What's a musician to do when there is an electrical problem for a wedding ceremony?
Several weeks ago I wrote two 'Saved the Day' Wedding Stories that were recently shared at the Central Minnesota Wedding Association's Award Banquet. The 'XO' eXtraOrdinary Award was given to the 3 top stories submitted by its members. The stories were judged on how a member of the Central Minnesota Wedding Association 'saved the day' for a couple that had hired them. The 3 stories that won were written about Larry Rowe at Impressions Mobile Music and Paige Meier at Carlos Creek Winery whose stories I shared earlier. Today I am excited to share my story -- Sharon Planer at Pianist for Parties.
I put a lot of extra work and did some quick troubleshooting to make Andy and Nick's wedding music happen.
I was delighted when Andy and Nick hired me as their wedding pianist. They had fun personalities and were excited to finally be able to marry in Minnesota! They had been very active in promoting the GLTB cause for many years and could hardly believe that the time had finally come for them to be able to be wed.
I met with Andy and Nick to plan their music. They were such a great couple. I learned that Andy and Nick not only wanted a pianist but also a violinist. They wanted most of the music to be performed as piano/violin duos. Nick was a former school band instructor and had special songs he really wanted for the wedding...and wanted those songs performed as piano/violin duos. There was no printed sheet music written for piano and violin for some of the songs, which meant I would have to find a violinist that knew how to play using chord charts. June 21 was an extremely popular date, but I was fortunate that violinist, Conor O'Brien, was available. Conor was experienced at performing using chord charts. It was my job to organize all of the music and decide which of us would play off of the chord charts and at what points in the music each of us would be doing so. I had a lot of assessing and marking of music to do in order to make sure that one of us was playing the melody while the other was playing the harmony. I went over all of the music measure by measure with Conor and he felt comfortable with my arranging and organization of the music.
I was not familiar with their outdoor venue and scheduled a visit ahead of time. It was a sprawling area with different locations for weddings. I wanted to make sure I knew which area was the correct location for Andy and Nick's wedding. Their spot was beautiful...on a peninsula overlooking a small lake. I observed that there was only one electrical box on the peninsula. I would need this for my portable piano and sound system. During my visit I wanted to try out the electricity to make sure it was active. I knew from past experience that just because there is an electrical outlet, does not mean that it will work! The electrical box was locked---darn! I tracked down someone in the nearby office and they explained that the box could not be unlocked until the event. The staff assured me that they had never had any problems with the electricity and that there was another wedding a week before Andy's and Nick's wedding who would be using the electricity...if there were any problem, it would be solved then.
Wisely, I asked for the name of the person and phone number if I had any problems on the day of the wedding.
They gave me the name and phone number for the facility supervisor who was responsible for the day-of proceedings.
On the day of an event, I always arrive extra early to give myself time for unforeseen problems. Thankfully, I did so the day of Andy and Nick's wedding. On this very hot day I had a lot of work ahead of me. I not only had to set up my piano and sound system. I also had to mic the violinist and also the officiant and deal with wind and sun issues. I hauled all my equipment down to the peninsula and set up my piano and connected some of my cords. When I connected my electric cord of my piano into the electric outlet, I received no power! This meant that either my piano was not working...or my cord was defective...or the electricity was not working. In order to rule out the possible causes, I had to try different cords with different pieces of equipment. After 15-20 minutes of trials, I determined that my equipment was fine (whew!), but that the electrical outlets were not working. Unfortunately the next nearest outlets were probably several thousand feet away!! I hunted around to try and locate the facility supervisor and finally found her. She came to test the outlets and spent at least 20 minutes troubleshooting...to no avail. She disappeared to check out things on the other end.
The officiant arrived and wanted to try out the mic that I was supposed to provide for him. But I had no power, so he couldn't do a sound check. The park lady returned and reported that things looked fine at the other end of the electrical system. She then called her supervisor (whom she was not supposed call at home unless it was urgent).
While on the phone her supervisor had her pushing and prodding at the outlets and she finally got the electricity to work!
