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#1348191 - 01/12/10 11:41 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
Well, I think that sounds very refined, for strippers. "Silver Bells," another song I'll never be able to listen to again without laughing out loud. Not for the first time; no. We used to perform a song that I never liked much anyway, but I went along... until the day, instead of "touch me, assuage me," I fumbled the words and it came out "touch me, oh spray me." Well, it was all over; we could never get through it with a straight face again, and it was, you know, a "serious" song. Too serious.

I suppose it happens at weddings. There was that episode of "Mama's Family," when Ken Berry married Dorothy Lyman, a trying enough experience for Vicki Lawrence as it was; she thought the bride was entirely too much of a tart, even for her son. But when Carol Burnett (as Eunice) pitched a screaming snit during her performance of "Oh Promise Me," well, her husband had to pick her up and carry her out draped over his shoulder. Still screaming and making a fuss. A memorable shambles, yet I wonder if life does imitate art after all.

And there goes "Oh Promise Me" from the wedding repertory. Luckily one doesn't hear it too much anyway, but it would be a VERY poor time to break into peals of laughter. As Betty White remarked at the bachelorette party, "There's nothing like good wine and friends... or cheap wine and relatives."

I don't mean yours, of course. For them, go ahead and bring out the good stuff.

Yes, "Let It Snow." A charming song, but not much good at a wedding unless there's plenty of confetti. I have heard that rice makes the pigeons explode, but that can happen to anyone who eats too much rice. A swamp plant--- for weddings? For fertility, I've heard, but when I think of the amount of money people spend to avoid that very thing...

But the holidays are over now, and it hardly seems possible that Valentine's Day is right around the corner. That happens to be the day of the year when canary breeders place the cock with the hen; they are housed separately at other seasons to avoid too much of a good thing. But of course, right about now all the cocks are singing like a lunch whistle. Other species say it with roses, precious stones, and expensive evenings out, but cock canaries say it with song. I used to have over twenty (not counting the chicks)--- a lot of work, but I never got tired of hearing them.


Edited by Jeff Clef (01/12/10 11:54 PM)
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Clef


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#1348347 - 01/13/10 05:37 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
I am up with the chickens. Not a rooster in sight. Guess I'll have to wait until Valentine's Day. We do have some ducks here by the lake. But the snow is so so deep, when they walk through my parents' yard to get their daily feed, we can only see their little duck heads sticking out of the snow. I don't know why they don't fly, they are, after all, BIRDS, but maybe it's fun for a duck to waddle through beak-high snow. Anyway, it's funny.

Clef, you reminded me—Valentine's Day is right around the corner. It['s a busy day at ye olde castle. I'll drag out the red ball gown and play for a couples only dinner. It's kind of a nice thing because they put the grand in the middle of one of the private salons, cover it with rose petals, and surround the piano with candlelit tables for two. And guess what? Lots of marriage proposals going on! Seems like every year I end up with a wedding gig or two as a result of playing for the VD dinner.

Greg, forget those agent showcases, you should bring your band to Germany, crash the castle VD dinner, and do a few rounds of the International Medley.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1348478 - 01/13/10 10:50 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Monica K. Online   blank

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17747
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
That Valentine's Day dinner at the castle sounds heavenly, Robin. Wish I were close enough to go. *sigh* My hubby, whom I love more than life itself, is the practical type who calls Valentine's Day "amateur's night out." He argues that restaurants will be overcrowded with sub-par food preparation and price-gouging going on, and then he suggests we celebrate Valentine's Day on another night instead.

He's right, I know, but somehow there's something inside me that feels like It Just Isn't The Same. Rather like celebrating Christmas on the 26th to take advantage of the "75% off" sales at the Christmas tree lot...

p.s. Jeff, your "touch me, oh spray me" story had me spraying the computer keyboard with coffee. Hilarious! laugh
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1350525 - 01/15/10 02:36 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Monica K.]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
Shucks, Monica--- thanks. Yes, I like that story. Now we know why choral directors are such nags about enunciation--- look at what can go wrong. On the other hand, too much of that kind of vocal training can ruin your microphone technique.

