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Wedding Music (3)


Peter Clark
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OK, here's a conversation we've all had far too often:

 

Future Bride: I won't be needing you at my wedding because my Auntie Mary is going to play the organ.

Self: Oh, does she play the organ? Where does she play?

FB: Well she plays the piano. Same thing isn't it?

S: About the same as driving a car is compared to piloting a 747. Well I suppose you'd better bring her along to see the organ.

 

Three weeks later....

 

Auntie Mary: Hello. Sally says I can pay the organ at her wedding.

Self: Well you had better come and see it then. Here we are.

Auntie Mary: What are those things? (pointing)

Self: We call them pedals.

Auntie Mary: Oh I don't think I'll need those....

Self: Well have a try anyway. (Auntie Mary sits at the console and I pull out a couple of Swell stops so Auntie Mary starts to play "Evergreen" on the Great)

Auntie Mary: Ooo. Is it broken? I can't here anything.(I direct Antrier Mary to the Great. She starts to play. )It's still not working properly. The sounds are all late.

Self: No, that's the time-lag. You are down here. The pipes are up there. It takes time for the sound to travel from there to you. Are you sure you'll be OK with this?

Auntie Mary: Oh I'll pick it up. Just give me half an hour.......

 

 

 

And all this before the vexed problem of the non-attendance fee. Come the big day, of course, family gatrher rouind her as she plays an increasingly slow Wedding March and proclaim her as the next Gilliam Weir.

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Guest Cynic
OK, here's a conversation we've all had far too often:

 

Future Bride: I won't be needing you at my wedding because my Auntie Mary is going to play the organ.

Self: Oh, does she play the organ? Where does she play?

FB: Well she plays the piano. Same thing isn't it?

S: About the same as driving a car is compared to piloting a 747. Well I suppose you'd better bring her along to see the organ.

 

Three weeks later....

 

Auntie Mary: Hello. Sally says I can pay the organ at her wedding.

Self: Well you had better come and see it then. Here we are.

Auntie Mary: What are those things? (pointing)

Self: We call them pedals.

Auntie Mary: Oh I don't think I'll need those....

Self: Well have a try anyway. (Auntie Mary sits at the console and I pull out a couple of Swell stops so Auntie Mary starts to play "Evergreen" on the Great)

Auntie Mary: Ooo. Is it broken? I can't here anything.(I direct Antrier Mary to the Great. She starts to play. )It's still not working properly. The sounds are all late.

Self: No, that's the time-lag. You are down here. The pipes are up there. It takes time for the sound to travel from there to you. Are you sure you'll be OK with this?

Auntie Mary: Oh I'll pick it up. Just give me half an hour.......

And all this before the vexed problem of the non-attendance fee. Come the big day, of course, family gatrher rouind her as she plays an increasingly slow Wedding March and proclaim her as the next Gilliam Weir.

 

 

Ah....innocence!

Bless.

 

 

[Thinks: What would happen when the family go out for a meal? Would they decline the professional services of a trained chef? Perhaps they would urge Aunty Mary to go into the kitchen instead. They can eat one of their favourite meals to her own inimitable standard and save the money!]

 

I too have had occasions where someone else has been brought in to play. I'm sure we all have. Sometimes the reasons are not musical at all, they are emotional or political. Even if the playing's rubbish, it may be that for years Aunty Mary has been saying, 'when the happy couple finally tie the knot, my contribution will be to provide the music'. Will the 'congregation' know any different? I'm awfully afraid (and no offence to you) they probably won't. The great unchurched are unlikely to recognise anything as being below standard in that service - short of the vicar coming in with no clothes on.

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Guest Andrew Butler

I had a call a few years ago, from our priest at that time, to say that the "Family Member Organist" for an impending wedding had come to practice, and wanted a word with me. He put her on the line: "Oh, hi, I can't find the "rhythm section"............ :)

 

Honest - it happened!

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Guest Lee Blick
I had a call a few years ago, from our priest at that time, to say that the "Family Member Organist" for an impending wedding had come to practice, and wanted a word with me. He put her on the line: "Oh, hi, I can't find the "rhythm section"............ :)

 

Honest - it happened!

 

:lol: Where's the Leslie...

 

I never let anyone else play the organ for weddings unless they are a competent organist, 'pre-auditioned'. I direct pianists to the piano....and most importantly, ensure I get the usual fee as if I was playing. After all they are (or were) on my 'patch'.

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I'm far more mercenary. As long as I get the fee and the afternoon on the golf course, they can do what they like!

