you usually play for the Maid of Honor?", "Bridesmaids and Ushers?", "Mother of the Bride?", "Flower Girl?" "Ring Bearer" "Best Man?" "Photographer?" "The Groom's Shiftless Brother Ned?"...

Well, she would have said all that, it was typed on her sheet, but my flummoxed expression stopped her. Separate, tastefully chosen pieces for each wedding participant was standard operating procedure at this hotel, to hear her tell it. I consulted my repertoire again. I explained to the manager that no one told us I was playing the ceremony, and no one would have hired me for a ceremony as demanding as this one. I told her I'd do my best.

While the crowd filed in I planned a few themes in my head. The problem is not so much coming up with stuff to play. The problem is reining it in for the setting and repeating motifs often enough for it to sound composed. When I noodle, I tend to noodle linearly, chromatically and with variable rhythm. Stately chords in a walkable cadence takes concentration.

I did indeed play something a little different for certain participants, ending up with Der Fuhrer's favorite for the bride. It worked out OK, really. One of the great lessons of frequent gigging is that people simply don't notice what might seem like glaring flaws to the musicians themselves.
_________________________
Greg Guarino

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#1288477 - 10/16/09 09:59 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4441
Loc: San Jose, CA
You're so right, Greg--- all I had to do was Google up "Here Comes the Bride." And it says the bridesmaid was right:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridal_Chorus

"The "Bridal Chorus" "Treulich geführt", from the opera Lohengrin, by German composer Richard Wagner, is the standard march played for the bride's entrance at many formal weddings throughout the Western world. In English-speaking countries it is generally known as "Here Comes the Bride" or "Wedding March" (though actually "wedding march" refers to any piece in march tempo accompanying the entrance or exit of the bride, notably Felix Mendelssohn's "Wedding March").

"Its usual placement at the beginning of a wedding ceremony is not entirely in accordance with its placement in the opera. In the opera, the chorus is sung after the ceremony by the women of the wedding party, as they accompany the heroine Elsa to the bridal chamber. In addition, the marriage between Elsa and Lohengrin is an almost immediate failure.

"The "Bridal Chorus" is seldom played at Jewish weddings, which do not feature a processional. There could in any case be cultural objections, due to Wagner's well-documented and public reputation as an anti-Semite.[1] It is also opposed by many pastors of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod because of pre-First World War Lutheran opposition to the theater and to the pagan elements of Wagner's operas.[2] The Roman Catholic Church generally does not use the Bridal Chorus; one guideline states that the chorus is a secular piece of music, that it is not a processional to the altar in the opera, and especially that its frequent use in film and television associate it with sentimentality rather than worship.[3]"


Now I feel mean. Oh well, it will wear off. A bridesmaids dress is punishment enough.

The objections about the appropriateness of using the "Lohengrin" in a church are interesting--- but I draw the line when they start to criticize sentimentality. Who, exactly, do they figure would be getting married without that?

It happens I'm reading a book on the history of the organ in America. They were surprisingly controversial--- many churches associated them with heathenism and concert performances of secular music (which everyone who knows sin, knows are sinful). Cotton Mather preached against them from the pulpit in Boston. And a church member in a Boston congregation offered to pay for a new organ AND make a donation to the poor, if the older, unsanctified instrument were thrown into Boston Harbor.

No--- really.

And after all that, now you can't play the Wedding March. Oh well, I can't play it anyway.


Edited by Jeff Clef (10/16/09 10:21 PM)
_________________________
Clef


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#1289243 - 10/18/09 11:51 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
gdguarino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 317
Loc: New York City
It's Sunday, my least favorite day to play. That goes double for anything that ends late. I don't know why, but I'd rather play on a Tuesday night than Sunday, even though both are followed by a workday and a weekday is arguably more difficult. Maybe it's because the guests at a Sunday affair really don't want to be there either. It ends up being a drowsy clock-watching evening for band and spectators alike.

This evening's gig is unusual. In my long demi-career as a musician there have been many times when a party guest has gotten a little too heavily into the bottle, passed out in an anteroom and had to be carried home. But tonight it's a certainty. The guest of honor's age is still counted in months. If you took away all the head-scratcher jobs -- gigs where it's hard to understand why anyone would hire a band -- we musicians would have less work. But I believe this is my first Christening. I'm betting that one of the sets of grandparents hired us.

Maybe it will end early. People do tend to put in a respectable appearance at such things and then duck out. But there are frequently a few die-hards. We end playing the last interminable hour for nine people.