You know, Valentine's Day falls on a Sunday this year. You probably have to work, but what a nice surprise for your husband... and surely the university would overlook your absence on a Friday and a Monday in such a good cause, even though it's not Sadie Hawkins Day. You saw, a few posts back (on the ABF/Chopin thread), how the lady surprised her husband with a trip to Venice and a Barenboim concert. Ok, they lived in Italy to begin with, but I’ve heard few stories on PW that were as just plain delightful… and it seemed he felt that way.

Now as for hubby. The Church does allow the observance of Saint's Days on the evening prior, perhaps on the same theory as Christmas Eve. He may have a leg to stand on regarding dinners and flowers, but the Proper does not excuse the absence of precious stones--- not the way I read it. From your video with your new Zoom recorder, I would say that you would look nice in pearls (or diamonds); and they look very fine by candlelight, too. “Will Madame have the gold, or the platinum?” We should hear this from more waiters.

You know, Robin, I'd love to see some nice photos of you performing at this castle. It is true that private salons lit by candlelight are not the easiest to photograph, but I'll bet you I could get the shot (the color rendering is the problem, but good photographers love these challenging lighting situations). And the fineness of German cameras and lenses (and photographers), well, everyone knows it. Besides, they went to the trouble to get rose petals in Cologne in February.

Did you tell us what color...?

Yes, I can kind of see it: a long shot, from across the room. The cozy dimness enframing the floating, candlelighted linen ovals of the tabletops; their occupants’ upturned faces pale but also warm; they are applauding the performance. The elegant Euro dress; the slight glint of polished parquet floors; the gleam of champagne floor stands (and don’t tell me they’re drinking beer, I don’t want to hear it); and perhaps, here and there the curling blue flames under the wide copper Suzette pans as a special dessert is served up--- damn the calories to hell. And across the room, the big piano, lighted subtly, yet even so, the red ballroom dress lights a little fire of color. Perhaps the drapes are parted somewhat, and through the French doors a faint, deep blue light glows on the snow-covered grounds past the terrace.

Let's see, the Thursday night red-eye overnight to Amsterdam, connecting hop to Cologne... oh well, maybe I wouldn't do it either. The jet-set life is better suited to persons younger than I, and who wants to strip butt-naked in an airport lobby so these TSA people can have a job. Why do I have an image in my mind of couples at candlelit tables jumping up every so often and yelling out, "Bingo!"--- I'm sure it's nothing like that.

But I've given up the canaries as well. These days, I fill up the hummingbird feeders and call it good. Fringillidae, Trochilladae; well, they both sing. The hummingbirds’ little voices sound like a rusty gate, but they never give it up, and they do special aerial dances when they’re vying for the claw of their intended, like high-speed dive-bombing runs. It is impressive, and in fact, a little scary, but apparently the mademoiselles find it convincing.

They may not fly to Europe for Valentine’s Day, but they do fly across the Gulf in order to overwinter in Mexico--- if you could believe that of a creature that doesn’t even weigh a whole ounce.
_________________________
Clef


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#1351302 - 01/16/10 06:17 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
P.S.

It's too late to edit or recall my previous lighthearted post, though maybe we need something else to think of just now other than the appalling coverage of the disaster in Haiti. I remember your chapter in Piano Girl, Robin, concerning your time as a musician there and I know that thinking of the people you knew there must be very affecting.

It's especially frustrating to know that the aid is right there on the ground, almost within reach, yet cannot reach the people who need it so badly, partly because of the civil disorder and corruption--- hardly a news flash in Haiti, yet it's costing so much in lives and suffering this time. I don't like to say too much about these scenes and stories, but the problem can't be wished away.

Even in the best of circumstances, aid and rescue takes time. The magnitude of total disaster from our last big earthquake here in California was nothing like what I'm seeing on TV, though we had scenes of rescue that were in many ways similar, and it's well-known that the cameras always look for the worst, since it makes the best story. No need to exaggerate, in this case.

What can I say--- I'm so sorry, and I'm hoping for the best, as good as it can possibly be.
_________________________
Clef


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#1351443 - 01/16/10 10:29 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
Thank you, Clef.

