Sunday, June 15, 2014

Their Little Swiss Wedding

I am way behind in blogging and will have to work furiously to catch up with myself. We have been on two trips since my last post and have a trip to Russia coming up in July. Those other trips (Lisbon and Istanbul) need to be done before Russia. Wish me luck. But first, Their Little Swiss Wedding:

The posaunenchor (brass group) that I play with was asked to play at a wedding. Luckily for me, it fit my schedule. I suspected it would probably be my only chance to go to a wedding in Switzerland and would be different than any other wedding I've witnessed. As we prepared for the big day, we rehearsed two songs to accompany a singer: This Little Light of Mine and Oh Happy Day! Not your usual wedding music in the US! We also rehearsed the Wedding March. The language at rehearsals is always a challenge, but I had the distinct impression that this traditional recessional piece (in the US) would be used as a processional. The Wedding March was poorly orchestrated for our instrumentation. It was very high for me and had the same theme repeated over and over (can you say ad nauseum?). I suggested to a trombonist that we alternate playing the high part and she said "I just decided I'm not playing that part." She chose a different, lower part. I decided to alternate between octaves to save myself. The march also had a tricky rhythmic part in the middle which was only difficult because of how the editor had chosen to bar the notes together.  Anyway, I knew it was going to be an interesting experience and I was not disappointed.

it was a beautiful day

I was told the wedding would be in a nearby church not the one where we rehearse and normally play. When I pressed for exactly where it was, I was told to come to our regular church to carpool. Several people keep their instruments at the church (practice much?) so they had to go there anyway to get the instruments. I was hesitant because then I would not be able to leave until they did, but I didn't want to insult them and went along with the idea.

looking out at the church from my seat in the front

brass group seated in the center, right behind all the action

view from the balcony

There were two cute little girls with baskets. The younger girl ran off when I asked for permission to take the picture. This one stood and waited. I had heard correctly, The Wedding March was the processional. I'm guessing that's when the girls sprinkled flower petals in the aisle. I didn't see it since we were playing.

minister in the black and red dress
One of the many surprises of the day was the obvious lack of a rehearsal. There was definitely some "go stand over there" being muttered. The soloist sang two songs which were only accompanied by a guitarist. The minister came back near where the brass was seated to get out of the way, but there was nowhere for her to sit. Oops. She just leaned against the wall. She also was not wearing a robe or anything else that would make her recognizable as a minister. During one of the songs, the vocalist and guitarist had some problems. I learned later that the singer had not changed keys as expected and her  guitarist husband had to follow her lead. Then she admitted to having trouble with her voice so she stopped without singing the last verse. He had to try to find an ending. He failed. He messed around for a bit and then just stopped. The guests laughed! I would have been mortified.

couldn't get a picture of the name-tag!

More surprises:
Young women who were in very fancy long dresses were also wearing name-tag stickers! Really?!?

The mother of either the bride or the groom was escorted in right before the ceremony. No one had saved a seat for her! They eventually made room, but she had to squeeze past four people to get into a spot in the front row. It's a good thing the Swiss are not fat.

This is an intentional repeat picture - notice the foreground. The biggest surprise for me was after the wedding and the couple said "Ja", the ceremony segued right into a baptism! The couple who were just married have a son who looked to be about 8 or 9 months old. Now I understood why the baptismal font was front and center. Perhaps this is why we played This Little Light of Mine. Since we played a traditional recessional as processional, I was asked by a friend what we played at the end. Nothing. The sing-along of Oh Happy Day was last. Everyone clapped and it was over. No music to accompany people walking out.

The weather was perfect to have a reception or what they probably called an "apero" right outside the church. 

Since I didn't know the couple, I felt a bit awkward trying to take pictures; therefore, none are great. I was trying to take them quickly. Here you can see the couple and also get an idea of how the guests were dressed. Most were much less formal than what we'd expect at an American wedding.

groom is wearing a 3 piece suit and ascot

My ride said we'd be leaving in 5 minutes, but that didn't happen. About 30 minutes later, we were on our way back to "our" church and my car. I'm glad I had the chance to go to this wedding and am proud that I had enough self control not to laugh aloud at what I thought was comical.