Wish us luck.
_________________________
Greg Guarino

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#1289852 - 10/19/09 01:19 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: gdguarino]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 710
Loc: Germany
Hi everyone!

Another weekend under my belt, or ballgown, or whatever. Oh Greg, I hear you about the Sunday thing. Seems like I've been working on Sundays my entire life. Grateful to have the work, but still. the WHY ME feeling is even more pronounced here in Germany, where the entire country shuts down on Sundays, and it really is considered a Family Day. Except for musicians. My poor kids have grown up thinking of Monday as the day of rest. Come to think of it, I grew up that way, too. And I survived.

Beautiful wedding on Saturday! 39 people. I was hired for the cocktail reception and an instrumental jazz trio for dinner. Bride in white Spanish lace. No hassles, no complaints, EASY.

Until—

**

One of the guests hobbles to the piano, with tears in her eyes:

"Oh, Frau Goldsby, how lovely to hear you again." The woman is in her seventies, beautifully dressed, lipstick on her teeth, helmet hair, with expensive highlights. 300 Euro shoes.

"Yes! Nice to see you, too!" I have no idea who this woman is. But I like her shoes. "How are you?"

"Better now, but it has been a rough year."

"Oh no. What happened?" Never ever ask this question unless you're willing to hear the worst possible news.

"Moritz died."

"Oh no." I don't know if Moritz was her dog, her husband, or the bartender.

"Ja. He died just a few hours after we were here the last time."

"Oh no."

"Ja. Your music was the last music he heard."

Now. This is already upsetting enough. But it's not, sad to say, the first time. I am evidently responsible for many geriatric deaths. There are several documented cases of a people dying while they were listening to me. Granted, they were in the hospital, but still. My husband, the jazz chord doctor, swears it's my unimaginative changes that bring on the grim reaper. I beg to differ.

But then. Last year my parents went to a funeral home (in Pittsburgh) to pay their respects to the family of a deceased high school pal. The funeral home was playing one of my CDs. The recording, it turned out, was part of their generic funeral music playlist. This of course caused my mom to go into a "They're Playing Her Song" frenzy.

Mom ran from mourner to mourner, saying, "Hear that music? That's my daughter." People looked at her like she had a lettuce leaf on her head. Luckily she did not have CDs with her, or she might have attempted to sell a few. She did pass out a few postcards. Oy.

So, that's my musical fate I guess. Weddings and funerals. Important occasions, so I guess I'm doing okay.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1291090 - 10/21/09 08:28 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Astra Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/08/06
Posts: 391
Loc: Slovenia
Hey everybody,

just wanted to say that I really enjoy your stories!

Thanks for sharing them!
_________________________
ex - pian00b

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#1291205 - 10/21/09 11:19 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Astra]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4441
Loc: San Jose, CA
I posted this on another forum, then lost my nerve. But, oh well, I've already ruined the wedding thread, and you already told me you don't care if it's too dark.

The original subject was, "Are you glad to see your tuner?", so you can see it's already strayed badly. They asked why I didn't do any writing--- but you already know.
**************************************************************


"Clef, what do you mean, <too incendiary>?"

And there goes the thread. Well, ok. Fire, being an Elemental, doesn't have to care; its existence alone fulfills its being. Beautiful and useful, beautiful and terrible, or beautiful and serving no purpose at all.

The rest of us have to satisfy a balance of interests in order to exist. So yes, it's possible to be too incendiary; what's written on paper is just a little expression in glyphs of the thoughts that beat their way through the awareness on fleet wings. Even the great Science of our time can't say what thought is, still less what feeling is. But there are plenty of people who are willing to indignantly tell others, "You can't say that!"

Shall I set something on fire for you to demonstrate? Oh why not, the theater isn't that crowded--- in fact, everyone's leaving already.

"So, what did you think about the performance?"

The person leaving the concert at intermission replied that it was fine, if a bit loud, but still good.

The lady at the exit door put on her most witheringly contemptuous sneer. "You liked THAT?"

"Yes." The look on her face, which would have stopped a clock, did not seem to invite actual conversation; in fact, she turned the face away, nose slightly elevated, eyes on the ceiling. The muggy warmth of the sidewalk and the musty darkness of the car park seemed quite a bit more inviting, and after all, if the displeased woman had eaten something that had gone down the wrong way, it was not actually the business of the concert goer to find out the particulars.