My last gig in Haiti was in 1990—a long time ago, but those beautiful people changed my life in a profound way. The country is very much on my mind this week. Everything those people have endured, and now this.

Doctors Without Borders (Medicins Sans Frontieres) is on the ground in Haiti, where they have been working for over 19 years. New teams of are arriving every day. If anyone reading this post is searching for a suitable charity, I recommend them.

Doctors Without Borders (medicins sans frontieres)
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1353207 - 01/19/10 06:58 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'm headed back to Europe today. I've been here in Pennsylvania for two weeks.

Haiti is on my mind and I'm finding it difficult to write about anything as frivolous as a big fancy wedding. I saw video yesterday of a man digging his wife out from under the rubble, where she had been trapped for six days. She survived. How's that for a renewal of vows?

More later from the other side.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1354829 - 01/21/10 01:44 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
Hello my friends,

Here is the Piano Girl chapter from Haiti. Some of you know I spent a lot of time there in the eighties. This post is my little shrine to the spirit of the Haitian people. Thanks to my publisher, Backbeat Books, for permitting me to post this. I know we need to move on to the next wedding topic, but given the circumstances of the past week, this post seems appropriate.

Best,
Robin

Piano Girl: A Memoir
Reprinted with the permission of Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard
©2005 Robin Meloy Goldsby



The Almond Tree

L’essential est invisible pour les yeux.
(The essential is invisible to the eyes.)
—Saint Exupery, The Little Prince

Never ever, never ever, never ever kiss the boss, says Voice of Reason. But I don’t listen.

I’ve been going to Haiti for many years. I play the piano and lull away the time eating fresh mango and roast poulet and lying in the sunshine. Yes, I kiss the boss, but not as much as I’d like. The man I love is a busy guy. In addition to running a large casino, hotel, restaurant, and nightclub in Haiti, he has a wife and grown children in the States. For six years, Owner-man has been telling me that he’ll be leaving his wife any day now. His beautiful baritone voice resonates with promises he thinks he can keep, but I don’t believe him any longer. He’ll never leave his wife. Maybe for his next girlfriend, but not for me. I sit in the shade of a poolside umbrella and listen as the Yellow Bird trio sings.

Wish dat I were a yellow bird,
I fly away wid you,
But I am not a yellow bird,
So here I sit,
Nothin' else to do.

These days when I’m not playing I whittle away the time in Haiti under a big almond tree with my friend Mona, a stunning Haitian woman who runs the restaurant and supervises the interior decorating of the hotel’s rooms. We feed scrambled eggs to a three-legged iguana named Lefty who visits us every morning as we sit under our tree, and we plot the details of the trip we’ll take someday to Provence.

Another friend, a red-haired Lebanese woman named Gladys, owns the island’s Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise. Gladys is famous. When the Pope visited Haiti, she fried 3,000 buckets of chicken to feed him and his entourage. I’m sorry I missed that spectacle. I love the idea of the Pope eating a large bucket with all the fixins. Gladys teaches me to play golf and how to tee off from the first hole of the Petionville Country Club without injuring the goats grazing on the fairway. Mona teaches me how to crochet a bedspread. We are an unlikely trio—a Haitian, an Arab, and a WASP—and we think have answers for everything. We talk politics and tell jokes and solve the world’s problems. Easy to do, when you’re sitting poolside in the shade of an ancient almond tree being served champagne by smiling waiters with ebony faces. You can forget who you are.

Inside the hotel I lose track of the poverty on the other side of the wall. I play the piano for the rich and educated elite, government dignitaries, and the Seventh Avenue garmentos who run factories and sweatshops in neighboring Port-au-Prince. But that gets boring, and before I know it, I break out of my golden cage and begin exploring the neighborhood around me.

The streets are full of life—music and art and optimism beyond belief. I can’t understand all the cheerfulness in the face of so much destitution. Owner-man talks about the “privilege of poverty,” like there is some kind of honor in growing up poor. He speaks with pride about his own childhood in a New York City slum—walking to school with playing cards under his socks to prevent the wet and cold from seeping through the tears in his shoes, taking manual-labor jobs as child to help his mother pay for groceries, playing soccer with a rolled-up newspaper in the streets of Brooklyn. “That’s the kind of thing that gives a kid ambition,” he says.

