Weddings (GRRR)
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,419
    I have a wedding coming up in September, and I hope it will be my last. The bride and her mother had a whole list of music, most of which was not appropriate Catholic use and all came off of Josh Groban (sp? don't really care) albums, and even asked about the Mendelssohn and Wager marches after I specifically told the bride in a preliminary e-mail that they were not appropriate and cannot be used. The groom did not come, and obviously had no say in the music on the "suggestions" list, since the bride or her mother kept using the pronoun I : "But I really want [such-and-such]." (There was one song that she really, really wanted, I think it's called "Hallelujah", that I had to put my foot down on - the first verse was nothing more than someone singing about chord progressions. The response I got was "But it mentions 'the Lord'."

    So, long, aggravating story short, apart from CharlesW, who is, of course, more than welcome to respond, is there anyone here who has ceased doing weddings entirely, and how should one approach a colleague about being a permanent substitute for weddings?
    Thanked by 2CharlesW francis
  • Ben YankeBen Yanke
    Posts: 3,114
    All I can say is that I'm happy I'm a programmer by trade and musician by hobby/side gig. Never have to do weddings ;)
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,419
    Ben, would you like to do some Weddings in Western Massachusetts? The fee is $200. And you don't need to put antifreeze in your coffee.
  • This can mean one of two things:
    1. The bride and her mother do not know anything substantial about proper sacred music, or,
    2. The bride and her mother are self-centered enough to not care about having proper sacred music.

    Likely 1, most people don't know anything at all about sacred music.

    Just my take.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    “Hallelujah” is blasphemous, not merely inappropriate pop:

    “The baffled king composing Hallelujah

    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah

    Well your faith was strong but you needed proof
    You saw her bathing on the roof
    Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew ya
    She tied you to her kitchen chair
    And she broke your throne and she cut your hair
    And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah”

    It also confuses David & Samson, though both had problems in this same area…
    Thanked by 1Salieri
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    It'd be no skin off my red nose were Holy Mother Church inclined to grant an indult allowing recorded music for such situations. We musicians have suffered enough (I got out of the wedding biz last year), so let the celebrants squirm for a while. Heck, give 'em whatever the heck they want, weddings outdoors....strapless décolletage...rainbow-colored tuxes....choreographed processions...flash mob bands playing "All you need is love".....K.D. Lang singing the entire Leonard Cohen/Joni Mitchell catalogue.....marching bands, fire breathers and sword swallowers...let the people say "A-a-a-a-a-men!"
    "In the name of the Father, Son and holy spigot."
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,007
    I truly hate weddings and have reached the point where I don't really care about Biff and Buffy's happy day. I don't even care if they ever have any happy days. They don't deserve any. LOL.

    I am fortunate to know a good organist in my town who is nearly destitute and needs the money she earns from weddings. She always has all the common wedding music practiced and ready to go, and she does a first class job. This arrangement benefits both of us.

    The reason, dear Salieri, that wedding music and Catholic music in general is so bad, is a result of leadership, or the lack of it. Too many of our priests and bishops are corporate employees waiting to get old enough to retire. They are not rocking any boats, especially when money is involved.
  • Look on the bright side. At least they didn't ask for Pachabel.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW Ben Yanke
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 728
    "Hallelujah" - seriously, that song is raunchy. The first time I heard it, I thought, "what on earth is he singing about? Yuck."

    If they want to be tacky, they can play it at their reception and dance to it. Blegh.
  • matthewjmatthewj
    Posts: 2,599
    I never run into these issues. We are clear that what happens at weddings is the same as what happens at Sunday Mass and these things almost never come up. Establish policies and keep them.

    MJM
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,419
    Look on the bright side. At least they didn't ask for Pachabel.

    Actually, they did.
  • In defense of weddings - the first wedding I ever directed, the couple asked for Byrd's Five-Voice Mass and Charpentier for the recessional. In a month's time. We sang it in a lovely German Gothic church, and managed to get through most of it (We subbed di Lasso's Gloria, and my ex managed to trumpet through the recessional almost intact). After that mass, I was completely hooked on Gregorian chant and polyphony. So, I still have a soft spot for weddings.



