I played an interesting wedding yesterday. Actually a blessing since the couple married earlier this year due to immigration convenience.
I liked the fact that the husband of the couple, a prof at the local seminary, did an entire bilingual bulletin in German and English. The wife is German. There were many people from Germany there. A small portion of the service was said in German. This included alternate prayers in the prayers of the people. The Lord’s prayer was “lined” out for us by a native speaker of German. The husband had memorized his vows to deliver in German to his German wife. She in turned said her vows to him in English. Kind of cool.
I also liked the fact that this couple chose to use the new same-sex blessings of a union that the Episcopal church has developed. My brother was involved with the development of this rite and I’m proud of him and it. Judging from yesterday’s ceremony which was entirely drawn from this work (as I understand it) the new blessings are pretty cool.
Finally I liked playing a wedding for people (especially the husband) appreciate organ music. I guess I usually assume that people don’t like organ music. It’s hard to be an evangelist for good music on a bad organ but I give it a weekly try. But yesterday I felt that my prelude music was appreciated in a way I don’t usually feel. I anticipated the situation and scheduled some real organ music: Prelude and Fugue in C major BWV 545 and In Dir ist Freude from the Orgelbüchlein, both by Bach.
I had prepared a Virgil Fox transcription of a movement of a Bach Cantata based on “Now Thank We All Our God,” but didn’t end up using it.
The wedding party was practicing in church up until about 15 minutes or so before the ceremony, so I didn’t have as much time for the prelude as I sometimes do.
I also prepared two movements (only one of which I ended up performing) from a delightful piano sonata by Haydn. The son of the husband played a Bach piece on the piano as part of the prelude. He was flustered but did a pretty good job after he got going. It’s tough to perform in those circumstances.
It was unusual to feel like the music I was playing was being closely listened to (it was quieter than usual during the prelude even though the energy was high and positive as it can be at a wedding).
The postlude (after the walking out music) was a request from the husband, Widor’s toccata.
They held up the group picture scheduled for afterwards while the husband and a few others stood and listened to this entire piece. It’s a popular one and is sometimes asked for. I find that it’s an exercise in concentration for this old guy. I only lost my concentration once yesterday, but got it back pretty quickly.
A little footnote: I noticed yesterday that two (relatively) young musicians that I have previously asked to perform with me had shows in Holland Michigan at the same time last night: Johnathon Fegel was giving one at Park Theater
and John Adams one at LemonJellos.
It’s kind of odd to be out of the loop with these kinds of musicians as well as most local academic musicians. With these two guys I just kind drifted out of their general radar, although I felt like if I wanted to I could probably play with John Adams since he is living in Washington State now and put out a call on Facebook for any Holland musicians who might be interested in playing on his concert last night.
I hope their shows went as well as my wedding.