I don’t think so, not at all.

I meet a teenaged boy named Rodley who has been left an orphan by the AIDS epidemic. He dusts my piano, serves drinks, and chatters about getting away from Haiti someday and going to college in America. Owner-man has given Rodley a job and paid for his schooling. For my birthday, Rodley gives me a flower pot that he has painted himself.

My favorite casino waiter is a middle-aged man named Pressoir. He’s shy, wears big thick glasses, and is suffering from localized alopecia, a stress-related-disorder that has left one side of his head bald. Pressoir supports a family of eight on his waiter’s salary, about a $100 a month. He carries pictures of his children and his brother’s children in his wallet. “Les gosses sont ce qu'il y a de plus cher dans ma vie,” he says. They are everything to me.

Let her fly away,
On de sky away,
Picker coming soon,
Pick from night to noon,
Black and yellow you,
Like banana too,
He might pick you someday.

Mona introduces me to local craftspeople who sell their brightly colored paintings and bed covers on the street outside the hotel grounds. Marie-Claude, a woman I’ve commissioned to make dresses for me, invites me for tea. Her home is a thatched-roof hut with no walls and a mud floor. Red and yellow fabric hangs from the roof and creates privacy for the family. The table is covered with red oilcloth. Her six children all sleep on one large straw mat on the floor. There is no electricity or running water. The hut is cheerful and colorful and full of art. No walls, but the paintings are everywhere, suspended from the ceiling and propped against the old wooden cupboard.

“My children paint,” says Marie-Claude. She speaks slowly, in French, aware that I don’t understand Creole.

“Where are the children now?” I ask. “Are they at school?”

“Non. Les gosses ne vont pas à l'école.Ils y iront peut-être l'année prochaine, quand j'aurai du fric.” The children don’t go to school. Maybe next year, if there is money.

“The little ones are playing football and the others are in the mountains collecting wood for charcoal. My daughter has gone to the market with her father to help him sell the paintings. But these paintings here, I will never sell them. They are my favorites,” she says. “Regardez, ce tableau pourrait s'intituler l'espoir.” This one is about hope.

Every single painting I’ve seen in Haiti is about hope.

On top of the cabinet I notice a small drum and a guitar.

“You see, we make music, too. Just like you. Every night, when the sun goes to sleep, we pray and give thanks for the good things. Like music. And the colors of the dawn. Some people aren’t so lucky—they can’t hear or see what is there for the taking. You know, I listen to your music over the wall of the hotel in the evening. I always try to get closer so I can swim in the sound of the piano.”

“You should come in,” I say.

“It is not my place to do that,” she says with a little laugh. “Je resterai dans mon petit coin et j'y serai très heureuse de vous écouter.” I’ll stay on my side of the wall and be happy to hear what I can. “My cousin is a waiter at the hotel. He tells me it’s a dream come true to have such a job.”

She pours the tea into spotless china cups that are chipped around the edges. With her graceful index finger she points to the faded floral design on the edge of the delicate saucer. “Aren’t these flowers the most beautiful color?” she asks.

“Yes, they’re beautiful. Your home is beautiful,” I say. And I mean it.

“My life is beautiful,” Marie-Claude says. “Where there is life, there is beauty. Where there is beauty, there is life.”

Did your lady frien',
Leave de nest again?
Dat is very sad,
Make me feel so bad,
You can fly away,
In the sky away,
You're more lucky dan me.

This will be my last trip to Haiti. Owner-man pleads with me to return, but I’ve grown tired of feeling useless. I’ve seen too much and learned too little. I’m a piano player. The Haitians don’t need more music. They don’t need more art, or hope, or compassion, or nodding, spoiled young American women pretending to understand the unfairness of life. What they need is a break.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1354900 - 01/21/10 03:50 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5571
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
Nice story Robin.

I wonder about the fate of the people you knew in the eighties.

