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#1967290 - 10/01/12 12:51 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
Well, Clef, your post is full of wisdom. Thank you for your inspirational words. You are one smart guy.

I particularly liked the part about the bear grease.

Tim, nice to hear from you! Stories to follow. I just have to sit down and organize them in my bride-addled brain. Is addled even a word? Bride-addled sounds like an exercise for snare drummers.

And speaking of romance, there's news at the castle. Remember our two black swans? One of them insisted on running away (he kept deserting his mate, leaving the lovely castle lake, and setting up swan shop in a swamp back behind a BMW car dealership. No accounting for taste. Finally, a fox got him. Bad news for the remaining swan, Congo, who has been heartbroken and alone on the lake for several months. Our intrepid front desk manager called every animal shelter and zoo in Germany and finally found a mate, named Prince, who had also lost his mate to one of those nasty foxes. I got to watch the introduction of the two swans last week. They bickered at first, but they're now swimming happily in their own private pond. I feel like the world is round again.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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Piano & Music Accessories
#1967564 - 10/01/12 11:04 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
Maybe I would have been wiser to have left it at the bear grease; at least it tied in with the wedding...
_________________________
Clef


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#1967636 - 10/02/12 03:54 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
Two weeks ago I played a very intimate event for a very big company here in Europe. I didn't recognize any of the VIPS, but I knew they were important because the security detail out-numbered the guests. Note: I like the security guys and gals. They always lurk around the piano, and because they have nothing else to do, they actually listen to me. Anyway, I played my standard background music, nice grand piano, little contact with the VIPS, easy.

I got a call the next day from the event planner who wanted my address so she could send me a thank you gift. For a fleeting moment I was hoping she would send me my very own hulking security person, but that would have been tricky since there is not one inch of extra space in my little house (too many basses, too many pianos, too many teenagers). A few days later I received a huge box in the mail. First I pulled out a bottle of champagne so I was off to a good start. I noticed the champagne was manufactured by the company I had played for. "Ah," I thought. "They are sending me things they make." I reached into the foam peanuts and pulled out the next surprise. Toilet cleaner. I kid you not. Next up? Wood glue. Then came the glue stick (this people are big on glue). Then I got a bottle of dishwashing detergent, shampoo, shower gel, and a carton of disposable tissues to clean eyeglasses.

I have received flowers and wine and git certificates, and yes, chocolate, but toilet cleaner and wood glue? At first I was a little insulted, but after a few minutes I realized these were things we can actually use. My husband was thrilled. He already has a glueing project happening. Don't ask.

Alas, no bear grease in the box.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

Top
#1967680 - 10/02/12 08:38 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
It is today's glue technology that has made the modern piano possible. They talk about it all the time on the Tuner/Tech forum, though I realize I don't think of it as much as I might. Soundboard, hammers, case, keycovers, the binding of music books, nice evening shoes.

And as for toilet cleaner, no more needs to be said, except, where would we be without it?

Now, I have to admit that anyone might eye askance a bottle of champagne which was keeping that kind of company. Still, one can hardly subsist three meals a day on champagne, especially with smudgy eyeglasses, and I think the secretary who put up the CARE package for you remembered that his or her boss wanted to do everything they could for you, to take some of life's little obstacles out of your path. They did you the compliment of letting you know who they really are--- some of these corporate cheeses can't cover their tracks fast enough--- and expressed their thanks along with their humility and humanity.

I trust, when you're serving the champagne, that you won't get the bottles mixed up.

That present of glue for your husband was a stroke of genius. How did they know just what he wanted? Maybe it's what all husbands want...
_________________________
Clef


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#1968135 - 10/03/12 08:22 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
I am thankful the gift box did not include a staple gun.

Here's a nice story about a wedding I played that was perfect. Believe me, this doesn't happen often. Anyway, I thought this might be inspiring to some of you aspiring wedding pianists.

My friend F, who used to be a breakfast waitress at the castle where I have my steady gig, called me several months ago to tell me she was marrying her dream guy and wanted me to play for her reception and dinner. I have a special price for colleagues, so I checked the date, gave her a quote, and marked my calendar.

The reception and dinner were held at the romantic SCHLOSS DYCK. (No matter how you pronounce this, it sounds bad) which is about an hour away from home. F rented a lovely Yamaha C7 for me. I arrived at the appointed time and was delighted to find an incredibly beautiful castle with a moat. I had to be buzzed in through a giant wooden archway. It was quite a hike up to the main part of the castle and in high heels it was particularly challenging on the cobblestones (will I never learn?). I kept wondering about the piano movers and hoped, for their sake, there was a secret delivery entrance somewhere on the grounds.

The caterers, not knowing that I was a friend of the bride, were a bit nasty, but a little bad attitude from people with trays never bothers me too much. I did manage to make friends with the bar man. I'm not drinking much these days, but still, it was good to have someone on my side. The ceiling of the reception room was hand painted and I wondered how in the world I was going to get through the gig without getting a cramp in my neck. Really—it was so beautiful I could hardly stop looking.

The piano was excellent and covered with about five dozen red roses. It was stunning. F and her entourage arrived from the chapel and she looked about as good as any bride I've ever seen. I played for the reception, then F's father gathered everyone around the piano and I played F's favorite piece (Legends of the Fall from my Songs from the Castle CD) for her while everyone listened. She cried. I barely held it together. F insisted I join them for dinner, so I had a fabulous five course meal and played between courses. All in all I was there for five hours. I left just as the dancing was beginning (another band). Yes, they waltzed across the floor like pros. Like I said, it was perfect. And that little bit of concert performance was just enough for me.

By the way, F, our intrepid breakfast waitress, is now living in Dubai, where she runs a large company with her new husband.

The cobblestone path back to my car was lined with torches. Ah, the enchanting Schloss Dyck, silhouetted in the September sky. The stars were out. It was a happy end to a happy day. And even the caterers smiled at me as we drove out of the parking lot together.

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

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#1969413 - 10/06/12 11:20 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
I actually attended a wedding today, as a guest. The banquet manager I work with at Lerbach got married.

S and I have logged some serious work hours together, taking care of summer brides and their respective entourages. I play the Pachelbel, he coordinates the lobster appetizers. I have to say, he was the most relaxed groom I've ever seen. I guess if you do weddings for a living, you're bound to be pretty chilled out at your own event. I did notice that everything was running on time in spite of the rain and the dismal parking conditions outside the church. Also, I loved that S was wearing a top hat.

