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#2300659 - 07/10/14 10:22 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4429
Loc: San Jose, CA
CNN reported yesterday that a wedding in Israel was interrupted by air raid sirens, after missles were fired from Gaza. The bride gathered up her skirts and hoofed it for the exit as best she could in high-heeled pumps or satin slippers--- CNN did not say which.

Either way, Let's Talk Weddings deplores the event, though we are happy that the wedding party was not blown to pieces.

Odds, anyone, on the chances that the event was resumed or rescheduled? Admittedly, the optics were terrible; some might well lose their nerve, feeling that this was such a bad omen that it might be as well to forget the whole thing. But others might have their stubborn streak activated and celebrate the fete right there in the air raid shelter.

Piano & Music Accessories
#2301749 - 07/13/14 03:40 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 704
Loc: Germany
I'm guessing that missile attacks are not a topic covered in Wedding Planner School. Hard to schedule the soup course or the first dance if you're worried about bombs.

I'm also pretty certain that the wedding went on—in the face of war we need to be reminded, more than ever, that love is stronger than hate.
Robin Meloy Goldsby
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RMG is a Steinway Artist

#2303909 - 07/19/14 01:20 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: The Wind]
phacke Online   content

Gold Supporter until November 11 2014

Registered: 10/18/12
Posts: 553
Loc: CO, USA
Originally Posted By: The Wind
I haven't been gigging lately at all, just got back from Russia teaching English to a private family. They had a grand piano in the home but it wasn't the best and slightly out of tune and poor action.

Actually I was looking at solo hotel residencies in Asia or Dubai, but sadly I have come to realize that all they want are pretty ladies who look good and can play passably. Basically eye candy for the guests.

As a guy my chances are zilch in landing that job.

I've learned that gigs should be treated as fun and a bonus. Better to do something else for a proper job and play for enjoyment.

memorable post.

I thought of it when reading this in the WSJ

"Mr. Brown is among the many cover-band artists these days who are finding it more difficult to earn a living. The problem is a paucity of lucrative bar-band gigs (thanks to DJs, trivia nights, karaoke, and changing tastes) combined with a glut of middle-aged musicians who just can't quit the scene."


Good luck, there should be something in Bahrain (according to the article).

Steinway YM (1933)
...Working on:
G. F. Händel: Suite in G minor (HWV 452)
J. S. Bach, Sonata No. 1 in B minor (BWV 1014) duet with violin

#2303935 - 07/19/14 05:08 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
gsmonks Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 638
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
We should be playing divorces, considering divorces outnumber marriages by around 2-1.

Anyone know any good divorce music? YMCA comes to mind.

#2304002 - 07/19/14 11:30 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21692
Loc: Oakland
More than a catbird hates a cat
Or a criminal hates a clue
Or the Axis hates the United States
That's how much I love you!
Semipro Tech

#2304243 - 07/20/14 12:20 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: BDB]
gsmonks Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/10
Posts: 638
Loc: Saskatchewan, Canada
Originally Posted By: BDB
More than a catbird hates a cat
Or a criminal hates a clue
Or the Axis hates the United States
That's how much I love you!

I don't know that catbirds hate cats, but the ones nesting in my hedge seem to like to drive my cats nuts.

#2305363 - 07/22/14 12:51 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano World]
briansaddleback Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/14
Posts: 220
Loc: Irvine CA
Originally Posted By: Piano World
Great stories everyone, keep them coming.
I'll add one I experienced...

My girlfriend's daughter got married recently (her second trip to the altar).

I offered to play the music at her wedding. Figured I'd make some points that way, plus I don't get a lot of opportunities to play out these days.

The wedding was in a little chapel in St. Petersburg, Florida. It was originally
a Seamen's chapel, built circa 1901. Some years ago the chapel was purchased and moved to a heritage park in St. Petersburg.
It's a beautiful location with lots of historic buildings set in a wooded area with a mixture of pine and tropical trees. The ground is covered with pine needles and smells wonderful. It's like stepping into a different time, when things were slower and quieter.

Kathy (the mother) and I took a ride up to the park so I could check out the chapel. It's a beautiful old building, typically with high ceilings, lots of windows,wood floors, and wooden pews. A great set up for bouncing music all over the place :-)

The only instrument in the chapel is an old one manual pump organ.
Now, I can play piano, and I play some organ, but I draw the line at having to pump while I play.

I decided I'd use my own Yamaha P-80 (Digital Piano) and amp.
Anyone who has played the P-80 knows it actually has a fairly decent pipe organ sound, some ok strings, and a reasonable set of piano voices.

They also know it ain't light.

My amplifier is a Hartke KM200, it weighs about the same as the average refrigerator. However, having played in rock bands I felt 200 watts was the bare minimum I should have in case I really wanted to be heard.