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#1355132 - 01/21/10 10:55 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano World]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
Frank: Here's what I know about the people in the Haitian chapter of Piano Girl: Owner-man sold the hotel in 1992. Mona was murdered in 1991 when she stepped off a bus in NYC, by a crazy man with a knife. I went to her funeral. Gladys moved to the Bahamas. Pressoir continued to work at the hotel. I lost track of Rodley, and the flower pot he gave me crashed to the ground about a year ago and shattered into a million pieces. I pray that Marie-Claude and her family are alive.

Big deep breath. I have started a Haitian thread over on the Piano Forum, and in the interest of keeping our wedding forum from veering too far off topic, I will now post all Haiti-related topics over there:
Haiti-Piano

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

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#1355516 - 01/22/10 12:06 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
sherryk Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/21/10
Posts: 16
Loc: Indiana
I once played a reception where the mother of the bride had forgotten to secure a piano. Altho the venue had a piano, they refused to let us (a trio) use it without paying the $50 rental fee. We had already played the wedding and had been paid to play the reception. We figured since we were already there, we would pool our money and get the piano. Luckily, friends of the mother of the bride got wind of the situation and pooled their own money. Whew!
_________________________
________________________
Sherry K
Pianist/Composer/Jazzy Gourmet
Piano with spirit, soul, and a hint of lime and salt!
www.sherryk.com
www.jazzygourmet.com
www.facebook.com/sherrykpiano

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#1355645 - 01/22/10 03:33 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: sherryk]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
Thanks, Sherry, for getting us back on track here! I had fallen into a pit of despair and I needed someone like you to come along and drag me out by the armpits. THANK YOU.

It's amazing how often clients forget to secure a piano. It's the first thing I ask when booking a gig at an unfamiliar location. Assuming there is an actual piano on the premises, I have also been known to call the manager of the venue, ask for the technician's name, and then get the technician to tell me what kind of instrument I'll be playing. I have a soft spot in my heart for technicians--they are honest and helpful--pretty much the polar opposite of most of the clipboard ladies. I also have a reliable dealer who will rent a piano to the client. He knows my preferences and sends my first, second, or third choice according to the client's budget (it's almost always the third choice, but every so often I get lucky)

Anyway, I'm glad you didn't have to pay for the church piano. But what a sweet thing that you were willing to do so!

Some places charge for electricity, to get around the keyboard players who don't have to pay a piano fee. One place I have worked in is rumored to charge 100 € just for an outlet.

I returned to work tonight after a three week holiday. I play the cocktail hour for a Michelin 3-star restaurant situated in a castle (obviously this is Europe, not Pittsburgh), which was renovated during the break and re-opened tonight. Much hoopla, and it was nice to be back on the bench after such a long break.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1357602 - 01/25/10 10:08 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
sherryk Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/21/10
Posts: 16
Loc: Indiana
Actually, I am new here and didn't realize that the thread had shifted--glad to oblige!

And yes, it IS amazing how many times the clients forget to secure the piano. I actually did call the venue and made sure they HAD a piano. I never thought to ask if the client had actually remembered to PAY for it, ha!

I didn't realize that some places actually charge for electricity for keyboards--unbelievable!

The Michelin 3-star castle sounds fun. Do you eat there too? I'll bet it is great.
_________________________
________________________
Sherry K
Pianist/Composer/Jazzy Gourmet
Piano with spirit, soul, and a hint of lime and salt!
www.sherryk.com
www.jazzygourmet.com
www.facebook.com/sherrykpiano

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#1357618 - 01/25/10 10:40 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: sherryk]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
Welcome, Sherry!

Yes, I am very fortunate to have this steady castle gig. I've been at Schloss Lerbach for eight years, going on nine.

Schloss Lerbach

I play the steady job on the weekend, and pick up a lot of wedding work as a result, mostly in the same venue. The food is scary it's so good, the piano is wonderful, the acoustics are perfect for the way I play—it's basically a lounge pianist's dream come true. Plus, you know, I get to put on princess dresses every weekend, which most of the time is fun, assuming I haven't indulged in too much of the aforementioned fancy food.

Anyway, I've played in a lot of awful places over the past thirty-five (count 'em) years, so I really appreciate this job. And the weddings there are beautiful and quirky and provide me with copious amounts of material for stories. We're in a wedding season lull right now, but things should be picking up soon.