    Especially if I'm invited to the open bar.
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 728
    I was totally invited to a reception "with an open bar!" - even after I said I was just 6-weeks postpartum, as I told them "no" to much of the music they wanted helped them choose some lovely music.
    She wanted some contemporary "hymns" - well, we have this lovely St. Michael hymnal, and your hymn needs to be in it - (quickly qualifying with) that way the music is there for anyone who may want to sing along when they see it on your program!
    Same bride cried when told she couldn't use the Wagner or Mendelssohn.
    (that was the first time I'd ever heard of "Make Me a Channel of Your Peace" / St. Francis - which did end up being in our hymnal)

    Such is life.
    Thanked by 1MatthewRoth
  • You should just send the Wagner/Mendelssohn devotees my way. I'd be happy to indulge them - but I'd probably nix all their other music choices, all the same.
    Thanked by 1MatthewRoth
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,419
    Yes, CharlesW. Leadership is key - and not only the parish priest, but all the way up the ladder. It's hard to hold a firm line on these things when the Diocesan Bishop and most priests couldn't care less, and the catholic parish down the street has a rock band of old ladies for the Youf Mass.

    When you're confronted with Bridezillas who retort "Well, they did it at St. Lucy-in-the-Sky!" you come off looking like a Big Fat JERK no matter how nicely you say "NO!"

    Stimson: As pieces of music go the I like the Mendelssohn, just not at Mass. Usually when confronted with that request I suggest the 3rd movement of the C Minor/Major Sonata as a replacement. (Wagner is another story. I loathe Wagner with every fiber of my being.)
    Thanked by 1StimsonInRehab
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 8,234
    do as Ben does and now yours truly... do not involve yourself in sacrelege.
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,398
    I don't do weddings anymore except for choir members and their children. I sadly told a son of a choir member that I wouldn't have the choir learn "The Prayer." I say sadly because I truly love all of my choir members, but it would have been ridiculous and as mentioned above inappropriate. They had other choices that made no sense for a choir, so I suggested they hire two soloists if these choices were more important than the choir singing for them. They chose the soloists. I know that my choir member was disappointed, and so was I.
  • All Wagner, Salieri? Even the Wagner written by Bruckner?
    Thanked by 1ClergetKubisz
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,419
    I wouldn't have the choir learn "The Prayer."

    Ooh, ooh. "The Prayer". THAT was the one the MotB really, really, REALLY wanted for the Prelude.
    Thanked by 1MatthewRoth
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,419
    The only vocal piece that they requested that I could honor was "O Perfect Love" (SANDRINGHAM). Though I think the Bride and her mother will be sorely disappointed when it ends up sounding like a hymn with organ, rather than the pop-tart cum piano rendition they played me on their iThings.

    They also wanted "You raise me up" (J.G.) and "There is Love (The Wedding Song)" (P.P. & M.)

    I think I hit the quadrafecta of bad taste on this one.
    Thanked by 2Spriggo MatthewRoth
  • Jani
    Posts: 386
    As long as you have priests like that Irish fellow who sang Hallelujah to that couple in their marriage ceremony, those types of requests will persist. And lay off Pachelbel already. And lay off Josh Groban. The contempt necessary to actually write that you don't care if you misspell a name is stunning.
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,398
    Actually, sounds a lot like the requests made of me last year. I think this is all people know these days.
  • VilyanorVilyanor
    Posts: 363
    The last wedding I went to had this song played at it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzmcogSQ7u8

    Yes, a line does actually say "when love explodes". I remember turning to my sister and saying "What does that even mean?!" The priest also made asides in a completely irreverent, unnecessary, inappropriate manner. Before the Nuptial Blessing, "One last thing and then we're done, I promise". The whole experience was almost physically painful. It made me realize first that I don't think I'll willingly go to a Catholic wedding ceremony unless I'm extremely close to the person in question or know that they know at least a little about the liturgy, and second, that I need to invite as many people as possible to my nuptial mass so that people can have the opportunity to experience the beauty of the liturgy as it should be.

    Thankfully I haven't been invited to any weddings since then. Though I just found out my best friend is getting married surprisingly soon. Maybe I can gently nudge him away from anything particularly awful, but he has good musical and also common sense, and it seems the same for his bride to be, so we'll see.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    @Jani - I think an organist is allowed to determine that something is or is not acceptable for the sacred liturgy in conformity with the church's traditions as well as taste. Josh Groban doesn't fit at all, and Pachebel's Canon is trite at this point. I don't think it's particularly appropriate for the action which it covers, and it also sounds like the composer of "Rain Down" borrowed from it, so that's enough to say "no."
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,895
    that was the first time I'd ever heard of "Make Me a Channel of Your Peace" / St. Francis


    That has been so overdone in my circles, that I can't stand it anymore.
    Thanked by 2CCooze janetgorbitz
  • Jani
    Posts: 386
    I don't disagree with that, MatthewRoth. I don't think Josh Groban has a place at weddings except in the pew or as the groom, or funerals either, as a family member insisted on singing (poorly) You Raise Me Up at my FIL's not-Catholic one. But treating a lovely and versatile - I might add - piece like Canon in D as though it were mold to be avoided just because you don't like it isn't cool. As for the other thing, why declare one's animosity thus: (sp? don't care)?