One might have considered how small the world of music is, and how embarrassing--- even humiliating--- the lady's generous sponsorship of a concert, which did not turn out to her expectations, might have felt. And there her name was, in the program, in big letters on the sponsor list, on a page all by itself. The promoters had been generous, too.

But, the person leaving the concert wasn't thinking about how the lady must have been feeling like the hostess-with-the-leastest. The gratuitous slap at the exit was no more than a slight annoyance after the very noisy concert. Still, it was his own fault for forgetting to bring the earplugs to the first concert of the season. The instrument was too loud for the hall every year, unless in the hands of an unusually sensitive person.

Anyway, the answer was still, "Yes." He came to the concerts because he enjoyed them, for the most part. The pianist had played pretty well, and had seemed to enjoy himself. An odd little guy--- but so many of them are; anyway, he was "in the zone," and if it was too loud, well, he was a teenager. That's what they like. A lot of them are strutting through the 'hood with a boom box the size of a steamer trunk on their shoulder, making window glass rattle two blocks away to the groove of 'Fity Cent,' and here this guy was, playing the classical concert circuit in a too-warm hall with no air.

No doubt, the little psychodrama at the front door would seem like a hug around the neck compared to the one waiting in the greenroom for the artist after the last encore.

But, the answer was still, "Yes," and it might have been, "Yes, I've been enjoying these concerts since before I knew what your name was, and I'll be enjoying them after I've forgotten what it is." Sure, some are better than others, but the concert artists are doing their best and aren't going out of their way to be unpleasant. As a rule.

He made a note to put a box of earplugs in the car for next time, and to avoid the exit door ambush in the future.
_________________________
Clef


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#1291403 - 10/21/09 05:05 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
gdguarino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 317
Loc: New York City
Robin,

You're describing a common experience among musicians, even those of us who play behind four front-men in a group that is at best locally-known. People tend to talk to you. They know your name, even when it's not obvious how they came to learn it. They know you, or at least act as if they do, even when you have no idea who they might be.

And they tell you things. At our age (50+) you hear a heck of a lot about "conditions" and "procedures". Knee replacement, kidney stones, sciatica, gout etc. You are certainly right about "asking": If you don't want to hear the answer, don't. With some people, you learn not to take the bait, no matter how brightly colored it might be and how much they jiggle it on the hook. "I'm feeling a little better now...", "February, whew, what a month...", "Frank is back in New York...".

I don't believe that any music of mine has ever been played in a hospital or nursing home. Some people have certainly claimed, especially in my younger years, that the sound (they usually referred to it as "noise") we were making was hastening their departure from the temporal plane. One woman in her 70s followed her ears to our drummer's house, pounded on the door and (employing a somewhat outdated word usage) said, "the sound is terrific". Teenagers at the time, we could scarcely keep from saying "Thanks, we think so too".

Our current band did once play at what could only be described as a "pre-death party". There was a man, a well off man with a large house and spacious grounds, who had terminal cancer. He was told he had a few months to live. He was a big fan of oldies music and hired us and an a cappella group to play at an outdoor party at his house. He also invited a number of other local singers from other groups. People did songs in various combinations. It was nice, but strange, like being at a wake for someone not quite gone yet.

The Sunday Christening was as expected. Maybe 150 people, 25 or so of them little kids. The room was kept unusually dark, maybe because the place was brand new, not yet finished, actually. I've written enough already on the challenges of getting in and out of places ostensibly designed for entertainment, so I won't go into detail. Suffice it to say it was another in a long line of obstacle courses.

I played the cocktail hour again, but managed to leave my CD background system at a previous gig. My keyboard has some generic "jazzy" background sequences, but I decided to challenge myself a bit and play solo piano for a while. I took a stab at, let's see... "Here's That Rainy Day", "Lover", "Overjoyed", "Witchcraft" and a few more. The crowd went wild: Cheering, clapping and patting me on the back.

Of course not.

They ate, chased their kids, gabbed and, as always, paid no attention to me whatsoever. I'm having perverse thoughts now. Maybe next time I'll try to work up "cocktail" versions of "Aqualung" and "Manic Depression", just to see if anyone notices.

Jeff,

That was quite a little screed there. I had to read it a couple of times. For myself, unless a performer is actively obnoxious, I applaud. I think this used to be the general rule, but I'm often amazed at the silence that sometimes follows a song, even if the dance floor was full of people evidently having a good time a moment before.

