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#1256838 - 08/26/09 09:10 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: apple*]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4441
Loc: San Jose, CA
"Hey, Look Me Over" is not so bad. "Farewell Mein Lieberherr" could have popped out of your subconscious, and what a number to walk down the aisle to. No--- no one could walk to that. One must slither.

"Why they think the organist wants to hear how they fell in love is beyond me."

I know, Apple. The only thing to do is fight fire with fire. If you interrupt with a story of your own.... Get out pictures of your grandchildren, it does for brides what garlic does for vampires. Or excuse yourself, saying your cellphone vibrated and the call turned out to be important and private in nature.

"How can you turn down a crying bride who needs to change the music even tho rehearsals have been conducted with soloists?"

Say yes, and play the original music as rehearsed. Brush off the bride with some excuse afterward. They're going to cry anyway, what difference does it make why? Or just say no to begin with; I refer to my previous remark. This is what matrons-of-honor are there for, that and when the bridesmaids need a referee.

"How do you extract money from a bride who's fiance has decided not to go thru the wedding?"

Advance payment? A signed contract backed up with a visit to "Judge Judy"? It's worked for wedding photographers, bridesmaids' seamstresses, wedding DJ's, limo drivers, and caterers... and some episodes were juicy. Bridezilla does not translate well in front of Judgezilla. In fact, we may have put our finger on the very problem the groom had.

"How do you deal with a mother in law who wants to bribe you to change the music as a surprise for her son?"

You say that like it's a bad thing--- I would do it. Everyone loves wedding surprises. I say, go along--- that is, if the bribe was big enough, and in cash. Tell the bride you didn't think she would want to get crossways with her mother-in-law right from the jump; it is unanswerable.

Oh well, at least these are fantasy "Weddings from Hell." There's a TV show of home videos of real wedding disasters. One poor bride shut the limo door on her dress, and it peeled off, taking her train and a good bit of the back panel with it. (I don't remember if they went through with the ceremony.) Members of the wedding have taken a header down the church stairs or gotten drunk at the reception and reeled into the band, knocking it flying. Face-plants into the wedding cake, a mishap with a mud puddle, that thing where they dance with the wedding couple hoisted on chairs (so hazard-prone)... the video quality may not be up to network standards, but it's gritty reality. Low, no doubt, that others (such as myself) can laugh at the misfortunes of others on their Big Day. I tell myself that the syndication royalties can pay for a second honeymoon.

I can't even try to top your funeral story, though. Especially the ten bucks.
_________________________
Clef


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Piano & Music Accessories
#1257035 - 08/27/09 07:25 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 710
Loc: Germany
Jeff, this should be in a wedding music text book. Why don't they teach this stuff in music school?

"Smile, nod, and play what you want to play" is probably a good rule for these things. You can kill yourself learning some awful song and then no one even notices when you play it.

I once had a bride give me list of 60 songs (!) to play for a one hour cocktail reception. Imagine.

My dad always joked that musicians should be like chefs and have a menu.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1257113 - 08/27/09 10:12 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
funeral musicians have menues.

I have a funeral choir ... old ladies and men, (one with emphysema and an oxygen tank) who willingly go to every funeral and sing their stock songs. They sing it their way, with Kansas 'r's, ancient rhythms and the occasional wobbling descant. A family may choose from about 50 appropriate songs.

I inherited this choir as well as the songbooks that they cut, pasted and taped together long ago. Once I tried to introduce a few new songs to them. We had a rehearsal and included them in the list of available songs, taping them into the songbooks. When we actually sang one, they just sat down during the service and looked at me with great reproach... Apparently that was the signal they agreed to give me, to let me know that they weren't going to sing that song. (I wish they had just told me that beforehand). If I happen to forget a coda that they always do (but isn't written in the music), they cluster around to protest after the Mass (yep, it's Catholic). 'how could I do this to them?'