The bride and groom were kindly receptive to my playing at their wedding (I'm sure they were wondering if I really knew how to play). We decided to have a little get together so they could hear me, and so they could pick out their music.

Keep in mind, I live on the other side of the state (Pompano Beach), and I drive a Sebring convertible (hey, second childhood here, besides, it IS Florida).
Nice car for tooling around in the sun, not so good for hauling band equipment across the state.

On top of that, I gotta haul the equipment down a flight of stairs, by myself.
The only way I could fit it in the car was to put the top down, hefting the keyboard over the side and setting it on the floor, then grunting and groaning to get the *%*# amplifier into the back seat. Off I go, heading across Alligator Alley (yup, that's really what it's called, and they aren't kidding).

Drive 253 miles to Kathy's, perform for the lucky couple, drive 253 miles back (and haul the equipment back UP the stairs).
Now I have to practice, a lot. I want the music to go flawlessly, and of course I'd like people to be impressed with my playing (or at least, not hate it). After all, it is a group of my girlfriend's friends and relatives.

So practice I do. It ain't exactly like preparing for Carnegie Hall, but still I work pretty hard at it.
The day finally arrives, I haul my equipment across the state again, and set it up in the chapel.

As I'm setting up the cutest little girl walks in, followed by her Mommy.
The little girl will forever be known to me as MM (motor mouth).
"Hi, my name is Stephanie, I'm the flower girl, are you playing for the wedding? I'm in the wedding. How do I look? Can I play your piano? I play the piano, my brother taught me how to play but sometimes I just make stuff up, I really like to play, can I play? Do you like my dress? Is anyone else here yet? So, can I play the piano now, I really like to play"
Mind you, this was all within one breath, without stopping, spoken so fast it sounded like all one sentence.

I let MM play for a few minutes, during which she never stops talking. Her mother finally convinces her they have to go get ready for pictures.

I play some "wedding appropriate" music while guests are being seated.
The couple chose Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring for when the mothers come in, and Clarke's Trumpet Voluntary for the processional.

There is a professional wedding planner (a friend of Kathy's). She is very organized (marching around the chapel with a clip board). She assures me she will give me the proper cues.

Because there is nowhere for the bridal party to wait but outside (I said it was a SMALL chapel), the doors are kept closed once the guests are seated.

What I didn't realize was just how small it was. As in, it doesn't take long to get from the back to the front.

I get the cue, the mothers are ready to enter.

Start the Joy. Doors open, in they come escorted by two nervous teens (the groom's boys from a previous marriage). It takes the mothers about 23 seconds to make it to their seats.
I've been practicing for weeks to play about 12 measures?

Fade the music.

The wedding planner whispers in my ear, the next time the doors open it will be the bridesmaids, and the bride. Cool, I'm ready.
Minutes go by, finally the big doors are swung open, I start playing the Trumpet Voluntary majestically, as an older couple who were late for the wedding walks in! Arggh, no wonder I don't usually play weddings.

Door closed again, we wait...

Doors open, yes, it's them!
I crank up the Voluntary again, and this time it is the bride.
It takes about 37 seconds for them to get to the altar. Wow, I've made it all the way to the top of the second page.

The bride's father (my girlfriends ex-husband, there with his new wife, as if I wasn't uncomfortable enough) gives her away ... "Who gives this woman away?" "I do, FOR THE LAST TIME". (At least he has a sense of humor).

Lovely ceremony... time to leave, play the Mendelssohn Wedding March, out they go.
At least I get to have a little fun, thanks to the groom.
The groom asked me to play the Bruins Theme when they were almost out the door. He's 6'5" and about 300lbs, he asks, I play :-)

Practice? = weeks
Actual Playing Time? = about 1 minute
The opportunity to be part of it all? = priceless

Now if someone would just help me load all this *^&#* equipment back into the car!

Great story!

Cloches a travers les feuilles

#2314786 - 08/13/14 01:22 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Elssa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/05
Posts: 1567
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: Piano Girl RMG

Seriously, I have been dealing with this topic for years— listening to whispered comments like: "she only gets the gigs because she looks nice at the piano." This is probably true in some cases—at least this is why I've gotten some jobs to begin with (although that's changing as I age!), but I hold onto gigs because I know what I'm doing and I'm good at it. Cocktail gigs are NOT just about playing the piano—you have to be personable, willing to put up with a lot of weirdness, offer psychological counseling to wayward guests, and, yes, play the piano at the same time.


I don't know how you do it, dealing with all that, but you play the cocktail music beautifully - with skill and with love.