In fact, it is often the band who leads the audience in applause when a speaker at a testimonial dinner concludes his comments. We may not have been especially listening to how well Mrs. Giambalvo managed the rummage sale, but we're attuned to the cadences of a public speech, and can just "feel" the end coming. It never feels good to finish something you put effort into and get no recognition at all. We're pretty thick-skinned by now, but my advice is, always show your appreciation, even when it is of the mildest order.
_________________________
Greg Guarino

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#1291753 - 10/22/09 10:23 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: gdguarino]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4441
Loc: San Jose, CA
"Maybe next time I'll try to work up "cocktail" versions of "Aqualung" and "Manic Depression", just to see if anyone notices."

Well, there's "Permafrost," if you want to go back as far as Air Supply--- a lovely sentiment for a christening. And then there's "White Wedding," if anyone can remember Billy Idol (for those times when "Here Comes the Bride" won't do--- and you'll get them up to the preacher quick as quick). Someday, somewhere, some musician will mashup "White Wedding" and "White Christmas" into a cocktail medley. Most people will blame the bartender.

"That was quite a little screed there. I had to read it a couple of times."

Yes, that's just the trouble with it. Overwritten, underpunctuated; the kind of writing you have to first dig out with a pick-and-shovel, and then put out with a fire extinguisher. And it violates Rule Number One: "Only write about persons who are deceased, or imaginary."

Even Mark Twain, with his wonderfully transparent and readable style, ran into troubles with Rule One violations. He finally cast his imagination back into the time of Adam (and got complaints anyway). I seem to be unable to sustain enough interest to invest the amount of work, and craft that it takes... but thanks for taking the trouble to read. You make your stuff look easy, but anyone who tries it, knows better.
_________________________
Clef


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#1291761 - 10/22/09 10:37 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 710
Loc: Germany
Next time I drink a White Russian (or two) I'll work on my White Wedding/White Christmas medley. This would have been perfect for my gig at the Omni Park Central hotel in Manhattan, where the lobby was all white, the piano was white, and I (the white girl) was asked to wear white dresses.

Jeff, I love the way you write. And you, too Greg. Style, voice, form, flow—and yes, melody—both of you have found the music in your words. Keep going! It's delightful to read.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1291762 - 10/22/09 10:39 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 710
Loc: Germany
PS:

Thanks, Astra. Feel free to chime in. Everyone has a wedding story!
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1292640 - 10/23/09 07:24 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4441
Loc: San Jose, CA
..."both of you have found the music in your words. Keep going! It's delightful to read."

So it's music you want. Ok. I have a musical solution that will take care of people who mention "conditions and procedures" to Greg and which will employ Robin in a white dress, piano etc., TimR's 12-piece brass ensemble... and even a cameo for the wedding planner with the clipboard.

Picture it: they mention procedures, you mention signing up for the Limbo Contest--- the house lights go dark, presto; purple floods sizzle every surface on the stage, with the gleam of brass flashing through the house as white fresnel spots stab through the sudden darkness. "Limbo Rock" strikes up with brio--- no, con fuoco; with the wedding planner taking off at a dead run after the person with the condition, who has turned surprisingly nimble.

People who are old enough to tell you about having their gizzard cut out are old enough to remember Annette. And they know what the limbo pole is for.

As for the white dress and piano--- I've thought twice about it. Who am I to tell Robin how to stage an effect. Though I think a duet with piano and fleugelhorn would be unforgettable as the limbo bar goes lower, lower, and lower still. I think a German audience would appreciate the touch.

One last thing. Anyone who books twelve pieces of brass to play a whole program at double p, needs to be shown better.
_________________________
Clef


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#1292908 - 10/24/09 12:31 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4441
Loc: San Jose, CA
"The Junk we find inside" on Tuner/Tech has picked up its second wind. Just when I thought it had run out of gas. No, no indeed.

I only wish I could say the stories are unbelievable, but the truth is, they're all-too-believable.
_________________________
Clef


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#1292955 - 10/24/09 02:07 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
gdguarino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 317
Loc: New York City
New restaurant last night. It was a pretty good gig. The place was full and lively. They danced, clapped and sang along, and most of them stayed through three sets. It really couldn't have gone much better, which means...that we have no idea if we'll be hired there again or not. Club owners are an inscrutable lot.