(Not to make fun of them, they are a great bunch of people).
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1257163 - 08/27/09 11:17 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
Musicwoman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/14/09
Posts: 31
LOL! There are really Weddings from Hell. Instead of letting them get into your nerves, have fun. Laugh out loud.
_________________________
Reviews of piano teaching software

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#1257207 - 08/27/09 12:42 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Musicwoman]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4441
Loc: San Jose, CA
Maybe the subtext of this wedding thing is along the same lines as hazing during fraternity initiations, on the theory that if you can get through the ceremony you'll make it at least to the seven-year-itch. Or maybe they think that suffering though it will make you turn to God--- after all, you're right there in a church.

It might work in some cases. Or it could backfire.

To be fair, I have to say that my niece's wedding was a real blast, every single minute of it. No one could have been the more polar opposite of a bridezilla. The floodwaters had only receded from New Orleans for a scant year, but she wanted to do her part to help the town recover... and she wanted to do what she could to bring all the branches of the family together, and all her buddies. It was an unlikely job, but she made it a stunning success.

Everything was fun: the meals, the rehearsal dinner, the ceremony in the garden of a truly fabulous antebellum mansion, the music and dancing (three different ensembles for before, during, and after). I drew video-camera duty; the bride thought of everybody--- even the staff at the mansion--- and remembered even those who weren't there. My mom had very badly wanted to be present, and we had moved heaven and earth to make it possible... but her health took a turn for the worse, and the skilled-nursing facility where she lived said, "No way." But Mary didn't forget her. As she came down the spiral staircase in her wedding gown, she stopped for a moment in front of the camera and said, "I love you, Mimi," and blew her a kiss. Then she was off, down the aisle.

I took the video back to my mom in Birmingham the next day, and she watched it over and over, over and over, holding some of the roses from the bride's bouquet.

A week after I got back home to California, she passed away. So we all got to meet again.

There must be some species of magic in the kind of person who thinks in such detail, and with such caring, about everyone else's experience. Seven years have come and gone, and her husband still loves her. We all do.

Is there a name for this? What, the bride anti-zilla? I wonder if this would make it in syndication...
_________________________
Clef


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#1257286 - 08/27/09 03:18 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 710
Loc: Germany
Angel-bride, that's what I would call her. What a lovely story, and what a gracious young lady she must be. Thanks for telling us about Mary and Mimi. I love this.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1257432 - 08/27/09 07:23 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
Originally Posted By: Piano Girl RMG
I'm reminded of Jimmy Ciongoli, a pianist friend of my mine, who—when asked to play a Black Sabbath piece on the piano—looked the customer right in the eye and said, "What the fuck's wrong with you?"


Best. Response. From. Pianist. Ever.

For my own wedding, my little brother (age 11 and already a complete smartass) suggested that, instead of the Wedding March, it would be much more appropriate for me to come down the aisle to the strains of the Imperial March from Star Wars (Darth Vader's theme). My darling groom thought this was a spectacular idea. I can't believe the man has survived for the past 27 years. I was no bride-zilla, but this I did veto.
_________________________
Adult Amateur Pianist

My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.

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#1257808 - 08/28/09 10:51 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: ProdigalPianist]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 710
Loc: Germany
PP, you were absolutely no Bridezilla!

Jimmy Ciongoli might be the funniest pianist I've ever known. He worked with my dad for decades. He is now retired and living in Arizona, and arthritis has forced an end to his playing (he's about 80). But it makes me happy to know you appreciated that comment!
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1257819 - 08/28/09 10:59 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: apple*]
aEquals440 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/09/09
Posts: 47
Loc: Richmond, VA
What stories!
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www.PianoStuff.com ~~ T-Shirts and Gifts for Pianists!