#2331944 - 09/28/14 04:57 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
T E Bekken Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/27/14
Posts: 11
Loc: Trondheim; Norway
I once played a wedding in which somebody spiked the punch with some hallucinogenic drug. Believe me when I say that the entire party was desperately, helplessly out of control. Since then, I have never played a wedding gig again. It would probably give me flashbacks.
Dr Bekken
Jazz Blues Ragtime Stride Free Improvisation

#2342892 - 10/29/14 12:09 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 704
Loc: Germany
Sorry for being absent here. I have missed all of you. Big time. But I'm back, just in time for Halloween. Anyone dressing as a bride this year? Not me.

I think in one of my last posts I promised to tell you about the bride marrying her Gynecologist. Now, most women are appalled by this. Most men seem to think there's nothing wrong with it. I'll keep that in mind as I proceed with the story.

Our bride, let's call her Constanza, was in her fifties and creating quite a scene, quite possibly because the mother of the bride was deceased and the bride had to take over both roles. I was NOT hired to play for Constanza's wedding, but as so often happens at my castle gig, I was playing for our "other" guests and watching as Constanza's wedding dinner unfolded before my eyes (and ears).

Train Wreck

Cast of Characters
The Wedding Planner (Frau Laut): Usually these women are pert and perky, pesky and pretty, petite and personable. Not so our Frau Laut, a battle axe with a hunched back and a limp, who screams across the lobby with a voice that could shatter glass.

The Band
A humble quartet of musicians who schleps their gear through the lobby during my first set. They smile, they nod, they look at me like I have a lettuce leaf on my head, most likely wondering what I am doing here since they have the gig. Three guys and one female singer. She plays a big part in this story, after she has changed into her costume for the evening, but we'll get to her later.

Constanza, the Bride

Herr Dr. Constanza, the Gynecologist and Groom

Becky, the Hotel Banquet Director
A source of information for me. She hovers next the piano, plotting the murder of Frau Laut (strangulation by train), and tells me all about the bride.


"She has a five yard train on her wedding gown," Becky says. Her eyes dart back and forth, waiting for the next shriek from Frau Laut.

"Five YARDS?" I replied. "That's Princess Di proportions." The wedding itself had taken place earlier in the day, inside the castle instead of outside where it had been planned. Five yards of tulle train would have been fine in the park (imagine what the ninja swans could have done with that—tulle is great for nest building), but the castle interior is hardly big enough for the bridal party, let alone a five-yard train. Westminster Abbey we are not.

"You know, she married her Gynecologist?"

"What?" I say.

"Yep." She told us all about it. How they met and everything."

"Please don't tell me they met at the office."


"Oh my God," I say. "And they TOLD you this?"

"They're proud of it. And not only that," Becky continues, "his first wife has only been dead for a year. His children are NOT pleased. This is not a very happy wedding party."

I can't even process the part about the first wife. I am still thinking about the office visit. I can't help it. I wonder if her legs were in the stirrups when he popped the question. Pap smear and a proposal—not a great combination.

I still have not seen Constanza. She is outside having her portrait taken. In the rain. I'll bet that dress is a little muddy at this point.

The band carries in enough equipment to cover a gig at the Cologne arena. Obviously these people think big. Westminster Abbey wedding gown, a band that looks like they are setting up for a Kiss comeback concert. Side note: I met Gene Simmons once—he sat next to the white grand piano in the white Omni lobby in Manhattan and bought me a White Russian on my break. I was wearing a white dress, now that I think of it—obviously a sign of weddings in my future. He was a nice guy.

Back to the story. Frau Laut screams at the band to hurry it along. "SCHNELL! THE GUESTS ARE ARRIVING ANY MINUTE NOW FOR DINNER." I play "Over the Rainbow," and try to keep the tempo really laid back, which can be challenging when everyone is scurrying around me. Waiters carry chairs and trays of drinks. The valet carries raincoats and umbrellas. I carry myself into the Piano Zone and count my blessings that I don't have to work for Frau Laut and Constanza this evening.

Here comes the bride. Constanza, fifty years old and counting (good—I'm not the oldest one in the room tonight), sweeps into the lobby with a panicked hotel worker holding an umbrella over her lacquered head and a gaggle of servant girls holding her train. Her husband, the good doctor, puffed up and proud in white tie and tails, stands to one side and looks on with pride. The bride—with her white satin bodice covered in baubles, spangles, and beads—looks like an ageing nightclub singer, making a comeback from a career she never had. She pushes Umbrella Boy out of the way and grabs one of the musicians as he makes another trip across the lobby. They huddle for a minute and I overhear something about "Unforgettable" in Gb (!!!!) but I ignore them and keep playing.

"YOU!" shouts Constanza. There sure is a lot of shouting going on tonight. "YOU!" she says again, when I realize she is pointing at me.

"Guten Abend," I say. "What a lovely dress." Too bad about the mud.

