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Thread: Nothing like being forewarned!

  1. #1
    Captain of Water Music JONESEY's Avatar
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    Nothing like being forewarned!

    A few months ago I was asked if I would be on the Wedding rota - found out today that I am playing for a Wedding in 8 days!.
    No sign of hymns, music etc.

    Wondering what the best way to approach this is - I will be contacting the bride and groom, but is it acceptable to suggest that we stick to the 'traditional' music?

    Thanks for your advice

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    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Hi Jonesey,

    We've all been caught up in this scenario at one time or another, and the best advice I could give is that given the lack of preparation time, it would be quite acceptable for you to stick to the "standard fare" for music.

    The bride and groom, should they have wanted something very "special", should have let you know well in advance as a common courtesy. Unfortunately, many couples getting married believe that we organists are "magicians" and can pull out any piece from the hat and play anything regardless if we have the music in our repertoire or not, let alone even owning the pieces!

    You should only play what you feel comfortable with doing this late in the game. My 5 cents worth, anyway.
    Kh ~~.
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  3. #3
    Captain of Water Music JONESEY's Avatar
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    Thanks Kh, your advice is most welcome.

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    Hi Jonesey,

    I take the same line as Krummhorn here. It's purely practical, and I'll walk away and decline to play for them rather than putting myself in a compromised position (musically speaking)...

    4+ months notice, fine, 2 minutes - you take what I've got... (I say it nicely of course... )

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    Captain of Water Music jvhldb's Avatar
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    I got 3 weeks noticeto play a 30 minute prelude consisting of various love songs, learn the Wedding march (Mendelsohn), two hymns and accompany somebody that was supposed to sing during the signing of the register. I told the bride she was crazy and to buy a CD player, my mother told me not to talk to my sister that way and to start practising.

    I do hope you have better luck with the wedding couples you get.
    Johan van Heerden

  6. #6
    Commander, Assistant Conductor
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    Hi Everybody!

    I sympathise with jvhldb and all the other organists who get caught in this circus. I know priests and song leaders who are irritated with me because I ask for 3 days' notice on the hymns, especially if there are six hymns with no accompianment except guitar chords. They just can't grasp that I don't like to practise for twelve hours on Saturday, but would rather distribute those hours over 3 days. Are organists the only people who think ahead more that one day at a time?

    LlL

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    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    jvhldb ... mothers are wonderful creatures, aren't they? I can just imagine mine (except he passed away four years ago) saying exactly that very thing!!

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    Captain of Water Music JONESEY's Avatar
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    Well, I'm meeting everyone tomorrow so they can pick the hymns etc, so I'll 'gently' guide them into some good choices I think.
    As for in and out, it's the standard fare - they've already agreed to that.

    I played for Evensong last night, so went a couple of hours early and got some decent time on the organ when the church was empty.

    Another quick question (sorry!!) ... how long do you normally play for before the service - 30 mins?, less or more?

    Thanks!

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    Normally about 15-20 mins (or longer if the Bride is late. - I have backup lists of music for such eventualities. ) There aren't usually people in before that so why play to an empty building or just the staffers who've heard it all before anyway...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jvhldb View Post
    I got 3 weeks noticeto play a 30 minute prelude consisting of various love songs, learn the Wedding march (Mendelsohn), two hymns and accompany somebody that was supposed to sing during the signing of the register. I told the bride she was crazy and to buy a CD player, my mother told me not to talk to my sister that way and to start practising.

    I do hope you have better luck with the wedding couples you get.
    You have my sympathies - emotions always tend to run a little too high and when it's your family it is much harder to say No!...

  11. #11
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JONESEY View Post
    . . . . . Another quick question (sorry!!) ... how long do you normally play for before the service - 30 mins?, less or more?

    Thanks!
    I begin to play when the first guest arrives. For some, this may be their first (and only time) entering a church, which may be somewhat intimidating, given all the polished brass fixtures, fancy linens on an altar, etc. Music has a way of calming the soul, so I'm just doing my part to make the guest feel welcome.

    Although I traditionally play 20 to 30 minutes at the most, however, I have enough available repertoire where I can play for 90 minutes without any repeats. I had one instance years ago where the groom was one hour late in arriving at the church ... I had played my selections 4 times by then and was starting the 5th round ... from that point on I go prepared with 90 minutes just in case.
    Kh ~~.
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  12. #12
    Captain of Water Music JONESEY's Avatar
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    90 mins without repeats?, that's very impressive.
    Due to the short notice and the fact I'm not yet one of the regular organists (I've played there off an on for 15 years, but am not on the monthly rota yet, very small Church and 3 organists) my repertoire is somewhat shorter than yours!.
    I'm aiming for 30 mins without any repeats.

    Here's looking forward to tonight, meeting the couple and getting the hymns sorted out.

  13. #13
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Hi Jonesey,

    I'm certain 30 mins of prepared selections will do nicely in your situation.
    Here's to you on a successful meeting with the bride & groom this evening .
    Kh ~~.
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    Amateur musicians practice until they get it right ...
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    fessional musicians practice until they can't get it wrong ...


  14. #14
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    I have about an hour's worth of music available, but rarely use much more than about 20 mins.

    Anyway - Good luck meeting the couple this evening.

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    Captain of Water Music C5Says's Avatar
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    If you run out of music, maybe you can invent! Most long-time musicians, whatever their instrument, know how to pattern. There are certain keys that naturally blend together. You may be able to perform a great composition without being able to repeat it...unless maybe it's recorded for rewinding so you can trackback what you did. And since it's a wedding, a slow, sweet, romantic music may be on its way to the top requested for download.
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