    Everyone borrows from Pachabel. Google that video "I'll see you in hell, Pachabel."

    [The comic video is called "Pachelbel rant", with the correct spelling.--admin]
  • Steve CollinsSteve Collins
    Posts: 1,003
    We have our musical guidelines included in the overall wedding guidelines, and the PDF document is available on the parish website. There is a list of suggested "standard" repertoire, and it includes a bit of latitude for hymns/songs. Any deviation from these basics requires meeting with the musician (not me, thank God and our Pastor) and an automatic higher fee. During my 13 years (so far) in Charleston I have played, I think, for 4 weddings - 2 at my parish, 2 elsewhere. These were people who asked me to because we were on the same page musically and liturgically. Each gig still required extra work for me, and I came home from them a bit richer, and a bit more determined not to do it again!

    For me it is the problem of all the good or OK music that is needed for these Masses, especially prelude, processional, and recessional pieces of classical music. These are in vogue for weddings but never used at a regular Sunday Liturgy. The latter is what I love, and I really don't feel like practicing the other repertoire just to make some extra money along the way. Like Ben Yanke, my main job is something else (parish bookkeeper), and I am only the #2 musician. When #1 is away, he finds other local organists to take weddings, and I'm totally fine with that!
  • If the pastor believes that this is a Catholic sacred, liturgical event, the music should never be anything but what you and he agree is suitable. If you do not agree with his decisions, let him replace you with someone that does.

    Does the bride or bride's mother get to choose the color of his vestments to coordinate with the bridesmaid dresses?

    All this complaining indicates how much we organists enjoy throwing our weight around instead of doing our job.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 728
    so overdone

    Once was enough, for me.

    We have a pdf on our website about wedding music, etc., also - for some reason people don't feel like reading it. Even when sent it in an email after asking a million questions of the cantor and CSM. We both sent it to them. When they showed up, they still hadn't looked at it, but had at least printed it out.
  • Jani
    Posts: 386
    How ironic that I can't seem to make up my mind to spell Pachelbel properly every time.....that's what I get for writing before coffee. That's also what I get for repeating out loud the oft-mispronounced "Patch-uh-bell."
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,757
    Think Paco-Bell's Cannon Balls.
  • Taco Bell Cannon. Advertising gone horribly - yet deliciously - wrong. (Where would this fit into the food pyramid of liturgical music?)
    Thanked by 1Casavant Organist
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,007
    The four basic food groups.

    1. Sugar
    2. Lard
    3. Caffeine
    4. Chocolate.
  • Jani
    Posts: 386
    5. Beer
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,895
    All this complaining indicates how much we organists enjoy throwing our weight around instead of doing our job.


    At least for me, it's a type of weltschmertz. I can't stand it when people insist on less than the best we can offer simply because it's their preference.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • JonLaird
    Posts: 206
    Oddly (perhaps), we don't seem to nearly as badly off as others in this area. When I do have the occasional strong protest against the prohibition of certain pieces or styles, they go to the pastor, who has an unconquerably diplomatic way of saying, "I think we should have something a little more dignified than that for your wedding -- don't you?"

    Regarding the egotistic attitude toward weddings, if it is present at the start, our priests take care of that during marriage preparation.

    Those brides who have spent the past 5 years regularly attending Mass here are not a problem at all, since they would hear a chanted ordinary, good hymns, and some amount of Latin and Gregorian chant (if nothing else, the seasonal Marian antiphon) at every Mass, and no G&P or anything like it at all. Therefore, they know what to expect music-wise, even if they have been to a few friends' "wacky weddings." The ones who appear very confused at my suggested music are the ones who grew up with what used to be here, moved away for good after high school, and are coming back in town just for the wedding -- especially if they have been prepared by a far-away priest with lax moral or liturgical sensibilities.
    Thanked by 1Steve Q
  • melofluentmelofluent
    Posts: 4,160
    You wanna proper "liturgical wedding?" Get married at a Sunday Mass.
    .
  • JonLaird
    Posts: 206
    (As an aside, I try to push real organ repertoire when they are looking for instrumental pieces, as opposed to transcription/arrangements. Especially Bach for the entrance and Mendelssohn for the postlude.)
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,398
    You wanna proper "liturgical wedding?" Get married at a Sunday Mass.