"AND WHO ARE YOU?" she asks. "WHO ARE YOU?" She points at me with that "J'accuse" look in her eye, as if I had just made off with the wedding torte.

"I am the pianist," I say. "The house pianist. I am playing for the other guests here this evening."

"But now you will play for me," she says. "I want to sing."

"But your band is over there." I point to the quartet. En masse, they quickly look away and leave the room. "If you have a request you should talk to the band. They are the musicians you hired. You didn't hire me."

"NO NO NO! You will play for me. My guests are arriving now. As soon as they walk in I want to entertain them. And you will play."

"What would you like to sing?" If she says "Unforgettable" in Gb I'm going to have a heart attack. I'm a soloist, I have no fake books with me, and this sort of spontaneous "let's have a concert thing" is not what I'm good at. Plus, she is NOT paying me.

"Summertime," she says.

"Okay," I say.

"Bb minor," she says. Who is this bride? And why does she want to sing in all these weird keys?

"A minor," I say. "Take it or leave it." I can't believe I am arguing with a botoxed chirp in a puffy white dress.

She is about to argue with me when the doors burst open and about eighty miserable looking guests shuffle in.

"Hit it," she says.

Usually when a singer asks to sing "Summertime," I can count on it being horrible. I wish I could tell you that Constanza was the world's worst singer. But she sounded good in a big ballsy musical theater way. Think Ethel Merman channeling Bernadette Peters channeling Liza channeling the guy who currently plays the lead in the Hamburg production of Phantom of the Opera. In fact, Constanza not only sings, she dances, prancing around the piano with exaggerated hand gestures and flirtatious gestures towards the male guests. I'm sure she would break into a time step or two, but she is limited by her train. The servant girls struggle to keep up with her. I pound out the piece, playing my fake-jazz bluesy chords, all the while wondering what Mr. Gershwin would make of this. Arpeggio, ta-da! Big finish.

"Encore," they yell. So we play it again. The applause is less than enthusiastic this time around. Without bothering to thank me, Constanza makes a grand exit into the dining salon and the guests follow her. I hear the band strike the first chords of "Country Roads" (odd choice for a German wedding, but whatever), and I wonder what key it's in. Sounds like A.

The band singer, let's call her Lola, hurries through the lobby. She has changed clothes and is now wearing a lime green dress that enhances her huge, and I mean really huge, breasts. André, one of our young waiters, stares at her and drops an entire tray of champagne glasses. My night is complete.

The next morning I arrive at the castle to play my regular Sunday brunch gig. On the staircase leading down to the restaurant I run right into Constanza. She wears a white mini dress and big white royal wedding hat.

"Oh!" I say. I am not required by any code to talk to this woman, but as a hotel employee with good manners I feel the need to make nice-nice. "I hope you had a wonderful evening. It looked like a very nice party."

"AND WHO ARE YOU?" she asks.

"Just a musician," I say, and leave her standing there, train-less.
Robin Meloy Goldsby
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RMG is a Steinway Artist

#2342904 - 10/29/14 12:37 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1786
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Welcome back, Robin! My wife and I hope to see you perform at the castle in December. Neither of us sing, though.

"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

#2343228 - Yesterday at 06:42 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 704
Loc: Germany
Thank you, CL! Hope to see you in December. Be sure and make a reservation if you intend to come to the concert—it usually sells out, the salon only holds 100 people! Or 50 if you have the Kiss revival band and a bride with a really big dress.
Robin Meloy Goldsby
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RMG is a Steinway Artist

#2343329 - Yesterday at 11:34 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4429
Loc: San Jose, CA
The well-told tale with the true Robin touch--- how I have longed to hear your voice again. Can it be a coincidence? Just yesterday, I advised a piano teacher, vexed by the way every one of her students snubbed her recital into the temptation of sending a very vinegary note to all the parents, to delve into "Piano Girl," and "Rhythm." Let us say, simply, that I thought she might benefit from the perspective--- is dying for the lack of it, in fact. Put it another way: I didn't want to tell her, "If you want to be really, really miserable, try thinking only of yourself." Well, ok, I did. But having just told her that she would catch more flies with honey, than with vinegar, I could hardly come right out and...

But that was another thread, and here... on the Bride's Day Off, we can say to Constanza, "What a darling outfit! And don't worry, it doesn't make your butt look big."

"And who are you?"

"A darling Summertime outfit. Well, time for trick-or-treat tomorrow."

#2343399 - Yesterday at 03:13 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3230
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Jeff Clef
But that was another thread, and here... on the Bride's Day Off, we can say to Constanza, "What a darling outfit! And don't worry, it doesn't make your butt look big."

Nope, I don't think it's the dress.

gotta go practice

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