When the music suddenly stops….
As a professional string quartet with many years of training, one of the things we particularly pride ourselves on are our ‘ensemble skills’. This is having an awareness of what each of us is playing and responding immediately to that. It’s also having an idea of the external goings on whilst concentrating fully on the given piece of music we are playing. So it’s always a source of frustration when we are abruptly stopped without warning for an announcement of one kind or another. This could be a registrar advising guests to switch off their mobile phones before the commencement of the wedding ceremony, or a toastmaster banging a gavel to let guests know that the receiving line is ready.
In all such situations the intentions are well meaning. Different suppliers each have different roles to play on the day of a wedding and generally do so smoothly and without fuss. But occasionally the gavel can fall with a piece of music literally seconds from ending and creates a sudden jolt, not just to ourselves but also to the guests who are often enjoying the music. Sometimes the pre ceremony announcement comes without warning and negates one of the reasons for wanting music: namely to create an elegant ambiance and sooth nerves before the bridal entrance.
Most of the time all that is required is a little eye contact or a nod and the piece of music can be tailed off, often with the wedding string quartet improvising an ending so as to round the piece off quickly.After all, we are not a CD player and another advantage in having ‘real’ musicians is the sensitive ‘tailing off’ of a piece of music. I’ve witnessed ceremonies where a CD has accompanied the bridal entrance and invariably the person operating it (as a non-musician) has literally pressed the stop button which has sent a jolt through everybody! Fortunately musicians will always enable a piece to finish smoothly.
So a word to all you wedding professionals: we don’t suddenly start playing full volume Pachelbel during an important announcement…so. . .please let us do what we do best – namely finishing off a piece smoothly!