But here is what I want to tell you: There were two singers and a pianist (playing one of those 400 pound electric keyboards) on a balcony in the front of the church looking down on the congregation. There was also an organist up there (thought of you, Apple) and one of those immense pipe organs that makes me cry, even if I don't know the people getting married. The organist played the wedding march and the hymns—he had no sense of time at all, it's like we were in the land of invisible bar lines, but that was okay because he had power and that (kind of) made up for everything.

When it came time for the vocal selection, the keyboardist, who was wearing a plaid flannel shirt—he looked more like he was going on a hunting expedition than playing for a formal wedding—accompanied the two female singers with great style. He was a very good player. The singers were good, too, although "You'll Be in My Heart" in German doesn't back the same wallop. Plus, you know, I always think of Tarzan and those apes, which isn't the best image for a wedding, but whatever—they sang and played really well.

But here comes the dicey part—during the exchange of vows and rings, the keyboardist starting packing up his equipment, moving the keyboard, putting it into its case, collapsing the stand and stool. He continued packing up all the way through the benediction. In his defence, I doubt that anyone noticed—he was very quiet—but still. I thought maybe he had another job to get to, but when I exited the church, there he was, calmly smoking a cigarette. He didn't look like he was in a hurry.

And now I am off to play my regular gig. I hope the fireplace has been put into service—it's cold and wet this weekend. Wishing you all a happy weekend!
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1969911 - 10/07/12 04:08 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3158
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Piano Girl RMG
The organist played the wedding march and the hymns—he had no sense of time at all, it's like we were in the land of invisible bar lines, but that was okay because he had power and that (kind of) made up for everything.



I find it truly astonishing how common this is.

I have a tentative theory: that the delay between key press and sound filling a large acoustic space somehow interferes with organist's sense of time becoming locked in. The ones who play a lot of piano don't seem to have as much trouble with this.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1970648 - 10/09/12 03:38 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
You may well be right, Tim! That said, I have nothing but respect for good organists. That whole foot pedal thing completely wigs me out. When I was 18 and didn't know any better I had a job, booked by an agent ( or was he an Egyptian curse?) who told the client I was a professional organist just back from a tour of European cathedrals. I didn't even know how to turn the darn thing on. And then, once I got started, I scared myself to death when I stepped on one of those bass pedals. I spent most of the gig playing what sounded (to me) very much like ice skating music.

Couples only.

Ladies choice.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

Top
#1972221 - 10/12/12 08:26 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
Here's a little story I wrote a few months ago. It's fiction, I swear. And I cleaned up the language a bit so it would pass the PW Censorship Board.

The Wedding Musician
©2012 Robin Meloy Goldsby

“So. Where do I set up?” Paul Lewinsky, also known as the Great Handini, has arrived at the Turtle Creek Moose Club in Pittsburgh, ready for his Saturday afternoon gig. He scopes out the hall. Acoustics might be tricky in this place.

“I don’t really care where you set up,” says Lois, the waitress. She is a tiny thing, barely five feet tall, and she’s balancing a huge platter of goldfish bowls on her hip. She waves in the direction of a small platform at the end of the room. “Maybe over there? On the stage?” Water sloshes onto the linoleum floor. “Jesus Christ. Whoever thought of using live goldfish for centerpieces? I feel like I should call PETA or something.”

“Are those real fish?” says Handini. He peers into one of the bowls long enough to see a tangerine-colored creature swimming in circles. Handini has worked his share of classy joints, but this isn’t one of them. Low ceilings, linoleum floors the color of muddy water, no curtains on the crusty windows. Glossy magenta paper plates with matching napkins and plastic forks adorn each of the twenty picnic tables. The room smells tangy and musty at the same time, like leftover olives.

“Yep. Real fish. Plastic plates. Go figure.” Lois knows how to handle musicians. She used to play bass in a local metal band, a five-piece ensemble called Turtle Whack. She quit when her second daughter was born. The baby’s father, Turtle Whack’s lead singer, had run off with the chick drummer, and, well, here is Lois now, paying the bills by waitressing at other people’s weddings. She has always felt sorry for wedding musicians. Not much better than waitressing. “So you need to load in your equipment or what?” she asks Handini. “You play keyboard, right?”

“Uh, no. I’m a hand artist.”

“A hand artist? What? You paint or something? Onorfrio said there was music for today’s reception.”

“I am a musician. I make music with my hands,” says Handini. He steps closer to the waitress, clamps his fists together and makes squishy farting noises through the air holes next to his thumbs. Hear that? That’s ‘Alley Cat.’ He plays another eight bars. The waitress stares at him.

“That’s friggin' weird.”

“Trust me, people love this stuff.”

“Yeah, yeah. Whatev. What’s your name?”

“The Great Handini. And you?”

“Bad Butt Lois. How do you do?” Lois knocks over a bowl and a goldfish flops on to a magenta napkin. Handini grabs the fish by the tail, tosses him into a pitcher of water, and wipes his hands on his pants.

“Nice to meet you Bad Butt Lois. Sorry, I can’t shake,” he says. “Have to protect my instruments.”

“Right,” says Lois, extracting the fish from the pitcher with a plastic spoon. “I’m just wondering what’s gonna happen to these poor fish once the party is over.”

“You got an aquarium?”

“No. Do you?”

“No. So. What time does the sound man get here?”

“The sound man?”

“Yeah. I need amplification. My music is very delicate.”

“I gotta call the boss.” Lois slips a cell phone out of her apron pocket. “Onorfrio! It’s me. Some guy named The Great Handini is here and he needs a microphone.” She hangs up. “So,” she says to Handini, “I’m curious. What’s your opening number?”

“Usually a waltz. I like Strauss. But this is a Baptist wedding. No dancing. So I think I’ll start with ‘Pop Goes the Weasel.’ Always a big crowd pleaser.”

“You’re gonna play ‘Pop Goes the Weasel’ for a wedding reception? With farting noises? On your hands?”

“Trust me, Lois. Works like a million bucks. Oh! One other thing. I’m gonna need a table for my merchandise.”

“Your merchandise?”

“Yeah. I sell CDs. My latest recording is The Great Handini Plays Mancini. You know, ‘Pink Panther,’ ‘Moon River,’ all the Mancini classics. I’ve also got Handini does Garth Brooks, Handini Meets Handel, and Be-bop Handini. They’re all pretty good. But, two years ago I recorded a nice set of lullabies for kids. That’s the most popular CD to date. It has kind of a New Age vibe. Parents tell me they play it at bedtime for their kids and—bam!—the little snots are sawing logs in minutes. Better than George Winston.”

Lois, not sure what to say, folds each napkin into an origami swan. Handini follows her from place setting to place setting. The goldfish, crescents of light in the dingy hall, stare at her from their glass spheres.