Here's another twist in my ongoing description of the gigging life, and I use the word "twist" advisedly. Picture a seven piece drum kit, three instrument amps, a keyboard rig, a PA system rack, stands and speakers, 5 reeds (for one player), two guitars (for one player), an electric bass, seven vocal mikes and a mile of cables to hook all that together. Add in the cases, covers and bags for the aforementioned items.

Now imagine it's all in your bedroom.

Now imagine it's only taking up half. Let's say 18' x 7'.

Can you visualize it? Wait, you forgot the band. Shoehorn 9 guys of varying shapes and sizes into your mental picture. For extra realism, factor in the collection of physical complaints common to men our age.

As this is neither the first time we've been in this situation, nor the very smallest space, we managed. Once we get set up it's not too bad. But the setup is rather like solving one of those little puzzles with the sliding "tiles", usually 15 tiles in a 4x4 grid. You can't simply put the tile with the monkey's foot in the lower right corner, you have to move six or seven others in a series of strategic steps.

Put the keyboard amp in place? No. First move the digital piano case to make room for the sax cases. Oops, no, first take the piano out of the case, then put the case away, then move the sax cases. Oops, while we were doing that the bass player made the drummer move his kit. Start again from scratch.

So we need another wrinkle or two in the analogy. You're still working the tile puzzle, but so are eight other guys, and each one has a different idea of what the "picture" is supposed to be. It's not a 4x4 grid, it's more like 7 x 23 and there's a time limit.

Oh, and there are no open spaces.
_________________________
Greg Guarino

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#1293455 - 10/25/09 02:46 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: gdguarino]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 710
Loc: Germany
Greg, your set-up sounds like that computer game: King of Parking. I think maybe this is why I play solo piano.

Jeff, I am now working on my limbo medley. Why is that word so funny? Just saying it makes me laugh.

"Limbo Rock" strikes up with brio--- no, con fuoco; with the wedding planner taking off at a dead run after the person with the condition, who has turned surprisingly nimble.

The above is maybe one of the funniest sentences ever, Jeff.

No weddings at the castle this weekend, but I've been informed that the banquet department has now booked several WINTER WONDERLAND weddings in December. So stay tuned. Gingerbread. Twinkle lights. Bridesmaids dressed as shepherds and angels.

I shall refuse all requests for "Jingle Bell Rock" and that dreadful Mariah Carey "All I Want for Christmas" song and instead play all of my favorite minor-key Xmas songs in a lilting (yet uplifting) tempo.

I'm hoping for a bride dressed in red velvet and ermine.

LIMBO! Con fuoco.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1293547 - 10/25/09 05:38 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
TimR Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Jeff Clef

One last thing. Anyone who books twelve pieces of brass to play a whole program at double p, needs to be shown better.


I'll have you know I played all of Radetzky on one breath!

Hee, hee.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1293628 - 10/25/09 08:03 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
gdguarino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 317
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Piano Girl RMG
I think maybe this is why I play solo piano.

Was it always so? Have you played in an ensemble setting in the past? You certainly do describe a charmed musical life, at least recently. Steinways and Bosendorfers, carted in by others and tuned by professionals. Medieval castles and well-tended gardens in bloom. Disney songbirds chirping along in harmony, lowering floral garlands onto your head as you play.

That's how I imagine it, anyway.

I had a close call last night. It was a charity concert at a local school. There were to be two acts, plus a jazz trio to warm up as the spectators entered. The trio was about to begin, but due to weather of Biblical intensity, the piano player hadn't arrived yet. Their drummer asked me to sit in. I love to sub, but I'm not a jazz player, especially not as the lead instrument in a trio, and I told him so. But I didn't really see how I could turn them down.

I sat down at the piano, whose tuning did nothing to make me feel better about the situation. Some of the higher notes were sci-fi laser guns, others practically chords. The bass player plopped a fat fake book in front of me. Owing to aging eyes, dim light and my general unfamiliarity with playing from any sort of written guide, it didn't promise to help matters much.

We were about to start "My One and Only Love", which I do marginally know, when a damp, anxious-looking fellow came rushing down the aisle. Whew.
_________________________
Greg Guarino

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#1293668 - 10/25/09 09:32 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: TimR]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4441
Loc: San Jose, CA
"I'll have you know I played all of Radetzky on one breath!"

I'll have to confess I don't know that composer, but I don't doubt you could do it, Tim. I'd be interested to learn about Radetzky, if you want to say a few words. Is it wedding music? I love brass; used to play Bb cornet myself, years ago.

