Musicians have the very best vantage point. September 01 2013
Have you noticed that when events are tightly controlled, and people are expected to be at their very best, and are nervous about doing so, the most hilarious things happen?
As a musician I have been in many occasions that call for just that. I have been part of the actual situation, as in a concert or recital; or I have been in a more observational vantage point, as in events like Weddings, Christenings, Funerals, Art Openings, corporate events, and once, the ceremony in which a woman was made a full Army Colonel
Today I am reflecting back upon the time in my career during which I would play upwards of 60 weddings a year. In addition to being very labor intensive in the planning stages, there were many hilarious or ironic situations that could come up at any point in the process.
Even early in the process. Like the time a groom asked us to play Rite of Spring for Flute and Guitar.
Let me share one of my all time favorites ceremony stories,
This happened in Southern Delaware, where weddings are a very big deal indeed. The actual ceremony took place in a beautiful historic chapel. It was the autumn, just getting chilly, so everyone was in long sleeves, including the bride. Hers were satin.
The wedding party enjoyed champagne on the way to the chapel.
My harpist and I were playing the Prelude music, and kept going and going, well past the intended ceremony start, until the wedding planner gave the signal to begin the Processional. All happened as planned. The Mothers entered looking lovely, the handsome Groomsmen lined up appropriately, the brides maids processed beautifully, and the Father and the Bride came up to their places in front of the church. The bride was a bit wobbly, but that happens.
Until she fainted. Dead away. Down into the center of her hooped satin gown. As her frantic father and equally frantic intended husband tried to get a grip on her satin covered arms, she melted further into the hoops. Finally, in a last ditch attempt, they turned her on her side, where upon the hoops did what hoops do: they retained their hoopy state, and the poor bride was more exposed than she ever had dreamed she would be.
Oh-we kept playing background music as I tried my hardest not to laugh. You cannot laugh and play the flute. I know-I've tried-it does not work.
The bride was escorted to the sacristy, and a little while later came back to the ceremony and was duly married, pale, but otherwise unharmed.
None of us who were at that wedding will ever forget that event.
I am not the only one with a limitless supply of funny stories. Please share yours, and we can all enjoy these moments when all the planning in the world does not work at all.