“Poor things,” says Lois. Handini laughs, and Lois glares at him.

“You know, I also got t-shirts and coffee mugs with a full-color picture of my fists. They make great Christmas presents. If you want one, let me know. I offer a special price to my co-workers.”

Lois picks up her phone again. “Onorfrio, we need a table for The Great Handini. He sells stuff. What? I dunno. New Age CDs and coffee cups. Good. See you in fifteen.”

“Wow,” says Handini, picking up one of Lois’s origami swans. “You’re a hand artist yourself. Ever consider selling these? You’d make a fortune.”

“Look, I got work to do. Don’t you have to warm up or something?”

Handini lifts his hands and begins playing the piccolo solo from “Stars and Stripes Forever.” He whizzes through it while Lois looks on, her pierced lip curled back in shock. Or awe. Or horror.

“Darn,” says Lois. “That’s really, uh, quite impressive. Guess you really don’t need to warm up.”

“Nope. I’m ready to go. That’s the beauty of my profession. I’ve got my instrument ready at all times. I just keep my hands in my pockets for a few minutes before I go on, and —giddyup!—it’s off to the races with The Great Handini. Want some help with those swans?”

“Wouldn’t want to you get a paper cut.”

“Right. Good thinking. One little skin injury and I’m screwed. Back in 1995 I grabbed an envelope the wrong way and it put me out of business for an entire month.”

“Yeah,” says Lois. “I hear you. Back when I was still playing I—”

“Whoa!” says Handini. “I knew there was something special about you. You’re a musician?”

“Was,” says Lois.

“Let me guess,” says Handini, looking her up and down.

“Flute?”

“No.”

“Clarinet?”

“No.”

“Oboe?”

“What, are you gonna guess all the wimpy instruments just cause I’m short?” asks Lois. “I am—was—a bass player. Electric bass. Bad Butt Lois.”

“Ah,” says Handini. “The pork chop.”

“Yep. A metal band. I quit a few years ago. Long story. Now I’m schlepping trays of innocent goldfish through a tacky catering hall.”

“Too bad you don’t have your ax with you,” says Handini. “We could do a couple of duets.”

“I haven’t played for a long time,” says Lois. “Besides, I don’t think you’d much like my music. Metal is a long way from Mancini.”

“What? I love metal. I recorded a CD of Iron Maiden covers—you should have heard the solo I took on “Wasted Years”—but my PR guy told me I’d never be able to sell it. So I’m sitting on the master, waiting for the right moment.”

“You’re certainly versatile,” says Lois, finishing up the last of the napkins and tucking a loose stand of hair behind her ear. She is astonished to find herself flirting, just a little, with a man who plays Metallica songs with his fists. But then again she is tired and wired and sort of lonely. When she’s not at the catering hall, Lois works part time for a dry cleaner, trying not to inhale the fumes or get her arms tangled in those thin plastic bags. She misses music, but her work schedule doesn’t leave much time for jam sessions and practicing.

“You gotta be flexible in this business,” says Handini. “ You wouldn’t believe the requests I get. Hey, do you think I could get something to eat before the show?”

“I dunno,” says Lois. “The caterer is in the kitchen. You could go back there and see what’s up. From the look of this event, we’re talking chipped ham sandwiches and potato salad.”

“Wanna join me?” asks Handini. “A professional musician never turns down a free meal, especially if there’s a pretty girl attached to it.”

Lois hesitates.

“Dinner music! I think I still have some Black Sabbath tunes in my hands,” he says.

“You can teach me the bass line to ‘Electric Funeral.’ ”

“Never liked that one much,” says Lois. “How about ‘Wicked World?’ ”

“Sounds good to me. Oh shoot,” says Handini, pointing to the dead fish in the bowl next to him. “We got a floater here.”

Lois, upset, reaches for the fishbowl. Handini grabs her arm, then pulls back and puts his fists together.

“Don’t, says Lois. “Don’t you dare play anything.”

“Taps?” says Handini.

No.

“Something from Finding Nemo?” he says.

“Don’t.” Lois looks at the fish in the neighboring bowl. “Do fish cry?” she asks.
Handini pauses for a moment, puts his hands in his pockets, and says, “Maybe. But not this one. He's a goner.”

And with that, The Great Handini and Bad Butt Lois retreat to the Turtle Creek Moose Club kitchen, where they are served Isaly’s chipped ham on Wonder Bread. Handini protects his hands, Lois frets about the dead goldfish, and together, they sip diet colas through plastic straws that bend in the middle.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

Top
#1972246 - 10/12/12 09:50 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
You certainly know how to put a bend on an off-the-rack boy-meets-girl story. But wait--- there I am again, mixing my Irons up--- you've got me thinking back to Mancini and the Thousand-and-One Strings Plays In-a-Gada-da-Vida--- but I can see that I'm confusing Iron Butterfly with Iron Maiden. They're---duh--- not even from the same decade; not even adjacent decades. But events get compressed when one gets this elderly, and if I opened my old 'record' collection and saw Music for Easy Listening Drops White Owsley I would figure they were simply juxtaposed in Time's trash compactor. You not only get old, you turn into an archaeologist... and the only thing that really saves you is that most things are not worth remembering. That is why we become so forgetful. It is deliberate; a mercy of grace itself.

Then again, the quality of memories begins to seem more interesting than their actual content. The feel of the texture, and the smell, of a bolt of new fabric comes back; it was a time before the invention of polyester, and clothes were made of cotton or wool--- very occasionally, leather--- (or maybe, silk; we can leave fur out of our story though a great many ladies would have crawled through concertina wire for a mink stole), and these formed the boundary lines of whole wardrobes. Whole departments of department stores carried the smell of dye and sizing, but music stores smelled like brass band instruments and electronics stores--- always dark and fearsomely grimy--- smelled like solder.

The kids will never believe it, but there was a time before the invention of the plastic trash bag, the felt-tip pen, the video recorder, and the digital watch. Believe it or not, though, we did not feel all that deprived: we had time told by dial clocks, pens that wrote with ink, In-a-Gadda-da-Vida, and Tang was just around the corner--- though I believe that wherever it came from, it has gone back there. So have the fabrics of yore, once so malleable and fresh but, washed a thousand-and-one times in hard water and hung on the clothesline with clothespins, became completely stiff and harsh with minerals and ghostly as to color.