Please post any of your wedding stories here, they will be appreciated!
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1358927 - 01/26/10 08:44 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
Attention firemen: why not plan that wedding at Schloss Lerbach? I would like to see photos of you and your bride coming out the front door after the ceremony, with a fire truck on either side, ladders up, Deutsche flag suspended between them, and firemen throwing rice while they take advantage of the great photo angle.

While we're on the subject, what would be wrong with Valentine's Day (except that it's coming up a little soon now)?

Since there are no human wedding stories (apparently), I am tempted to tell you what the California Newts, taricha torosa, are doing at this season of the year. They are taking walks. One may see them on the backcountry canyon trails, strolling determinedly back to the still waters where they were hatched from jelly-like masses of eggs, during their aquatic phase. No tuxes, no veils, and no Marryin' Sam, but the males' skin does become smoother for the occasion ("the better to tempt you with, my dear", and he develops a tail fin ("the better to swim to you, my dear") and roughened footpads ("the better to clasp you with, my dear").

A lot of them show up at the ponds--- they say it is quite a scene--- but you have to be there at midnight on the night of the full moon. I have taken moonlight hikes, but not in the deep canyons, and not in January.

It may not be as refined or as glossy as Schloss Lerbach, but it suits them.

A word of warning: think twice before enjoying them for a snack or a stunt. Their skin is poisonous, and there have been deaths recorded, including one of a scoutmaster who ate one to show off to his troop. If I remember the story right, it didn't work out too well for the Big Bad Wolf, either; "The better to eat you with, my dear," were his last words.


Edited by Jeff Clef (01/26/10 08:48 PM)
_________________________
Clef


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#1359305 - 01/27/10 10:57 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
Why thank you, Jeff. Now I will be dreaming about newts in bridesmaid dresses. I'm guessing the scene at the pond is like a reception, complete with the International Medley, out of tune soprano, Clipboard Lady, and Weeping Mother of the Bride.

We have a lovely pond at the Schloss, currently inhabited by a committee of ducks and two black swans, one of whom ran away (twice) to a swamp behind a BMW dealership. I talk to the swan often, and I think I've convinced him that a car parking lot is no match for a castle garden.

I shall be on the lookout for newts.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1359337 - 01/27/10 11:37 AM 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

It's amazing how often clients forget to secure a piano.


The phrase "secure a piano" reminds me of a story I heard on a cruise on the QE2. My wife and I had gotten a free cruise through her company. It was 25 years ago, back when 1000 passengers was considered a large ship. There was a rather nice 9 foot Steinway in a large lounge. No one seemed to mind if I snuck in and played it after hours, something that would surely be forbidden on any of the 24-hour floating entertainment factories of today.

One of the staff came over and commented on my playing. We got to talking. The piano, although still on wheels, was anchored to the floor with thick steel brackets. He told me of a particularly rough Atlantic crossing during which the ship pitched so much that the piano in that room ripped the screws out of the floor. It became a half-ton projectile and had a long stretch of unobstructed dance floor to build up speed before it destroyed the bar.

Quote:

Some places charge for electricity, to get around the keyboard players who don't have to pay a piano fee. One place I have worked in is rumored to charge 100 € just for an outlet.

I have endured many of the slights that are common at gigs, but I have never been charged for an outlet. I think it would be difficult for me to contain my less civilized impulses in a situation like that. I'd be tempted to show up with a couple of greasy car batteries and a thick set of brightly-colored jumper cables with large alligator clips. Better yet, a Pancho-Villa bandolier of linked D-Cells over each shoulder and an Energizer Bunny on the keyboard thumping out the rhythm.

Greg Guarino
_________________________
Greg Guarino

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#1359363 - 01/27/10 12:11 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: gdguarino]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
Greg! You're back. We've missed you. As you can see we've resorted to talking about newts in bridesmaid dresses without you here.

That runaway Steinway story is THE BEST. Maybe it wasn't really an iceberg that sunk the Titanic, but an unsecured concert grand in the middle of an Atlantic storm. Now I know why I never do cruise ship jobs.