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#1258424 - 08/29/09 09:36 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
i didn't realize there was a first page to this thread having bookmarked the 2nd. (lots of laughs)


I own a 10 yr old girl and dutifully watch girlmovies with her. This might have slipped under your radar Robyn but it's right definitely on topic. it is a sequal to the Prince and Me, a delightful story where a doctor wannabe from a Wisconsin Farm meets the Prince of Belgium and they fall in love.

The royal wedding, the sequel, is a blast... a royal cousin (what a shrew she is, tries to sabatoge their weddin and steal the prince.. lots of shenanigans including the bride wannabe falling into the mud.

they are actually pretty good movies if you are female. (the prince is absoLUTEly adorable)



Edited by apple* (08/29/09 03:36 PM)
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1258501 - 08/29/09 12:15 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: apple*]
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3916
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
Originally Posted By: apple*


...I've been trying to drum up business for the organ forum to absolutely no avail....


I see your problem. Mismatched instruments. You should organize business for the organ forum, and drum up business for the drum forum. Let me know how it works.
_________________________
There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

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#1259216 - 08/30/09 07:16 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Palindrome]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
oh stop

ORGANize.. crazy


Edited by apple* (08/30/09 10:14 PM)
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#1259471 - 08/31/09 07:12 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: apple*]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 710
Loc: Germany
Interesting weekend at the castle. On Saturday night we had a 50th wedding anniversary party going on at the same time as a wedding reception, which left me feeling like I was playing on a loop. The 50th anniversary party seemed like it was way more fun, although credit where credit is due—the young bride was a stunner.

So nothing really to report. This may well mean that the wedding season is grinding to a halt--for some reason the brides of summer are always a little nuttier than the ones who marry in the off season.

Next year, I swear I am going to take pictures of all the brides.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1259845 - 08/31/09 05:53 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Elssa Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/05
Posts: 1598
Loc: NY
Quote:
And I note you didn't include the Hokey Pokey.

Well, that's a little too corny for my taste, but the "bunny hop" is just cute IMO. laugh BTW, speaking of dancing, my cousin's daughter just got married.. The bride and groom are both professional dance instructors (all types - ballet, modern, etc). At the reception, instead of the traditional slow waltz/dance together, they did their own thing. She changed into a gorgeous, flowing "Jeannie"- type outfit and danced a beautiful exotic style belly dance for all the guests. grin


Edited by Elssa (08/31/09 06:03 PM)

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#1261661 - 09/03/09 09:51 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Elssa]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 710
Loc: Germany
Well there you go. Why wait for the groom to hire a belly dancer when the bride can do it herself?

Belly dancers are very popular at German weddings, but I don't recall running into that type of post nuptial entertainment stateside.

We had a wedding last summer that featured ALPHORN players out in the driveway as the happy couple pulled up to the castle in a horse-drawn carriage. I loved that. The band uniforms were beyond fabulous: Lederhosen, little felt caps with feathers, suspenders, the whole routine. Moments like this always remind me that I'm in a foreign country.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1264636 - 09/08/09 01:55 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 710
Loc: Germany
Castle update: The weekend was a blurrrrrr due to Goldsby family members participating in way too many events, but the Saturday night castle wedding was remarkable for a nice reason.

When I first started playing at the castle, back in 2001, I met a lovely sixteen year old girl who came to the castle every month with her family for Sunday lunch. I watched her go from gawky teenager to lovely young woman. She was Saturday's bride. I'm the mother of two teenage kids—one of whom is in South Africa on an exchange program—and this hit home to me, big time. Kids grow up and then they put on a poofy white dress and walk away. I spent most of the evening feeling a little weepy.

On the other hand (I say that too much—I think it's a phrase that comes naturally to pianists) I was happy to be the one to play the bride into her married life.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1264657 - 09/08/09 02:33 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
gdguarino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 317
Loc: New York City
I went to a wedding in Rochester, New York back in May. The bride was the daughter of one of my cousins. I have 19 cousins and most of them have kids. I don't know most of their children very well, but I have seen this one at family gatherings once or twice a year for her whole life. I have even met her fiance/husband a few times.