But the mud-colored lineoleum and magenta plastic plates will never fade--- how could they; they are the archetypes of a romance novel penned by H.P. Lovecraft--- and, most heartbreakingly of all (even more than the waitress and the hand music guy), the goldfish. After the reception, no doubt, to be flushed down the toilet, to become giant of size and albino of aspect, the Radioactive Sewer Carp of Hollywood nightmare, there to vie with the Albino Alligator for suzerainity of a dark and savage realm.

What could redeem such a vision. Thank goodness all its elements are fictional.

Thank goodness still further, that we did not meet the bride and groom, and the matron of honor, and the wedding planner. I'll leave it at that, with no mention of the vows they wrote, and recited, themselves.
_________________________
Clef


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#1973044 - 10/14/12 06:55 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
gdguarino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 317
Loc: New York City
My take? You have to work awfully hard to make a gig-based story sound like fiction. But for the "piccolo" bit I'd swear I had crossed paths with that guy somewhere.

Nice to hear you're doing well.
_________________________
Greg Guarino

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#1973047 - 10/14/12 07:16 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
I enjoyed your stories.. it' been a while since i visited this thread. Nice to see it up and running.

I am playing for two smaller churches on Saturday and Sundays.. and 'occasional funeral or wedding'.... they are small congregations.
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1973103 - 10/14/12 10:24 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
All my favorites are checking in--- this is wonderful. Robin, Tim, Greg, Apple. Suddenly, I feel a lot less old and wore out. If only I knew some wedding stories. Well... there was a double bride drag-down on the news last week, with actual video of the brides trying to strangle each other on the steps of a hotel reception hall--- carpeted, luckily, for down they went. Over what, I can only imagine: maybe one was serving better champagne than the other; maybe one poached the band the other was trying to book; maybe one poached the husband the other was trying to marry; maybe the brides were marrying twin brothers, who played an innocent wedding-night prank (on a dare) but whose switch-a-roo was given away by some detail.

Well, as I always say, "Those whom God has joined, let no man put asunder." And after all, I am only guessing. So I'm guessing... hmmm... it was the Caterer, with a Candelabra, in the Conservatory. Of course, the caterer--- how obvious. "Caterer" is practically an anagram for "crater," close enough to register subliminally if a person is the nervous type.

Actually, Robin is the one who knows the reason for the hard line rule that two brides must never be allowed to meet, unless they are lesbian brides who are marrying each other. An exception must be allowed in that case, or the wedding is in real trouble. In a world where a house burns down every forty seconds--- it's gotten to be such a big place--- we still like to cherish the fantasy that our wedding is unique; that Space and Time have granted an exception and have made a set-aside for the expensive ceremony and all its anniversaries. But I guess we don't really need to know the reason for the Bride Rule--- just look at what happens.

More news at eleven.
_________________________
Clef


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#1973104 - 10/14/12 10:29 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
BeccaBb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 905
Loc: Thunder Bay, On Canada
I love this thread. smile Your stories are very inspiring... someday I will join your ranks!
_________________________
Becca
Began: 01-12-11


Floundering and Lost
Roland RD300NX

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#1973189 - 10/14/12 01:42 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
Be careful what you wish for, Becca. Actually, I jest. I might complain a bit about some of these weddings, but, really, it is a great way to make a living. Aside from the clipboard ladies and the occasional screaming mother of the bride, being a wedding musician is a joy, a privilege, even. I remind myself of that every chance I get.

Hey, Apple! Nice to hear from you. Glad you're keeping busy. I still say someone should start a "Let's Talk Funerals" thread here. But maybe that would be too dark. Imagine me, saying that.

Greg, great to read your post, too. Thanks for the nice words. I am so grateful right now to be feeling good! And yes there are many "hand" players out there. So it's likely that you've met someone like Handini in your travels.

Jeff, there's some weird German belief that two brides can't see each other on their wedding days. At least I thought it was a German superstition, but maybe's it's an international thing. I shall think about this and respond. But right now I have to make dinner for two hungry teenagers.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1973264 - 10/14/12 06:23 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
Aside from the clipboard ladies and the occasional screaming mother of the bride, being a wedding musician is a joy, a privilege, even. I remind myself of that every chance I get.


Funny you would mention that just now. I've been playing in the same band for going on eighteen years. For a guy with a job, a family and a houseful of things that need fixing, this band has been an unheard-of stroke of luck. I've been a sideman, responsible only for my own parts, gear and transportation. Someone else booked the gigs, and for most of those years there were a bucketload of them. The busiest year tallied 124. I've gotten to be a musician, a busy one even, with very little effort outside of the gigs themselves.

We basically never rehearsed, although we did add new material from time to time. Age and experience have their benefits.

Things have very recently changed. The bandleader, one of our lead singers, has just retired. Even before that the gigs had become sparser for various reasons. We are currently regrouping, trying to keep the contacts we have with a revamped group and eventually add on new ones. But we really don't know how it will turn out.

We did our last gig with the old bandleader a couple of weeks ago. It was the classic Church Dinner Dance I described in a post a while back; the one they seem to pack up and move from place to place - the steam trays, the giant 45 rpm records, the fluorescent lights, the pastor's prayer, the 50-50 raffle and yes, the people.

The music our band plays has always been in less than perfect alignment with my own taste; all the more so at the Church Dinner Dance. And yet I was struck by the fact that I was thoroughly enjoying myself. "Privilege" is the right word. There are any number of people who play as well as I do (or better) that sat at home all those nights while I was gigging and gathering anecdotes for PW.

Originally Posted By: Piano Girl RMG
Greg, great to read your post, too. Thanks for the nice words. I am so grateful right now to be feeling good!

I had a long hiatus from PW (and most other things) back in 2010. I am grateful for many things about now, chief among them good health and a happy family. And I am thankful for the ability and the opportunity to enjoy music, to make music and to perform music in front of an audience.

And of course, to tell funny stories about it afterwards.
_________________________
Greg Guarino

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#1973422 - 10/15/12 02:31 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21285
Loc: Oakland
This is another side of the business, my experience as a sort of clipboard lady, part 1:

I am recovering from being the chairman of the dinner dance at my Italian club last Saturday night. Last year, there were about 130 people. This year, there were about 330, including an anniversary party of 80 in the back club room. In the dining room, there was a family reunion of about 40, and another anniversary of 17. Plus, it was the Halloween Dinner, with costume contests.

I do not chair dinners there very often. I am not experienced as a party planner. I did this dinner last year, the first in about 20 years for me, and a lot of things had changed in the intervening years. I had hoped to co-chair with a friend of mine who works the dinners more often before that one, but I got invited to a dinner for the College of Chemistry at Cal that night and felt I should go to that one instead. However, as I said, last year the dinner was small, so I thought this year would be easy, too. Hah!

