Catherine Boyd Violinist

Sunday, February 19, 2012

2/18/12 Military wedding in South Jersey

Hi everybody!

I really need to get busy with the blog postings again, since a LOT happened this year.

First, though, I'd like to take a moment to write about the wedding I played yesterday in South Jersey. The couple was a military couple on a budget, and they had a Catholic wedding ceremony planned. At first, they were just planning on a simple ceremony, but one of the moms interjected that they really wanted to see a full Catholic mass. The switch to a full mass happened a week before the ceremony.

Now, there are two things to know if you have a Catholic mass.
1) You really need, at minimum, a pianist/organist and a vocalist.
2) All the mass formats changed in November of last year, and none of the music used since the 80s is officially valid now.

I swung by a dear pianist friend's house yesterday morning (we've done several Catholic masses together) to pick up the new music that she uses in her masses now. When I showed up at the church, however, the priest had a COMPLETELY different, and also brand new, mass in his hands. Back to that in a minute.

My bride really wanted Pachelbel's Canon with violin and piano for her walk down the aisle. Since they were a military family, and on a budget, I offered to bring my piano tracks on a laptop, and connect the laptop to my battery powered amp. When they switched to the full Catholic mass, I suddenly became a singer for them also.

Now, I'm not an opera singer type by any means, but I've had enough lessons and experience that my voice can sound pretty and Celtic Woman for you, and I know how to make my vowels pretty for church. When the priest gave me the BRAND NEW mass, several things went through my head:
1) I was a symphony player when I was 16
2) I can sight read on the violin perfectly, but not as well with vocals
3) If I play the violin and sing at the same time, I can absolutely pull off singing this mass.

So that's what I did! I was at the church super early anyway, so I ran through the whole mass once. I played prelude, violin against piano tracks. I played and sang AT THE SAME TIME through the mass, and didn't miss a single note (thank you, all the violin and vocal training). I made notes with the priest for all my cues, and watched him like a bird on a wire. I think he was laughing at my intense focus; I landed perfectly on every cue. For the Ave Maria and recessional, again I played the violin against piano tracks.

Happy bride, happy priest, happy me!

Yes, I am always happy when I meet a challenge. If I had trouble with any aspect of yesterday's wedding, I would have just played the violin the whole time, but I knew I could do it.

Like I said, the usual structure in a Catholic mass is piano/vocal/side instrument, with a music director working closely with the priest. But I really try to do my best if a couple is on a budget.

My friends want me to mention that my direct competitors would not be able to do this. I'm still buzzing from delivering, from doing well, and from making the bride happy.


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