They had one of the nicest weddings I can remember: ceremony outdoors in an orchard, reception in the (very old, very clean) barn and all over the grounds. They had two bands, a bluegrass quartet outside and a western swing band inside. The food included fruits and vegetables grown on the grounds and was served by the middle aged women who had prepared it. The whole event was much more personal than most; there was nothing boilerplate about it. It reflected the tastes and interests of the bride and groom.

I have a 14 year old daughter. At some point during the ceremony it all of a sudden came to me: "She (my cousin's daughter) is OK. She's grown up. She can take care of herself. She's marrying a good guy, she's got a career, she's even interesting. She's made it to what every parent has to hope for for their children.

That got me a little choked up myself. I don't imagine the worry ever completely goes away, but with a 14-year-old, one of the bumpier parts of the ride is just beginning. I hope the next few years don't go by too quickly (they will, of course), but I hope to someday have that same feeling about my own daughter's adult life as I did at that wedding.
_________________________
Greg Guarino

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#1264663 - 09/08/09 02:39 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: gdguarino]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 710
Loc: Germany
Yes, Greg! My children are 16 and 13, so I hear you. Thank you for putting the way I'm feeling into such beautiful words.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1264737 - 09/08/09 04:47 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
gdguarino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 317
Loc: New York City
Our band played at a wedding over the weekend and I played the ceremony for the first time in a couple of years. My description of how qualified I am for that task (barely) is further up in this thread.

I'm known for getting to the gig last, especially when it's a place I've been to many times. There's sometimes a good hour and a half between the drummer's arrival and mine. As I had the ceremony to play, an hour before the reception, we got there at about the same time.

I was still plenty early though, and thanks to my proximity to the "Bride's Room", I got to see and hear some of the last minute semi-frantic prep work that occurs in the final minutes before a wedding ceremony. It was a little like the bride's 20 friends attending to a zit in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding".

Judging by the bits of animated conversation that I heard, the bride's dress was loose, her veil wasn't straight and her hair, was, well, hair, rather than a static sculpture, and thus had problems. There was also some sort of make-up debacle that I simply do not have the proper expertise or vocabulary to describe. She looked fine to me (the same, in fact), both before and after the repairs. Men are like that.

A nervous, distracted-looking fellow in a morning suit came up to me at one point, introducing himself as the groom. "You don't say?", I answered.

These were very nice people. The father of the bride thanked me and complemented me more than my meager ceremony performance could ever have warranted. So it is only because I simply cannot help myself that I relate the following.

This was the bride's third wedding, but was otherwise indistinguishable from anyone else's first. Here's the kicker: Our band also played at her second wedding. There was some talk around the band/photographer/video dinner table about this. "Take this punch card, the fourth party is 50% off", stuff like that. There are precious few unexplored humor opportunities among a bunch of musicians who see each other as often as we do. "What's another eternity in Hell?", as our bass player is fond of saying.

The bride's daughter, a girl of 10 or 11, asked us to play "Brown-Eyed Girl" so she could dance with the groom. We did, and they did. She looked happy. They obviously get along, which is a great thing to see. The father of the bride, a man of unadorned speech, spent several sentences saying how proud he was of his daughter and how happy he was to welcome the groom into his family.

I wish them all the luck.


Edited by gdguarino (09/08/09 04:50 PM)
_________________________
Greg Guarino

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#1265231 - 09/09/09 11:36 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: gdguarino]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4441
Loc: San Jose, CA
"...The father of the bride, a man of unadorned speech, spent several sentences..."

I've recognized it, Guardino. Those dry, yet rich witticisms. I'm just now reading Mark Twain's Innocents Abroad, in the hope of giving my brain just a measure or two of rest, without letting it stop; who knows if I'll be able to get it to turn over again.

It's not a music-related book, and has no truck at all with weddings, but he would have appreciated both you and Robin as writers.