So I planned a meal suitable for a lot of kids, and to have some special entertainment in the club room. I come down to the club about a month ago, and Michele, one of our member cooks, asks me what am I planning to have for the dinner. I said spaghetti and meatballs. He says I cannot have that, he has a party of 80 coming and that is for kids, and that furthermore, the 80 people will be in the club room. And I am beginning to think, "Who is in charge of this dinner, anyway?" I am getting pretty upset!

Anyway, I talk to the president, and he says we are having spaghetti and meatballs at another dinner this month, so I decide to change the menu. Salad, mostaccioli, chicken in pieces, not halves or quarters, mixed vegetables, and a Halloween cupcake.

Still no decision on the club room. When I talk to Michele (who is a really nice guy, by the way) he insists on the club room. I am trying to decide whether to put him in the club room, or the back of the dining room. I am almost ready to resign from the chairmanship, but I go back with the woman who decorates the building, we count tables and chairs, and figure maybe it will work if we put the special entertainment at the back of the dining room. Michele also figures maybe it will work if his group is at the back of the dining room, so we decide to see how the reservations go and make a decision at the last minute.

Friday comes. One of the active members of the club had died recently, and the family holds a memorial lunch after the service, so we cannot start until Friday evening. With an approximate count, we had decided to go with putting the anniversary party in the club room. We set the dining hall, with alternating orange and black napkins in the glasses, and decorated the dance hall. It was meeting night, so I had to attend the meeting, but that got finished. After the meeting, we had to set the club room for that party.

I had saved orange and black napkins from last year, but unbeknownst to me, my wife gave away the orange ones. I had to go out and search for them, but I could not find them in bulk, so I bought a bunch of packages of them, plus enough black ones to fill up the rooms, putting them in the water goblets like flowers or flames. After all that, the people in the back room did not like the orange napkins and replaced them with white.

I had planned to go down with a friend, who was a waiter. My friend is unreliable, with lots of problems, but he is good at waiting there, and waiting is good for him. Anyway, he was late, and I was even more nervous. We get to the club about a half-hour late, but there are good people there, so it is not a big deal.

Because we have so many kids at the Halloween dinner, we have a lot of leftovers, so another person I asked to wait was a friend of my wife's who runs an organization which provides services and finds housing for homeless women. Waiters take home the leftovers, so this way she could take home enough to feed everyone for several days, and less food goes to waste. She promised me four waitresses, but only she and another showed up. (I did not ask, but the others may have been daunted by the circumstances of their situations—When I originally talked to Diane about the club, it was in regard to some fundraisers that she and others were planning, and they had not previously considered our club because they were not sure whether black folks would be welcome there. Not that all of the women she works with are black, but they are in need of help, and that does not boost their self-esteem.)

Anyway, we dig up another couple of waiters. I am dressed in my green, white and red bow tie and my green, white and red apron, because for the night, I am the Big Wopper!

I make some decisions about how to handle the club room, where it is not a good idea to put out too much food too soon. The waiters who have arrived sit down and eat. The woman who has entertained the kids in the past meets with my old college friend who likes to work with kids, and they arrange the entertainment in the back of the dining room. My college friend, now one of the world's top mathematicians, is one of several people I am breaking in to be active in the club. They are all grateful for the opportunity.

We do the final preparation of the dining room. Mostly I stand around, making myself available if any crisis arises. When they do, I decide whether it is worth bothering about or not. Generally it is not. They are just things like how many platters of salad to put on each table, what to do when we run out of spoons, things like that. I also direct the little kids to the back of the dining hall. Gifts of raffle prizes miraculously begin to flow into the room. I am grateful, because that was something I barely worked on.

I have switched on the mirror ball previously. In the past couple of years, I have been adding new LED lighting, first for the mirror ball pinspots, then for the stage, but they are all on the same circuit as the mirror ball. I put in remote controls for the lights, but they can only turn on if the ball is rotating. I had the dongle and turned on the pinspots for the children's costume contest. I picked my wife and her friend to be judges, because both of them have been Mothers of the Year in Oakland, and the president of the ladies' club, because she has done it before, even though she wanted to avoid it. We play some music, kids parade in, and everybody is happy. Then we get people in to eat...

More later...
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#1973460 - 10/15/12 05:43 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
Greg, I remember that you were out of touch for awhile due to health issues. I suspect we're about the same age. Things happen. So happy you're back on the bench and feeling good. Loved hearing about your last gig with the bandleader (and the idea that these church dances are all the same party!). Honestly, I can't imagine ever retiring from the music business. My dad is almost 80 and he is still playing gigs and telling stories afterwards. But maybe your bandleader was tired of the administrative stuff—I can imagine that gets to be a drag after a while.

I am currently working with a dream team of wedding planners at the place where I play all the time. I call them The Bride Squad. I know how stressed out these women can get—it's just awful what they deal with on a regular basis. They finish with one bride and BAM!—here comes the next one. It's like a non-stop invasion of white lace and tulle.The thing I like about my personal Bride Squad is they always manage to treat everyone (and this includes musicians) with tremendous respect. I will do backflips and jump through flaming hoops for any manager who treats the dishwasher, the guitar player, the valet parking guy, and the juggler with due respect. The clipboard ladies—the ones I can't stand— are the arrogant ones who snarl and gnash their teeth while they're reminding you that you should have used the service entrance. Boff!

BDB, sounds like you had quite a time of it on "the other side." Probably made you wish you had decided to play the gig rather than organize it. But here's my main question: did you hire a band? Never too soon to get kids appreciating live music!

So, quite a few of my colleagues (in the hotel business) are getting married this month. They waited until the season was over and they could take a break and plan their own weddings. My very best friend, A, was married on Saturday and, as a gift to her, I arranged all of the music. I played for the ceremony—I started with a short 15 minute set as guests were arriving. Then, about three minutes before the bride's entrance, I stopped so that everyone could get settled. FYI: I have found this to be a good technique—stop a few minutes before the big moment, then when you start playing agin, for the march down the aisle, everyone pays attention.

I played, at the bride's request, a piece of mine called "Twilight," then, when they reached the front of the room and sat down, I played "Hallelujah," which has become a very popular wedding song here, in spite of the verse lyrics, which if you ask me, are a little suspect for a wedding. But I don't sing, so it didn't matter. There was a lot of blah-blah-blah from the judge, then, when it came time for the vows, I played very quietly underneath the words. This works really well. It's like having a score to the ceremony. I just improvise and make sure the music swells just in time for the kiss. Highly recommended to those you playing for ceremonies.