By now guests were starting to stream in. The violinist arrived, but we never had time to do a sound check together. So we just started playing our prelude music. While we were playing a guest was off to my side and I quickly asked the guest to assess if our piano and violin sound was balanced.
At 4:30 p.m. The sun was shining, The lake was sparkling, and The last guests took their seats.
The wedding party entered. It was a nice long path leading down the hill to the peninsula. Andy and Nick walked hand in hand, proud as could be. Just as they reached the front, they turned around toward their guests and took a 'selfie'! Everyone chuckled! I breathed a sigh of relief that everything was on track and I could now absorb the beauty of Andy and Nick's commitment to one another!
Below is the review that Nick wrote about my music.
"Sharon scheduled our first meeting at her music studio in the evening around our work schedules. She played music live so we could hear what each song sounded like. She took the time to learn the names of everyone involved in the wedding, and e-mailed our judge right away to introduce herself. When we decided we wanted a violin player to play along with her, she suggested a few violinist, found beautiful arrangements for our music for piano and violin, sent him the music, and even scheduled time to practice with him before the wedding. I thought it'd be hard to pick out music, but she made the whole experience so easy and enjoyable. The music was amazing!" - Nick P
Note: With all due respect, it was Vanessa, the facility supervisor, that saved the day. Her persistence and willingness to contact her supervisor on his day off enabled the wedding to proceed. I wrote her a special thank you card expressing my sincere gratitude.
Find out what happened when the dj failed to show up for the wedding!
Last week I posted one of the 'Saved the Day' Wedding Stories that were recently shared at the Central Minnesota Wedding Association's Award Banquet. The 'XO' eXtraOrdinary Award was given to the 3 top stories submitted by its members. The stories were judged on how a member of the Central Minnesota Wedding Association 'saved the day' for a couple that had hired them. The 3 stories that won were written about Larry Rowe at Impressions Mobile Music--whose story I shared last week, as well as Sharon Planer at Pianist for Parties, and Paige Meier at Carlos Creek Winery. Today I am excited to share the amazing story of Paige at Carlos Creek Winery.
As writer of this blog I must start out by stating that Carlos Creek Winery was WCCO's "Viewers' Choice for Minnesota's Best Winery" in 2014. Not only do they have award winning wines, but award winning services! Here is their story.
Prior to the start of the wedding ceremony our wedding coordinator, Paige Meier, noticed the DJ was missing and tried calling him. He never answered or called back.
The DJ was supposed to provide the music for the wedding ceremony. Paige's quick thinking saved the couple from a ceremony catastrophe. Paige used her cell phone to download the ceremony music based on what she had remembered from the wedding rehearsal. Whew!
The staff at Carlos Creek Winery continued to try and reach the DJ...but to no avail. Now it was time for the social hour and still no DJ, so Paige used her cell phone to provide the music. During this time the couple did NOT even notice that their DJ was a no show! They heard the music and figured everything was good.
While Paige was keeping the music gong during the social hour, the staff found out what song the couple's first dance song was supposed to be as well as some of the couple's other dance music choices.
Lucky for everyone, Josie Nelson was the music performer on the Wine Patio that day.
When Josie finished her set. The staff asked her if she would be willing to help them out later that night and play the couple's First Dance song as well as some of their other special dance songs. Josie was a sweetheart and agreed! Since some of the music wasn't in her polished repertoire, she hurried home to learn the new music and returned. Josie got connected into the sound system and was ready to perform! CLICK HERE for Josie's YouTube channel.
The guests were now seated for dinner. Paige took over as the MC and did all of the announcing. When it was time for the First Dance, Paige made the announcement and Josie performed beautifully while the couple danced their first dance together. It was more than perfect! The couple never dreamed they would dance to a live performance of their song. Not only that, but Josie performed the mother/son dance, the father/daughter dance and a few of the first songs for the guests while Paige kept up with the announcing.
Paige continued using her cell phone and downloaded songs as guests made requests. The guests were dancing and enjoying themselves all night long.