Maybe the "charging for the outlet" thing is a European banquet department trick. I've only experienced it over here, not at Lerbach, but at another hotel. Jumper cables are a fine idea, Greg!
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1359568 - 01/27/10 04:29 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

This is starting to sound more like a chapter from The Wind in the Willows, or the libretto for one of Tchaikovsky's operatic works. Fanciful, certainly, and very far indeed from the banal chit-chat (and bared tattoos) of a real wedding. I can't think of what would be a newt's idea of reception line chatter. Maybe Robin could ask the swan.

As for the handsome fellow in the picture (the California Newt, discussed above), frankly his outfit beats the stuffing out of some bridesmaids dresses I've seen, and I don't know why we don't see more newt-themed weddings. It was worth wallowing on a muddy creek bank to get the shot.
_________________________
Clef


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#1360187 - 01/28/10 12:51 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
Who need tulle? Who needs ruffles? Who needs another chorus of "The Bride Cuts the Cake?" Not this guy.

You know Clef, this is really giving me ideas for my next children's musical (after I promised my husband I would avoid such undertakings in the future). Since I did write and produce a German musical (Hobo und die Waldfeen) with a trumpet-playing tree, a giant rabbit, and a fairy in a wheelchair) a wedding for newts is not entirely crazy. Although the costuming might be tricky.

Thanks for risking life and limb to snag this photo. I hope you're not expecting me to sneak up on the black swans.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

Top
#1364049 - 02/02/10 01:12 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
"Friend of the newt or friend of the swan?"

"Newt."

"Should have known. The shiny coat was a dead give away."

"You?"

"Swan."

"But you're white! The other swans are black."

"Adopted."

"Oh. Nice."

"Care for a real drink? I can't take any more of this swamp swill. I think the swans must have imported it from the BMW parking lot pond."

"Yeah, sure. I could use something grassy. On the rocks."

"Hey, check out the Mother of the Newt. She looks pissed."

"Can you blame her? I mean why couldn't Nellie marry one of the nice neighborhood newts? Did she have to run off with a black swan of all things? I know it's not easy being green, but still—"

"Oh look, the band is getting ready to start. What are they called?"

"The Five Duckies."

"But there are only three of them. What happened?"

"Weasel. Happened last night. Got the bass player and the singer."

"Get out of town."

"No, really. A tragedy. No one has volunteered to play the bass. But the swan's sister has volunteered to sing."

"The one in the feather boa and the leopard sandals?"

"Yep, that's her."

"Oh, great. She couldn't swing if she was hangin' from a vine."

"Yeah, but you know, nice beak."

"Who's on keyboards? He's gonna have to kill himself to make up for the dead duckies. Especially the bass player. Hope he's got a strong left hand."

"Not to worry, that's Danny D. He's been with the Five Duckies for months, and he's got a killin' repertoire. You name it, he'll play it. In any key."

"How do you know this stuff? You an agent or something?"

"I dabble. Used to have an event planning office over at the aviary. You wanna grab that drink and head over to the bandstand? Looks like the lizard dance is just about to start."
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1364055 - 02/02/10 01:21 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5571
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
Cute, of course if someone visits our piano forums for the first time and this is the first post they read ... crazy
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#1364317 - 02/02/10 08:52 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano World]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4414
Loc: San Jose, CA
If you think that was 'out there,' wait til you hear what's on those trays of hors-d'oeuvres.

I should only hope a first-time visitor was so lucky as to come to this thread first. In the long run, the wedding may outlast the piano...
_________________________
Clef


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#1364524 - 02/03/10 03:02 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
Okay, I apologize for the newt-swan wedding dialog. Sometimes I'm a slave to whimsy. It's Clef's fault. That newt photo was the greatest.

Back on topic, I got an email yesterday from a pianist who asked how to advertise for wedding gigs. Good question.

