Yesterday I played for a wedding at The Bingham Hotel in Richmond. It’s the second time I’ve played at this venue – last year I played here for a 50th party. The venue’s biggest asset is the fact that it backs on to a beautiful part of the river Thames.
This wedding was a same sex marriage and, although it’s the fourth same sex marriage that I’ve played for, I noticed the very clever wording of the vows: every time “husband and wife” would normally be used, they instead used the phrase “partners for life” so as to keep the same metre and rhyme – very clever.
The song choices were:
Aisle walk: So Amazing (Lional Ritchie)
Signing of the register: Here Comes The Sun (George Harrison)
Recessional: Better Together (Jack Johnson)
Al together a very nice evening by the river.
On Saturday I played at a beautiful church n the West Country – All Saints church, All Cannings, Devizes, in Wiltshire to be precise.
I played Pachelbel’s Canon in D for the Bride’s aisle walk followed by Schubert’s Ave Maria for the signng of he register and Handels’ The Queen Of Sheba for the recessional.
The reception was then held at the local cricket club in a marquee and I played outside as the weather was fantastic. Here I played a selection of pieces from my contemporary repertoire plus an impromptu rendition of Happy Birthday for the vicar with a “The Wedding Guest Choir”. I’m asked to play Happy Birthday quite often with people singing along and so it occurred to me on Saturday that a good way to segue back into my set from this would be to play an instrumental version of Stevie Wonder’s Happy Birthday To You…. So I have spent all of Sunday arranging this for solo guitar and now have it in my repertoire!
West Country Wedding
On Sunday I played for a Humanist wedding at Hedingham Castle in Essex. The Bride was English and the Groom Spanish. They had heard me play in Seville where they live and asked if I would be in England on their wedding date. When I said yes they booked me on the spot.
Hedingham Castle is one of the most beautiful castles I have played in. It is a Norman motte and bailey castle with a traditional stone keep. It is really authentic and has been kept in perfect condition. It also has fantastic acoustics for solo guitar.
The Bride specifically requested two songs for the ceremony: Guajiras de Lucía by Paco de Lucía and Herencia Latina by Paco Peña – two difficult pieces by very well-known and respected Spanish flamenco guitarists. These were played as concert pieces rather than to accompany a section of the ceremony.
The reception was then held at the country pub at the end of the entrance driveway to the castle (I’m afraid I cannot remember the name). Here I played from my repertoire as well as playing some traditional Sevillanas dances from Seville so the Groom’s family could get up and have a good old Spanish Fiesta in the middle of the rolling Essex countryside.
On Thursday evening I played for the function (annual party I think) of a major British boat and yacht making company. The party was at Richard Branson’s Roof Gardens in Kensington. The Roof Gardens are quite breathtaking. It is quite something to walk off the busy high high street, go up an elevator and find yourself in a tranquil garden with flamingos dotting about freely. Yes that’s right, Flamingos! there are four of them, affectionately given the names Bill, Ben, Splosh and Pecks. Bill and Ben have been in residence since the 1970s while relative newbies Splosh and Pecks didn’t move in until 2008 according to the manager who took me on a tour before I set up my equipment.
The gardens are 75 years old (and have belonged to Virgin for 30 years) and were designed by The Gardens were originally designed by Ralph Hancock, at the time a well-known architect, whose legacy is acknowledged with a plaque you can see on the wall in the southwest corner of the English Woodland garden over the red bridge.
There are three themed gardens sprawling over 1.5 acres including fully grown oaks and fruit trees, growing in just 1.5m of soil, and a flowing stream stocked with fish and wildlife. One of these themed gardens is a Spanish garden and this is where I played. I performed mainly Spanish repertoire for this function as it fitted the surroundings perfectly.
I will be back at the gardens during the summer when they celebrate their 75th birthday with various different events. They are even introducing two more new flamingos to the gardens to keep Bill, Ben, Splosh and Pecks company!