There was a time when people would have guffawed into their sleeves if they spied certain brides wearing a white dress, but by the time a lady's child is old enough to dance with the new groom, I guess the fuss has had plenty of time to die down. After all, it's not the fifties anymore and we don't have to feel embarrassed about having sex anymore... just about having bad sex.

Dorothy Parker could have made something of the wedding biz of her time--- in fact, she may have, if I would only read further. I made the mistake of buying an edition of her collected works in a secondhand bookstore. The print is quite small, and I've set it aside for now and may look for something more suitable for persons over fifty.

Two of the great humorists, or ironicists (if that's a word, and no I'm not going to look it up in that heavy dictionary). So you're keeping pretty good company.
_________________________
Clef


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#1265548 - 09/09/09 09:35 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
gdguarino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 317
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Jeff Clef
"...The father of the bride, a man of unadorned speech, spent several sentences..."

I've recognized it, Guardino. Those dry, yet rich witticisms.

I do try, but in this case the father, no speaker by any measure, said exactly what you'd want your dad, or your new father-in-law, to say at your wedding, especially if it was your third. He seemed like a good guy.
Quote:
I'm just now reading Mark Twain's Innocents Abroad, in the hope of giving my brain just a measure or two of rest, without letting it stop; who knows if I'll be able to get it to turn over again.
That's a very entertaining book, an account of a pleasure cruise when the very idea was brand new. Better yet, Twain managed to connive a way to get paid to be on it.
Quote:

It's not a music-related book, and has no truck at all with weddings, but he would have appreciated both you and Robin as writers.

I think Twain would have called that one a "stretcher", at least in my case. I've discovered in my later years that I can turn out a page or two of reasonable entertainment - an unexpected turn of events for a guy who never enjoyed writing in college - but I think more than that is required to be called a real writer. I'm glad someone enjoys what I write. Thanks for the compliment.
Quote:

There was a time when people would have guffawed into their sleeves if they spied certain brides wearing a white dress, but by the time a lady's child is old enough to dance with the new groom, I guess the fuss has had plenty of time to die down. After all, it's not the fifties anymore and we don't have to feel embarrassed about having sex anymore... just about having bad sex.
Leaving aside the nearly unavoidable humor about playing at two weddings for the same bride, I'm glad there's been some change in that area.
Quote:
Two of the great humorists, or ironicists (if that's a word, and no I'm not going to look it up in that heavy dictionary). So you're keeping pretty good company.

Again, thanks for the (too) kind words. By the way, one of the funniest pieces I've ever read is also by Twain, and may be of special interest to Robin, if she hasn't already read it: "The Awful German Language". It's an account of Twain's (apparently serious) study of German, written the way only he could.


Edited by gdguarino (09/09/09 09:37 PM)
_________________________
Greg Guarino

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#1265692 - 09/10/09 02:58 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: gdguarino]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 710
Loc: Germany
Jeff,

Thanks for the kind words! I feel privileged to work (and play) in a world that's colorful enough to provide good writing material. I'm sure Greg agrees with me. Even when the gig is bad, good words come out of it.

"In Germany, a sense of humor is no laughing matter." I'm paraphrasing, but that's one of the quotes that sticks in my mind from the Twain's account of learning German. Having been forced to learn German at the ripe age of 37, I can attest to the validity of his struggles.

Note: German humor is just different from our humor, but it does exist! Just not necessarily at weddings.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1265830 - 09/10/09 11:38 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4441
Loc: San Jose, CA
I don't know that it exists at our weddings either, Robin. I think people believe the venture is risky enough without tempting Fate.
_________________________
Clef


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#1269859 - 09/17/09 11:06 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4441
Loc: San Jose, CA
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...tml#Post1266661

This thread is from tuner/technicians' forum, and really isn't about wedding bands (except for some jewelry found inside the piano case). One or two items might have provided exhibits for divorce court, however:

"once i went to do a tuning job for an elderly widow. as always, she was "amazed" by how easily her piano came apart.. especially as i was taking the keys out to vacuum the key bed. anyways, there was a note in there and she excitedly opened it to find it a note written by her deceased husband to his lover!!