Right after the kiss, my 16 year old daughter, Julia, took over at the piano and played and sang a lovely Fleetwood Mac song called "Songbird." Her dad (my husband) accompanied her on the bass. It was beyond lovely—the kid has nerves of steel and she nailed the piece. Not a dry eye in the house, including mine.

Having been completely (and gladly) upstaged by my teenage daughter, I took over again to play the recessional (Magic in the Night).

The guests exited the salon and went directly to another area in the hotel for a champagne reception, where a jazz duo (my husband and a great guitarist from this area) did a fine job of keeping things lively and swinging. From the balcony of the castle (this place was built by one of the Medici daughters) we looked down on a group of children who released 150 balloons (bio-degradable) into the sky while a brass quintet played.

Then about 25 of us went to lunch and a couple of Mexican guys named Gonzales-Gonzales strolled from table to table playing their guitars and singing. They were fabulous.

Live music makes a big difference. But I'm preaching to the orchestra, here!
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1973931 - 10/16/12 04:21 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21285
Loc: Oakland
Continuing:

People file in, find their tables, and dig into the salad, one of our specialties. In the back room, the cold cuts, already on the plates in the dining room, come out on platters with the salad. I try to keep an eye on things, but everything is going well.

Some announcements are made, and someone comes from the club room asking if the PA can be turned down. We had come up with some rules for parties in the back room, which say that at our regular dinners, if you use the back room, you have to participate in the other activities, particularly mentioning that the PA will not be turned off. After all, if you want to have complete control, you can always rent the hall for a private party, at a steeper price. So I glanced around, and saw that we did not have a separate volume control, and said I was sorry, but that is not possible.

The music for evening arrives, a "singing DJ." I have not met him before, but he was very pleasant. I turn on the stage lights, which were installed since the last time he was here, and he liked them. He and his wife are dressed as Fred and Wilma Flintstone. We usually have live bands, and next month it will be an 18 piece big band, but we were not expecting so many people when we booked this date. I did manage to book a new band this year in May, when we had to switch dates with another event and the band who had originally been booked for June could not switch. At the time, one of the bartenders told me that he liked the band that I brought in better than this DJ, even noting one of them spoke better Italian. But like I said, this DJ sings himself, and seemed nice.

Salad plates are removed and pasta comes. My cousin cannot eat gluten, but then, neither can one of the cooks, so we have gluten-free pasta for them. A number of people want pasta without sauce, which we can do, too. Since we are an Italian club, we can handle pasta for 325 people better than many restaurants can handle it for fewer people.

In the bathroom, I overhear someone from the reunion party talking about our last regular head waiter, who died suddenly, far too young, a couple of years ago. He also mentions another relative who played bocce and pidro there, who lived into his 90s. I mention that I knew both of them, and that the older one was one of the members who had told me that if it had not been for the club, he would have died when his wife died, and that is why I was active in the club.

Raffle tickets are sold, front and back. Everything is going well. I go into the kitchen, where platters are being loaded with potatoes and chicken. One is slung onto a cart a little too quickly and some of it falls on the floor. I help clean it up and leave things to more capable hands.

I get a couple of comments from the waiters about people who might have had a bit too much wine. We keep an eye on them, but nothing bad breaks out.

The raffle has started. I look in case someone in the club room has a winning ticket, but few people there seem to have participated. Dessert comes out. The cupcakes look beautiful, but I had forgotten that cupcakes these days come with this vile icing heaped on them. Pulling them out of the containers is difficult. If you grab onto the top of them, the top comes off. Nevertheless, there did not seem to be a lot of them left on the tables, so I guess it was okay.

Finally, the last raffle prize, the big salami! It is the biggest salami I have seen in a long time there, about 4 inches around and 4 feet long! I did not know they still made them that big, even at the delicatessen of the company that makes them.
People file out for the costume contest. We were going to do the men, then the women, and then families, although looking back, the opposite would have been better. Everyone, men, women and families, starts milling around on the tape lines we have set up, following the confetti of light from the mirror ball. The DJ plays appropriate music. We choose our winners, except the best family costumes are my wife and my sister, who just happened to wear costumes that went together perfectly: My sister as a fortune teller, and my wife in her Middle-Eastern dancing outfit. They are the identical twin sisters-in-law! We acknowledge them as the winners, but give the prize to someone else.

The DJ seems to have a good feel for the vibe for the dance. As everyone starts dancing, in a wonderful mood, we waiters go back and clear the tables. The club room is not quite clear, but once we start working, they get the idea. We finish, and there are still lots of people dancing as my wife and I head for home.

IN CONCLUSION: I would like to say that I would not like to be a professional party planner. If I had to take responsibility not just for the decisions I had to make, but the decisions I decided not to make. If my employment relied on it, it would have driven me crazy! I am thankful for all the help I got from so many people who all wanted it to be a success, even if they sometimes might have been stepping on my authority, and even more thankful that I could almost always rely on their judgement. If I were a professional, I might not have the strength of trust to do that, particularly if it is people I have had no experience with before. So be kind to the ladies with the clipboards. Learn to trust them. They have a tough job, too.
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#1974071 - 10/16/12 12:37 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
Yes, BDB, the clipboard ladies have a rough job. And I am nice to them, as long as they're nice to me. It sounds as if you were very pleasant to everyone you worked with. Good for you. Some of the CB Ladies could learn from you.

I think you should have won the four-foot salami, just for your efforts. At least they should have given you the leftover cupcakes.

For obvious reasons I'm not a big fan of DJs, but your guy scores points for showing up in a Fred Flintstone costume. And hooray for next month's 18 piece big band. Too bad they won't be in costumes, too. I'm assuming next month is the Thanksgiving shindig. Maybe you could get them to wear pilgrim suits. Now there's a gimmick—an all pilgrim big band.

Anyway, BDB, congrats on a job well done. Get some rest!
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1974098 - 10/16/12 02:03 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
"...And I am nice to [the clipboard ladies], as long as they're nice to me..."

You are all ganging up on me. It's so hard to be nice--- when you're not. I have explained this many times.

I'm willing to give it a try, since everyone's so set on it, but I warn you not to expect more than I can deliver here. It may be nice to be nice, but it's also nice to be realistic... and I make no guarantees regarding Ginger and her ilk.

In view of which, we'll pass over the four-foot salami.