Here's what I do: I'm lucky to have a steady gig at a place (the castle) that is an enormously popular wedding venue. The banquet department often interviews potential wedding clients on Friday and Saturday evenings (when I'm playing) because the hotel is at its best (music, happy people, candlelight, flowers) during those hours. I keep a stack of business cards on the piano, along with my CDs. I don't have a fancy brochure, just a classy business card that says Robin Meloy Goldsby, Solo Piano, with my contact info. You'd be surprised how much work I get just from those little cards. Anyway, if the banquet department director indicates to me that the client is interested in piano music, I present the client with a comp CD. This works really well.

(NOTE: This is one of the ways you can make money with a nicely packaged recording---give away the CD and book a big bucks job as a result. i know, it's expensive and time consuming to produce a high quality recording, but it pays for itself with just a few of these wedding jobs. Just make sure the recording is the same type of music you would be playing on the gig.)

In general, I would suggest that you ALWAYS keep business cards on the piano, no matter where you're playing.

I know some people advertise in bridal magazines or go to those bridal fair events. Greg does the dreaded agent showcases with his band. But what about the rest of you? Anyone have any good ideas for getting wedding work?
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1364706 - 02/03/10 10:58 AM 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
Greg does the dreaded agent showcases with his band.


Not any more, thankfully. That was many years ago, with a dedicated wedding band.

It can be difficult to start from scratch. The best way to get work reminds me of an old Steve Martin routine about a foolproof money making scheme: "Step one, get a million dollars. Step two...". In other words, work tends to breed work, so make sure to do the very best job you can whenever you play in public. Nothing will convince a potential client that you can do the job better than seeing you do the job.
_________________________
Greg Guarino

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#1364852 - 02/03/10 01:49 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: gdguarino]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
one of my favorite threads EVER

I have a wedding upcoming and the bride hasn't a clue what she wants as far as music.. she told me to pick what I wanted but requested the Happy Husband by Beethoven. (I sang Ode to Joy for her over the phone, and she said 'Yeah.. that's it').

(i'm thinking the period shouldn't come at the end of the previous sentence but within the paranthesis.)
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1364860 - 02/03/10 01:53 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: apple*]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
Don't you just love humming Beethoven over the phone?

Greg, I'm happy that period of your life is OVER. I agree 100% with what you said about being in top form on every job. Having a gig and playing it well is probably a musician's best marketing tool.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

Top
#1364945 - 02/03/10 03:43 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
gdguarino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 317
Loc: New York City
The Five Duckies (Minus Two) book most of their gigs through their Web ("It's all in the toes, man") Site. They even have an audio demo.

http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/lyrics/fiveducks.htm

And yes, there is no shortage of weasels in the Musical Forest.

There is, by the way, a real act called the Duhks that's pretty interesting. I hear them on satellite radio in the car from time to time.


Edited by gdguarino (02/03/10 03:44 PM)
_________________________
Greg Guarino

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#1365278 - 02/03/10 11:48 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: gdguarino]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
Ha! Those Duckies get around.

And I agree about the weasels.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

Top
#1365455 - 02/04/10 09:45 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
"Anyway, if the banquet department director indicates to me that the client is interested in piano music, I present the client with a comp CD. This works really well."

Dear Frau Goldsby:

Thanks so much for the lovely wedding music CD. We'll have our DJ play it before the ceremony; it will remind us of your kind best wishes for our married life. Sorry to deprive a working musician of the gig, but we decided to spend the money we saved on nicer favors for our guests. My husband and I hope they remember you, too, when they get married.

(The Future) Frau Wilma Freuhauf-Weasel

*****************************************************

Dear Freulein Freuhauf,

I'm glad you liked my wedding music demo CD. Please, think nothing of blowing off the actual performance--- it is my pleasure to provide the music for this special occasion (at the "other castle," so the Banquet Director told me). All I ask is that you provide me with a copy of the videotape of the ceremony, so I can forward it to the syndicated television program, "Weddings Gone Wrong."

The demo version of my wedding music CD features an advanced copy-protection system which causes certain sound-effects to occur when the disc detects a wedding chapel. I hope your guests and your in-laws enjoy them as much as I have. Indeed, I hope your friends do remember it; I can all but guarantee that they will.

Sincerely,

etc.


Edited by Jeff Clef (02/04/10 10:25 AM)
_________________________
Clef


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