"yes, things became a little awkward"


There's a country music song in this... or an aria for an opera buffa. Or Steely Dan could have done something with it.
_________________________
Clef


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#1270880 - 09/19/09 03:30 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Jeff Clef]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 710
Loc: Germany
I vote for the Steely Dan version.

No wedding news to report—I fear the summer bride season is over. "The falling brides drift by my window . . . ."

I did, however, play a fabulous gig at the Gerling Villa in Cologne, Germany last night. 1965 Steinway B, with a custom burled wood interior. No wrong notes on this piano! Anyway, the job, aside from being for an over-the-top event, was pretty straight ahead, except for Cleopatra. About ten minutes into my first set, a woman in a Cleopatra costume began creeping across the room, making a beeline for the piano.

In a normal hotel situation I might have yelled for security (like that does any good), but this was a high-fallutin' shindig, and since I was perched in the middle of an art-filled salon, I figured that Cleo must be some kind of performance art. Correct assumption. She stood on a spinning platform (the size of a plate) next to the piano, struck a statue pose and rotated for 15 minutes. Gave me something to watch while I was playing, but then I had to stop because I suffer from motion sickness and watching her twirl around did a number on me.

Well. People drifted in and out of the room and stared at Cleo and listened to me and then went back to their foie gras and sushi and champagne.

In my second set, the same thing happened, this time with Cupid, a little disconcerting because Cupid had her bow pointed right at me every time she rotated in my direction.

I only played the two sets, then left just as a group called DIVA-LICIOUS was being introduced in another part of the villa. And so it goes.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1270980 - 09/19/09 10:52 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 710
Loc: Germany
PS: Jeff Clef, thank you so much for the link to the tech thread about junk left in pianos. There are some very funny posts there.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1271353 - 09/19/09 11:42 PM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
ShiroKuro Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3515
Loc: not in Japan anymore
Robin, am I correcting in understanding that for the gig, you weren't told about Cleo and Cupid in advance?

What is with organizers who keep key people out of the loop? I used to get asked to do workshops and participate in a variety of events when I lived in Japan, and it was always like pulling teeth trying to get organizers to fill me in in all the relevant details. Basically, I had to think of all possible scenarios and ask specific questions if I wanted to find anything out.

"So, will my presentation on multi-cultural awareness be followed by a snake charmer? Right, then I want to get off the stage quickly. Got it. Thanks for the heads up."
_________________________
Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u




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#1271399 - 09/20/09 03:27 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: ShiroKuro]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 710
Loc: Germany
Correct, Shirokuro, no advance warning! Here's the funny part, I even had an assistant assigned to me for the entire evening. He followed me around, helped with everything, made sure I got back to my car safely, etc. And he was very specific with instructions about how the evening would proceed—I had a print-out plan that looked like a NASA flight schedule. But he never mentioned Cleo and Cupid. There were all kinds of people running around there and I'm wondering if the models weren't part of another event planner's plans.

As I was leaving, I spotted Ceasar on the staircase.

As your story points out, you can never ask too many questions!
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

Top
#1271952 - 09/21/09 07:20 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
gdguarino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/07
Posts: 317
Loc: New York City
Our part-time band is having one of our "full-time" weeks, seven gigs in nine days. This usually only happens in the summer. The concentrated schedule increases the number of funny things that happen and, in my case, heightens my sensitivity to those gig oddities.

We were hired by a priest to play for his father's 80th birthday, and thus were prepared for a pretty rockin' evening. The average age among the guests required exponential notation. This is a challenge for us, as were are mostly known for Rock & Roll and R&B. Several of our members used to play weddings, so we awakened some rarely-used brain cells and stretched our repertoire of Standards to the limit.

