Tales From Fishers Island, Part II: The Music, Man

The other day, Jessica said to me: “I can’t wait to spend my life with you!”
“But,” I said, “you’re already doing that!”
“Oh yeah!” she said.

The "Big House," where the ceremony was held

Though I’d played music for two weddings prior to Mary’s, I’d never played anything classical – it was always “Hey Bret, you know that fingerpicky stuff you do where your fingers go all crazytimes on the strings? Do that!” and of course I happily obliged. This time, although I did do a sort of hybrid strumming + Travis picking during the recessional, I was asked to fake my way through some classical music during the processional, acting mostly as the rhythm instrument while the recorder and violin handled the melodies.

The pieces had names like Lorelei, Anglaise, Minuet, and Lindenbaum. Those are not the types of titles that typically grace my music sheets, which are more like Banty Rooster, Buck Dancer’s Choice, and Stonewall Street Blues. Or, you know, the Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel and the like. Dominick’s father had sent me eight or nine music sheets and corresponding tempo markings, and as someone whose sight-reading abilities rank just below my skills as an auctioneer, I was a little daunted. Mary reassured me over the phone (yeah, she was the one getting married and I was the one needing reassurances) that as long as I held the guitar, smiled on occasion, didn’t fart too loud or pull a The Graduate-style wedding interruption, and strummed something vaguely related to the music, all would be well.

And whaddaya know – all was well!

Me and Greg, on the recorder, playing the Anglaise for the processional, and looking dapper as clams. Dapper clams.

In this photo that Jessica took, below, I’ve got a mild scowl on my face. Now, in reality, it’s likely due to a combination of reasons – it was sunny, bright, and I was having trouble getting the music to stay on the stand. Or, the photo just caught a moment; like maybe I just cleared my throat or was about to sneeze or something. But the caption that pops into my mind is “Bret tries to play classical music, results in durrrrrrrr.”

There was an “interlude,” wherein Greg and Dominick’s father shredded a couple of gorgeous duets, while I set my axe down and took a few photos:

Then it was time for the recessional:

Let me just say I put the “recess” back into “recessional,” because it felt like 15 minutes of free play out on the courtyard, with hopscotch and monkeybars and tetherball. I had originally intended to do some light & fluffy picking, but since we were outside and I wasn’t hooked up to an amp, for the sake of volume I went with a more strummy approach. My instructions were simply to begin playing as soon and Mary & Dominick’s lips parted after their kiss, and that’s just what I did. Everyone walked out slowly, the guests stood and cheered, and a really beautiful ceremony came to a close.

Next time on Tales From Fishers Island: A dude* gets a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the bride & bridesmaids’ dressing quarters as he serenades them in a corner.



3 responses to “Tales From Fishers Island, Part II: The Music, Man

  1. In the photo Jessica took, it actually looks as if you’re trying to figure out what in the world a music stand, a guitar, and music sheets have in common. Or something like that. But, I know, me, moi, ich, that you are way too intelligent not to find the answer to this riddle.

  2. sounds like so much fun! dapper clams=hearty laughs from me over here. glad you got to help out a friend and also enjoy the hell out of yourself in the meantime! good work!

  3. Moonnnkkeeeyyy baarrrssss!!!!

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