Epic, Beautiful and Unique: Our August 6th Wedding

“Epic” was the word that my August 6th bride kept using as she described the vision for music at her beautiful evening vineyard wedding. It was such a treat to collaborate with Claire because she communicated her ideas and then trusted me with them enough to allow me to make artistic decisions that I knew would achieve her goal.

Our ensemble was comprised of string quartet to which I suggested Claire add vocals and percussion for a few of the numbers.  The following are the live recordings I made at the ceremony:

Seating of Family–August 6th

Processional August 6th

Bride’s Procession August 6th

Recessional August 6th

Our quartet was comprised of:

Violins:  Wendy Goodwin & Noelle Sisk
Viola:  Nelly Kovalev
Cello:  Ashley Peck

Our beautiful vocalist was Bethany Cibolski and we were delighted to have the creativity and energy of Mr. Martin Zarzar of Pink Martini for our percussionist.

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To better accommodate the different needs of different weddings, we offer 3 different types of song selection options– Basic, Premier and Effesenden.  This wedding was our Premier option and included up to 6 new songs that we arranged specifically for the wedding day plus complete control over the playlist from our current repertoire.

Claire chose to begin her preceremony cocktail hour with classical selections such as Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring and Ave Maria but she spiced things up by taking my suggestion of a few tangos.  Since the wedding had such a cosmopolitan feel to me, I thought that the Tangos would really give a great energy intermixed with the elegance of the more traditional classical selections.

After about a half hour of playing, we moved down to the venue’s lawn where we played Pachelbel’s Canon and a song from the PGA Golf tour called Augusta that is apparently one of the groom’s favorites.  Canon was meant to draw guests towards the ceremony since it is such an iconic wedding song.

Here is our recording of Canon in D from the wedding.

For the seating of the mothers, we played “Vide Cor Meum” from the movie Kingdom of Heaven and Hannibal. Bethany’s beautiful vocals soared over the string lines.  We used just a bit of amplification to give her some reverb since outdoor weddings don’t really offer much in the way of acoustic response.  It was reverent and beautiful.

Our next piece was one that I am an absolute sucker for…I have always wanted to do this one at an Effesenden wedding and when I finally go the chance, I really went for it with the arrangement–” The Kiss” from the Last of the Mohicans could not have been more dramatic and beautiful and special.  I loved the effect of starting with 1 violin and growing and growing until the processional was nearly done when we faded back down to just the lone violin as the children processed down the aisle.

The bride’s entrance song was new to me– “Now We Are Free” from the movie Gladiator.  It is such a cool song. . . and Bethany had the added challenge of figuring out how to sing in a nonsensical language that was used in the writing of the song.  The processional was long.  Instead of rushing down the aisle like so often is the case, Claire knew what part of the song she wanted to enter in and we planned ahead.  She stood at the top of the stairs and waited until the moment before beginning her walk.  While some might feel that the wait was not a good idea in a processional, I really thought it was a wonderful way to soak in the moment.

Our society is SO fast paced… maybe we should be just pausing now and then for 2 minutes to listen to a song and watch a beautiful woman illuminated by smiles and late afternoon summer sunshine have her moment!

During the ceremony, we provided some background music for a sand ceremony and I played with two of the bride’s friends as they performed Eddie Vedder’s amazingly romantic “Longing to Belong.”  For the recessional, we got our “Brit pop on” with “Starlight” by the band Muse.  It was fun, upbeat… and I loved arranging this one and hearing the lyrics “Starlight, I will be chasing this starlight until the end of my life…” even though we played it instrumentally, I always love seeing what the lyrics are to a song and they often effect how I voice things.

After the recessional, our quartet moved back up to the patio and played entirely pop music ranging from Adele to U2, Coldplay, Beatles and Kings of Leon.  It was so awesome to be able to play so many different types of music and to work with such great musicians!

I will glow from the fun of being a part of Claire and Jeff’s day for a long time and wish them every happiness!

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