Blue moon wedding
The most unusual wedding we've played a reception for took place outside yesterday at seven pm. Seven out of eight members of our band were sick: Tight chest with coughs and fever kind of sick. Our leader/mandolin player's bug had morphed into pneumonia by Friday. The only person not affected was our banjo player.
It always takes about two hours to get set up and the sound balanced. We were to be set up and ready by the six o'clock photo session.
People who don't play music usually have no idea what heat does to to hide glued instruments. It doesn't take much heat to loosen the glue. The platform was in the baking sun. While not playing for the sound check we tucked our instruments in their cases resting in the bit of shade on the east end of the platform. Still they were exposed to the full force of the afternoon sun. In my west facing position it didn't take long for my violin to get hot and the strings loosen in the heat.
As is typical, communication wasn't the best. We'd been told that we'd play the recessional kicking immediately into the reception. We'd just been chilling out in the shade of a small tree near the platform when a trio bustled up to the stage saying they needed to set up in front of our gear. And, "Oh, by the way, can we use one of your mics?" When you've just spent two hours in the blazing sun arranging chairs, mics, monitors, speakers, music stands for eight people it's a bit disconcerting to find that a keyboard and three players need a portion of that occupied space. As for the mics /sound system, well, one just doesn't turn on the amp and it's all set. Not. The fine tuning to get all the vocalists and instruments balanced takes a great deal of time. But we're nice people so our leader, who is also our sound expert, carefully noted which level his mic was at on the mixer and then spent time with the flutists and keyboard getting them at right level. Meanwhile, the sound system was on, which our bassist didn't stop to think about as he went behind the platform to relieve his congested nose. The mic near him picked it up mingling his blowing along with the flutes the entertainment of arriving guests.
We'd planned to set up then go into town to eat and rest before our time to play but the number of arriving guests and lack of parking, let along lack of energy to climb the small hill once again, made us decide to hang out at one of the back tables. Knitting and people watching time. I'm just starting a pair of socks for a birthday. Since I spun only 240 yds I'm doing the double-trouble toe up socks. This will be my second pair from that pattern. So far it's going much better than the first time I attempted them.
The couple who were married participate in tribal dancing; he is a drummer, she dances with her mother, sister and several other women. The crowd was a mixed group wearing clothes from formal wedding type clothing appropriate to outdoor weddings to the tribal attired /bohemian/gypsy clothes of dancers and drummers. A very colorful assortment.The temperatures had cooled down nicely by the time we started playing at 7:30. It was a perfect evening for playing outside. We had an enjoyable time, the people seemed to like our music and except for a few glitches all went well. My worry about the strings holding their tune came true. The mishap took place during the mandolin/fiddle duet. Just as we launched into the second piece of an Irish medley my E string took a nose dive way south ending up near an A. When one string dramatically loosens it usually affects the tuning of the other strings so T finished the piece as a solo. We managed to cover our coughs and sickness pretty well. One piece was higher than our singers' vocal cords could handle last night so it became instrumental after the first verse. The photographer who often used the platform for key shots, and kept his gear near ours, was the only person who seemed to notice that we were not feeling well. As we were packing up he made a comment about our playing well despite being sick.
Instead of playing the scheduled hour we ended up playing ninety minutes. We were just planning to start with the beginning pieces again when the drummers set up (we'd been told to play until they were ready). The tribal dancers performed a wedding dance for the couple as we tried to unobtrusively pack our gear. This picture was taken a little after nine pm. They were fun to watch as they twirled and danced in their fine array. By then we were starving and tired but the high rush that comes after a decent performance gave us energy to make the numerous journeys up the hill to stow our gear in our vehicles. Finally we were able to help ourselves to the leftover wedding food of hummus, diced lamb/pecans/rice stuffed in grape leafs (very tasty!), olives, and sandwich makings.
On the drive home I noticed a huge glow over the mountains and remembered it was a blue moon (that occurrence of two full moons in one month). At home I waited as the moon slowly rose above the trees.