I did enjoy your stories, BDB--- a window into your world, so different from my own, yet I felt at home and comfortable, and it was interesting to see all the root-tendrils of your life taking support and nourishment from this way and that. The great trees of the world shelter and nourish many other species; some are veritable ecosystems all on their own. Maybe that is one of your special gifts... though you seem to have quite a few, dividing your genius between music, mathematics, hospitality. I don't know why, but I'm reminded of those famous poker parties at Rachmaninoff's summer house. You even got Robin to smile upon an DJ, and no one--- no one--- has ever been able to do that.

No doubt, their dressing up as Fred and Wilma went a long way. Now, as for dressing the band as turkeys, I'm not so sure; that may be pushing your luck too hard. Irving Berlin's song does say, "Even in a turkey that you know will fold/ You may be stranded out in the cold/ Still, you wouldn't trade it for a pot of gold..." but it's worth remembering that the name of the show was, "Annie Get Your Gun."

If you have to dress them up, how about as Big Bird? That's festive and topical. But, there's the ceiling height to worry about: Big Bird is eight feet tall if he's an inch.
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#1974509 - 10/17/12 11:46 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3158
Loc: Virginia, USA
You are making me rather jealous. For a number of years I had a regular gig with a local German style big band. Kind of a weird instrumentation - trombone (me), drum, tuba, tenor horn, couple of trumpets, couple of fluegelhorns, must have been a couple of clarinets and a flute because it added up to 12. We were generally paid AND fed, usually some decent food, and often free beer (though I abstained due to the drive). Alas, the leader left while I was overseas and the group dissolved. I haven't found anything regular lately and I miss it greatly.
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gotta go practice

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#1974612 - 10/17/12 02:52 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
CLEF: I've gotten nicer in the last year. I may revert to my old ways at some point, though. I'm already feeling that DJ smile fading.

Tim, maybe you should start your own band! Not an easy thing to do, I realize. It's a little easier when you play the piano or guitar or keyboard and you're self-contained. I imagine there aren't many cocktail trombone gigs out there.

Oh, here is a link to one of the smaller weddings I played this summer—it was relatively low budget in some ways, but they did spend money on live music. There was no clipboard lady, the bride and groom were really gracious, and the photographer (with my permission) put his slide show together with music from one of my recordings. TIP: It's not a bad idea to do this, because the photographer then shows that slide show to future brides and before you know it, other gigs come your way. The photos are excellent, by the way—I love how he captures the absolute delight on the faces of some of the more senior guests. The church is a 13th century. Check out the painted ceiling.

http://www.pure-wedding.de/Kunden/lindaclaus/
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1974623 - 10/17/12 03:20 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
BeccaBb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 905
Loc: Thunder Bay, On Canada
That was fabulous! I really like the idea of a slide show with your music as background. A very lovely wedding. smile Even some nice piano shots of you playing.

Thanks for sharing that!
_________________________
Becca
Began: 01-12-11


Floundering and Lost
Roland RD300NX

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#1974775 - 10/17/12 06:19 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21285
Loc: Oakland
Well, after my rest, I went up to Davis for a couple of tunings (one of them a non-musical MacArthur Fellow's), saw my brother there, toured the campus, stayed with him overnight, and then came back to tune another piano in my neighborhood.

I will be going to the dinner dance next month, giving up a date with Lavay Smith and her Red Hot Skillet Lickers, which is a similar group. Connie Champagne sang with the big band last year, the first time I had heard her, although she has often performed at a night club where I tune. But I will be going because of a special event, as well as because I like the event.

A couple of years ago, one of our long-time members died at the ripe old age of 102. He grew up in a section of Richmond called Winehaven, which before Prohibition, was the site of the largest winery in the world. So although he went into banking (he was the last surviving employee of the Bank of Italy before it became the Bank of America), he made wine all of his life. His nephew is clearing his house to prepare it for sale, and so he has donated a couple of dozen cases of his wine to the club, some of which is at least 70 years old. We are afraid to serve it, since it is impossible to know which bottles are good beforehand, so we are having a wine tasting before the dinner, featuring wines with a relationship to the club. Some of it will be homemade wine, and some of it will be commercial.

One of my friends in the club comes from a wine-making family. Their winery is the oldest family-owned winery in the Napa valley. My friend owns a share of it, but he is sort of the black sheep of the family: he went into the military, and then police work, rather than the family business, and as black sheep of that sort go, he is probably the most famous of the family. Anyway, I am hoping we get some of their wine for the tasting. He does not drink wine, so he may not be there to pour, so I will step in, although I do not drink wine, either.

Incidentally, before last Saturday's dinner, one of my friends, the one having the smaller anniversary party, asked me if he could bring some of his home-made wine to the dinner. It took a while to sort through my memory to recall the policy, but when it came up, I told him he could. (Since we provide wine with the meals, any extra wine is wine we do not have to pay for, so it is all the more profit for us. That is part of the idea behind the wine tasting. Some people have been concerned about whether the tasting will take away from the bar profits, but since we are charging for the tasting, we get the profit without expense.) Anyway, that may be one more winemaker for the tasting.
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#1975533 - 10/19/12 06:48 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
No weddings this weekend, but I do have a concert to play tonight for Polish and French dignitaries who are finance ministers or some such thing (I hope this means I'll get paid). At first I was supposed to play the German, French, and Polish national anthems, but the event planners scrapped that plan, thank goodness. Instead I will be playing Comptine (from the French Amelie movie), the Bach Air, and then for Poland, an absolutely beautiful piece called Polskie Drogi. I asked a Polish friend of mine for suggestions and she said all Polish people recognize this melody, so I'm good to go. I think I will record it on my next album—it's sooooo pretty! And I suspect it will become a staple in my wedding repertoire. You can hear the piece here—it has some unexpected harmonies in it, which makes it fun to play:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNmB5eHdt30

I'm wondering if I can get that string section to follow me around.

Tonight's shindig is in the Leverkusen Rathaus (town hall—I know, that Rathaus thing is very funny). Wish me luck.

Tomorrow night I am playing dinner background music for a jewellery company at my regular castle place. That should be easy and fun. And at last I can wear one of my white dresses without insulting a bride.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1975559 - 10/19/12 08:01 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3158
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Piano Girl RMG
No weddings this weekend, but I do have a concert to play tonight for Polish and French dignitaries who are finance ministers or some such thing (I hope this means I'll get paid).


Some years ago I got a call to sub with a local symphony for a visit by the French ambassador.

We did not get paid, but we were fed, and it remains one of the more memorable meals I've had. That food was GOOD! It was the same the chef served in the fancy restaurant at the resort, just stacked on trays for us in the warmup room.