    My friend's son will do this next year at his Ukrainian rite wedding. His father-in-law to be will celebrate the wedding. This way no one misses Sunday Mass. Perfect.
    Thanked by 2Vilyanor melofluent
  • Steve QSteve Q
    Posts: 96
    My pastor and I have worked pretty well together for weddings. I provide a planning sheet with acceptable music selections that are to be checked off - no space for "write-in" requests. Anything requested that is not on the sheet must be approved by the pastor - and he and I agree that he will not approve anything that is not on the sheet (he likes being the "bad guy"). Period. End of discussion. Take it or leave it. So far I have had no complaints.

    A separate issue is that of "guest singers". You know...that niece or nephew or friend of the family that they insist has a "beautiful voice" and who they really want to sing Ave Maria. The pastor is fine allowing this - but he will be sure to say something publicly after the "performance" how thankful we are to have the bride's 3rd cousin twice removed from 5 states away to come and sing that "beautiful" rendition of Ave Maria, making it clear that the performer has no association to the parish whatsoever. And if the "performance" is a disaster - which you all know it usually is - then the family got what they asked for (deserved?).
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen rich_enough
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 728
    You know, my brother wanted me to be the cantor for his wedding, which was down at his bride's home parish in TX before they moved back up/over here to TN.
    That church apparently felt the way of the above comment, and told him no - but that doesn't mean that is how things always should go.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,224
    I have so many musician friends that were I to get married, I’d beg the DM & pastor to let them sing…
    Thanked by 1JL
  • Steve QSteve Q
    Posts: 96
    Not to say that we haven't had some very good guest musicians - it's just that you never know. I can't take the family's word for it. We have had very good amateurs and some embarrassingly bad professionals.
  • Steve QSteve Q
    Posts: 96
    They also wanted "You raise me up" (J.G.) and "There is Love (The Wedding Song)" (P.P. & M.)

    When I get those kinds of requests, I tell them to talk to the D.J. at their reception.
  • Jeffrey Quick
    Posts: 1,498
    Pretty much the only weddings I get asked to do are EF, and they're no problem. (I did do an OF wedding once, but it was so trad that it might as well have been EF) Just got asked yesterday: former Schola member and family of 2 current members (who will be in the bridal party so not available). No charge. I've had 3 weddings personally, so I have some reparation to make.
    Thanked by 1canadash
  • Scott_WScott_W
    Posts: 455
    that was the first time I'd ever heard of "Make Me a Channel of Your Peace" / St. Francis

    That has been so overdone in my circles, that I can't stand it anymore


    Just modify it a little:

    Make me a channel of your peace...cha cha Cha!

    Where there is hatred let me bring your love...cha cha Cha!


    And so on.
  • I have a wedding coming up in September, and I hope it will be my last.


    Salieri,

    I've been dieting from the Internet in general, which I highly recommend, so I've just see this comment now.

    I couldn't help thinking, "I hope it's your one and only wedding", until I realized what you meant. My one and only wedding was 25 years ago, but I have played for the weddings of others since then.....

    Back to my internet-free diet
  • SalieriSalieri
    Posts: 2,419
    When I do get married, crappy music will not be a problem, believe me. (Sorry for the Trumpism.)
    Thanked by 2CharlesW Ben Yanke
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 10,007
    When I do get married, crappy music will not be a problem, believe me. (Sorry for the Trumpism.)


    So, you are building a wall around the church and not letting the guitar thumpers in? ;-) Behold they stand at the door. They have forgotten how to knock.
  • Stella611
    Posts: 108
    Best suggestion I can make regarding weddings, is just have a set list of repertoire (both an organ list, and a choral music or solo music list) for the bride/groom to choose from!
    Even though I don't deal with horrible wedding situations cited above (FSSP parish), this is what I do with couples here. When they first get in touch with me about their wedding (and usually want the choir to sing/have an organist), I send them a list of organ music selections to choose from and another list of vocal music based on the repertoire our choir already knows. Once in a while we can try to honor a request to learn a specific motet (this past spring we learned "O Sacrum Convivium by Tallis for a wedding), if we have enough time to work on it.
    If anyone is interested in seeing how I do this, just send me a message.
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • ClergetKubiszClergetKubisz
    Posts: 1,895
    They have forgotten how to knock.


    They don't have to knock: the priest will invite them in because he thinks it will help participation.