 

One wedding I did play at a few years ago brought a whole Welsh Male Voice Choir up from the valleys (something to do with the mother's heritage). So I was told they would like to sing something during the signing of the register. "Long way to come just for that" I thought. Anyway, the signing lasted 40 minutes as we were regaled with a full first-half of a concert. I was rather distracted by the mutterings coming from the quire vestry which had long-since filled up with impatient parents waiting to pick up their kids who had gamely turned out for the "home team"...

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Guest Barry Williams
Ah....innocence!

Bless.

[Thinks: What would happen when the family go out for a meal? Would they decline the professional services of a trained chef? Perhaps they would urge Aunty Mary to go into the kitchen instead. They can eat one of their favourite meals to her own inimitable standard and save the money!]

 

I too have had occasions where someone else has been brought in to play. I'm sure we all have. Sometimes the reasons are not musical at all, they are emotional or political. Even if the playing's rubbish, it may be that for years Aunty Mary has been saying, 'when the happy couple finally tie the knot, my contribution will be to provide the music'. Will the 'congregation' know any different? I'm awfully afraid (and no offence to you) they probably won't. The great unchurched are unlikely to recognise anything as being below standard in that service - short of the vicar coming in with no clothes on.

 

 

I have been to weddings as a guest and winced as organists have struggled with Widor's Toccata, (never an easy piece and rarely played in steady time,) the Finales from Vierne's First and Sixth Symphonies, (again not easy,) and messed up the Sinfonia from Bach Cantata No 29, etc - all pieces on the popular Wedding CDs. Anyone taking a fee for playing at a wedding should be able to play the chosen music well - or leave it to someone who can.

 

Barry Williams

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I have been to weddings as a guest and winced as organists have struggled with the Finale from Vierne's Sixth Symphony

 

Barry Williams

Surely they shouldn't be even considering playing this unless they are FRCO standard, especially with those crazy pedal scales towards the end!

 

Incidentally has anyone had a family bring along a guest player who is a cathedral organist or equivalent?

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Incidentally has anyone had a family bring along a guest player who is a cathedral organist or equivalent?

When my brother in law got married he brought along Colin Walsh. I played the voluntaries (BWV 552 Prelude and 540) and conducted the choir; Colin accompanied the service. (This division of labour was the groom's decision, by the way.) Mind you, the whole lot of us were visitors; the resident organist was given the day off.

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Surely they shouldn't be even considering playing this unless they are FRCO standard, especially with those crazy pedal scales towards the end!

 

Incidentally has anyone had a family bring along a guest player who is a cathedral organist or equivalent?

 

 

======================

 

Close!

 

I was once invited to play for a society-wedding, and they wanted good music. Thus, they trolled around, hit bargain basement and called me, but when I agreed, I had not realised that they had also invited a choir: the conductor of which was a cathedral-organist, and the accompanist of which was the assistant cathedral organist.

 

Consequently, all three of us shared the pre-nuptial voluntaries whilst turning the pages and drawing stops for each other, in a fit of quiet giggles ouf of sight, after which I played the hymns, the accompanist accompanied the choir, the cathedral organist flapped his arms about and, critically, in which the wedding-march and the Widor Toccata was performed by THREE organists grinning like the Cheshire Cat.

 

How was this done, you may ask?

 

I think we did it for a bit of a dare, because I played the opening fanfare motive on the Tuba, the assistant played the remainder of the Wedding March, and the conductor/cathedral organist started off the Widor at a terrifying pace!

 

When the Widor switched to another manual the cathedral organist slipped off the bench, I slid onto it, waiting for the rabbit and the trap to open, like a well honed greyhound.

 

The final chord saw the organ grow a Swell Sub-Octave to Great and a Positif Octave to Great, with 5 hands pressing the keys! The church by then deserted, we fell about laughing afterwards.

 

After that we went to the pub and had lunch; spending some of our ill-earned gains, pondering the absuridty of it all and the fact that we had earned quite a bit of cash at a combined hourly rate more normally associated with the Chairman of ICI.

 

It was a case of "Three in one and one in three; do our bit and grab the fee!"

 

Quite memorable!

 

:rolleyes:

 

MM

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Surely they shouldn't be even considering playing this unless they are FRCO standard, especially with those crazy pedal scales towards the end!

 

Incidentally has anyone had a family bring along a guest player who is a cathedral organist or equivalent?

 

Sort of - I sang at a friend's (Adrian Bawtree, another very good organist) wedding, who had Andy Lumsden playing. Andy did improvisations in a French style on Rhubarb & Custard before the service... I then had Adrian Bawtree play for my wedding - no big organ works, though, bits of the Monteverdi vespers instead!

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