We played Carmen of course. The guy playing trombone next to me, borrowed from the local military band and a VERY alert musician, had a short solo during one of the French horn rests, and we were in very tight quarters. Pretty much any brass player knows what happened before I describe it. French horns have rather tightly wrapped curves. Er, I mean the horn, not the hornist. Although......but I digress. The curves collect moisture, and with the narrow bore they gurgle if not emptied often, which they do by pulling a crook and shaking. So she shook her crook in the same space his slide occupied, and he dodged every shake without missing a note.

Okay, boring to anybody else, but I was in awe.

Still remember that meal. Chicken breasts in an exquisite wine sauce. Mixed vegetables cooked to a perfection I hadn't imagined. Pork tenderloins so tender and tasty. Roasted potatoes done just right. I think the guests drank all the wine though, but it had to be good quality.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1978368 - 10/25/12 06:16 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
European hosts tend to feed their musicians better than their American counterparts, that's for sure. Although I have to say, as a female solo pianist I've never had much trouble getting someone to throw me a tidbit or two, even when I was performing in the likes of the Redwood Motor Inn in Pittsburgh (not necessarily known for its fine cuisine).

I suspect it's different when a party host or F&B guy sees an entire big band settling in for a home cooked meal. It's almost like hosting another party, just for the band. My husband has a million stories about this—every time he's out on a gig he calls with a catering report. There's a lot of goulash served to bands in this part of the world.

I've spent most of my career trying to get the food/drink balance exactly right. Too much to eat, you fall asleep at the keyboard. Too little, you faint. Neither option is particularly attractive.

Oh, so the Rathaus gig was fun. The Polish dignitaries were very impressed by the Polskie Drogi. You have to hand it to the Europeans—they're quite competent when it comes to ceremonies and speeches. I played three concert pieces at this huladula. In between the pieces were LOTS of speeches, and then everything had to be translated from German to Polish to French, so it took forever. I speak enough French to be completely confused and my German is good enough, but I have no Polish skills at all. What a language.

You'll like this, Clef. I had not one, but four assistants for the big evening. When I arrived all I wanted to do was use the ladies' room, hang up my coat, and then go check out the piano and play Polskie Drogi 10,000 times before the ceremony (this was my first time playing that piece anywhere, so I was a little, uh excited), but these ladies were following me around everywhere. They were really really nice, but I couldn't shake them. I sat down to warm up and they all sat right next to the piano. They kept fetching water for me. All I can say is that I never ever have an assistant when I actually need one. Such is life.

The Saturday gig for the jewellery company was easy and fun, although no one attempted to give me any jewellery—I had a fantasy that a tipsy gentleman might love my interpretation of Moon River and fork over a 60,000 € bracelet, but no such luck. I had no assistant except for my dear Ravi, the castle porter who decorated my piano with autumn leaves and candles. The people attending the party were all over 70 and had just gotten off a cruise ship. There were eighty of them and they were packed pretty tightly at tables right next to the grand. This always makes me nervous with elderly folks because so many of them are sensitive to sound—seems like it's either too loud or they can't hear at all. But no one complained—I'm guessing after three weeks of cruise ship musicians they were immune.

Sunday I played a nice little champagne lunch. Easy-breezy. It was a good weekend.

I just received photos from one of my brides. It's funny, I spend such an intense few hours with these brides, but afterwards I can't remember what any of them look like. I am always grateful to get photos. I remembered this bride the second I opened the envelope—she scored the best day of the year and had her entire ceremony, reception, and dinner outside. String quartet for the ceremony, jazz trio for the reception, me for the dinner, a dance band for dancing under the stars. It was black tie and all the flowers and table linens were white. She rented a white grand. The rose garden was lit by torches, plus they had spotlights on the piano. It wasn't too cold or too hot. No wasps. Somehow everything was perfect. I felt like I was on a film set. It wasn't my favorite wedding of the year, but it was certainly the prettiest.

Nothing special happening this weekend—just my steady gig at the castle. Wishing you all a splendid Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Remember to eat if anyone offers you free food, and stay away from the horn players.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1979447 - 10/27/12 08:42 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
And Today in Wedding History:

1936 – Mrs Wallis Simpson files for divorce which would eventually allow her to marry King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, thus forcing his abdication from the throne.

From
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallis,_The_Duchess_of_Windsor

"...The Duchess published her ghost-written memoirs, The Heart Has Its Reasons, in 1956. Author Charles Higham says of the book, "Facts were remorselessly rearranged in what amounted to a self-performed face-lift"... Hearsay and conjecture have clouded assessment of the Duchess of Windsor's life, not helped by her own manipulation of the truth...

"Academics agree that she ascended a precipice that "left her with fewer alternatives than she had anticipated. Somehow she thought that the Establishment could be overcome once [Edward] was king... Trapped by his flight from responsibility into exactly the role she had sought, suddenly she warned him, in a letter, 'You and I can only create disaster together'... Denied dignity, and without anything useful to do, the new Duke of Windsor and his Duchess would be international society's most notorious parasites for a generation, while they thoroughly bored each other ..."


Juicier--- though well-known--- details have been redacted by the PianoWorld censor.
_________________________
Clef


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#1981310 - 11/01/12 11:16 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
I played several times on a private island in the Bahamas called Cat Cay (the story—called Purple Hibiscus— is in my book Piano Girl) and one "club" we played in, at a posh party hosted by the Rockwell family, had a piano sitting in front of a wall that had been autographed by the rich and famous. Wouldn't you know, Wallis Simpson's signature was right there front and centre. I repositioned the piano so I could sit right underneath her autograph, hoping that some of her mystique might rub off on me. It didn't. I did learn how to drink a martini on that island, though. And I got to hang out with a band called Dr. Love and the Bahama Cats when I wasn't playing the piano for the Republican Titans of Industry (this sounds like the name of a band, but they were actually the members of the club).

http://www.catcayyachtclub.com/Club/Scripts/Home/home.asp

What a place.

My kids went to Tel Aviv last March as part of a music exchange program and this week the Israelis are here! What a joy it has been to have so many talented kids in the house—my piano is getting quite the work out.

No weddings this weekend. We're in the autumn lull—then there will be a few holiday weddings. We do have a lot of future brides stomping through the castle to look things over for next year. 2013 is shaping up to be a good season.

There's another discussion going on on this forum about renting space at one of those bridal show things (to sell your music services). Anyone here have experience with that? It costs a lot of money—doesn't seem like a good idea to me. Seems to me that the client needs to "hear" your music, and would she do that on a crowded showroom floor? But maybe this works for some people.

I'm only sorry I never got to play for Wallis. Now that would have been feather in my bridal cap.

Oh boy, this post is all over the place. I'll quit while I'm ahead.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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