Matter of fact, I could picture Robin and the horn section burning up the stage with "Santa, Baby." The Eartha Kitt original, of course--- not the Madonna knock-off.

"Santa, baby,
I've been about as good as good
Can be.
Santa, sugar,
So hurry down my chimney tonight!"

"Come and trim my Christmas tree
With some toys from Tiffany..."


With this ring, I thee wed.

Oh I hate to let go of this--- but this is a five-alarm show-stopper, not background music. So is the follow-up number, the immortal, the inimitable, the one-and-only, "Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets." A tango, I believe. Once you perform the limbo, there's no place left to go; limbo, tango, samba, mambo, rhumba, bossa nova, and conga, until the guests fall over like so many dominos.

What a party!

Perfect for a nightclub floor show. I'm not so sure about a wedding rehearsal dinner... though Robin has certainly described some very lively ones. But if the bride's had a few drinks, and just has to sing...




PS- I have discoverd, thanks to Wiki, that the Redetzky March is by Strauss:

"Despite its military nature, its tone is rather festive than martial, in accordance with its dedicatee's exuberant personality and popularity in the ballroom as well as the battlefield. It is usually played in under three minutes."


Edited by Jeff Clef (10/25/09 09:37 PM)
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Clef


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#1293765 - 10/26/09 02:25 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21904
Loc: Oakland
For the record, the Radetzky March is by Johann Strauss, Sr. It may be his best-known work.
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#1293812 - 10/26/09 06:51 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
TimR Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Jeff Clef
"I'll have you know I played all of Radetzky on one breath!"

I'll have to confess I don't know that composer, but I don't doubt you could do it, Tim. I'd be interested to learn about Radetzky, if you want to say a few words. Is it wedding music? I love brass; used to play Bb cornet myself, years ago.



I intended humor. Radetzky March would be as familiar to a European audience as Stars and Stripes would be to a US one. (and about as difficult to play quietly) If there is any appreciable number of Europeans in the audience they will generally clap along.

It is unique in one respect. At the time I was playing trombone for the 12 piece as well as a full wind ensemble. It is rather easy to play trombone too, well, enthusiastically, and we are famous for getting "the hand" from the director. Strauss himself said "never look at the trombones, it only encourages them." However, there is a whole note roughly four bars into the first strain that needs to be LOUD. It's the one note in the whole repertoire I never succeeded in playing too strongly for the conductor.

I guess I have to tell another brass story. My employer sent me to Germany for several years, I've just returned. Because of this I'd been away from the American wind ensemble traditions quite a while. I was down in Munich for Oktoberfest (yeah, the real one!) and walking past a beer tent I heard a familiar tune. Inside was a typical German large oompah band, probably about 20 to 25 pieces and largely conical brass. (meaning more euphonium/tenor horn than trombone, more fluegel than trumpet, etc. A round mellow sound rather than a brilliant piercing one.) To my surprise they were playing "Them Basses" at breakneck speed. I hadn't heard that one in decades, and never expected to come across it live in Germany. Or at an Oktoberfest anywhere.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1293946 - 10/26/09 10:59 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: TimR]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 710
Loc: Germany
Tim, I live outside of Cologne. We've never had a brass band play at a castle wedding, but we did have an alphorn group play in the driveway for a bride's arrival. Now that's a sound.

Greg, I've got a truly fairy tale gig now, but it took decades of brutal jobs to get to this point. When I left NYC in 1994 I swore I would never again play in another hotel, that I would focus on my writing and composing, that I would hang up the cocktail dresses and ball gowns and settle into a nice comfortable life of pajama outfits, chilled white wine, and no makeup. Then, I attended one of my husband's concerts at Schloss Lerbach. I fell in love with the place, talked to the director, and the rest is piano history. I've been there for eight years now, every weekend on a steady FRI, SAT, SUN gig, plus a bunch of concerts and private parties. Like any solo piano gig, it's occasionally goofy, but I've been around the piano block often enough to realize that I am one lucky musician.

But before 1994, believe me, I was in the trenches.

I've always played solo, because, frankly, I can make more money playing solo. Plus I can do my own thing. Yes, it's lonely in a way, but I'm never ever bored. The world is full of ridiculous, touching, sad, funny, and obnoxious cocktail lounge customers, and I get to see them at their best and worst. Some musicians might think this is an awful way to make a living, but I love it.

Jeff, I'm about as far from Eartha Kitt as a gal can get, although I do have some of the right outfits. Last year I bought a pair of leopard high heels. Yeow!
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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