There was the obligatory woman for whom anything louder than Victrola-level was an offense against God and nature. She made her objections known at intervals throughout the party, both verbally and through pantomime.

Two people came up to sing. You might now expect a treatise on pitch, but I have come instead to speak of Rhythm. Rhythm is not given to all in equal measure. We who can just "feel" the beat have apparently stolen more than our share, leaving the rest woefully underequipped.

A woman of a certain age asked to sing "At Last". It is quite common for amateurs to choose songs with truly great vocals. This makes for some pretty stark comparisons. They couldn't choose John Denver? But I digress. She was very nice and came over to me to work out a key beforehand. This is essential, by the way. Do not be tempted to believe a person who claims to sing a song in Bb. Try it first. We tried a few lines of the verse and bridge. She seemed comfortable in F. She had a soft quivery sort of voice and was reasonably on key.

She came up to sing in the next set. One of our singers "conducted" her into beginning the first line at something like the proper time, but after that it was off to the races. Amateurs frequently have trouble with pauses. One line ends, the next must begin. We end up playing in some odd eastern variable time signature approximating 13/8. By the end we had to lop off most of the last bar. Whoever finishes first wins.

I find this situation far more disconcerting than a singer who is off-pitch. That I can just grit my teeth and endure for a few minutes. A singer who leaves out a beat and a half every two measures twists the very fabric of the universe a little, especially when there are four or five musicians trying to adjust to her individually.

The priest then came up to sing a Standard. He not only had the same Rhythm teacher, but started the song without waiting for us, landing naturally, as our bass player would put it, "on the fret" between C and C#. He was more coachable though; with our singer doing exaggerated Conductor choreography off to the side, we all managed to finish the song together.

I talked to him afterward, telling him he did a nice job with he song. Rhythm deficiencies notwithstanding he did have a passable voice. I told him that next time (we are booked for a couple more functions at his parish) he should let us start him off with a chord, explaining that it's best that we all start in the same key. "I'm a man of faith", he quipped. I like that.

The night before we played an Oldies Dinner Dance, opening for a "name" act. The other band seemed like pretty nice guys, but one thing seemed really inexplicable. We were all setting up together, with their gear behind ours. Their guitarist arrived after I was pretty much set up. He placed his amp where he wanted it, then a look of confusion and worry formed on his face. His amp had a four-foot power cord and there was no outlet within a four-foot radius. He seemed truly perplexed by this, even though he had played with this group for a decade or two.

Our guitarist was having the identical conversation with their bass player on the other side of the stage. I can vaguely remember having this quandary myself, thirty-odd years ago. Shortly after that I discovered extension cords. Neither of these musicians said anything like, "Oops, I left my bag at home...". It's as if it had simply not occurred to them that there might not be an outlet set into the floor right under their gear. In my experience a convenient outlet is a rare miracle. How have these guys avoided that lesson? A guy from the hall found some extension cords for them (we were going to leave before they started playing).

We'll see what else happens as the week progresses.


Edited by gdguarino (09/21/09 10:10 AM)
_________________________
Greg Guarino

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#1272037 - 09/21/09 11:10 AM Re: Let's Talk Weddings [Re: gdguarino]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 710
Loc: Germany
OH yes, Greg, please keep us posted!

Your treatise on RHYTHM is priceless.

Old joke: How do you tell when a girl singer is at your front door? She doesn't know how to come in.

Brief excerpt from my book Piano Girl (advice given to me by my dad, when I was 18 and playing my very first gig):

Bob’s Excellent Rules for Success on a GIG:
1. Don’t drink on the job.
2. Don’t let the management push you around.
3. Always carry a roll of duct tape and an extension cord with you because with those two items you can solve virtually any problem.


Words to live by, although I confess to the occasional glass of champagne.

Looking forward to hearing about the rest of the week. Ask that Parish priest if he knows the Dilernia Brothers.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

Top
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