String Quartet for Weddings – the Music Must Play On. . .We are often asked by brides and grooms, ‚Äòwhat if one of your musicians¬†were to¬†fall¬†ill on the day of our wedding?‚Äô Like many groups, we do have contingency plans (you can see our FAQs page here). To begin with, we have a pool of seven to eight musicians on each instrument who are all capable of doing a first-class job without the need for a great deal of prior preparation.¬†One reason for this is that our players are all busy freelance musicians who work in and around London. They all perform in London orchestras, West End shows and film and T.V. soundtracks and every day have unfamiliar music placed in front of them, which they are expected to play pretty much straight away. They are also well rehearsed and familiar with our repertoire of pop and rock¬†music for string quartet.
¬†If I were to receive a phone call on the morning of a wedding (which in over 700 weddings hasn‚Äôt happened!), I would immediately phone all of our players and offer the date to the first one who responded. From experience though, one of us would have to be very ill to cancel in the first place. In 2015, I played on such an occasion – I was suffering from one of those bouts of flu that leaves you with hot and cold flushes and aching all over. That morning I could hardly get out of bed and the idea of undertaking a 130-mile round trip to the wedding horrified me. But, I set off very early and took the day in a series of stages. I also made sure that I didn’t get too close to the bride and groom (I left the best man to inform them of the situation) and had to be content with smiling at them from a distance!
Another such incident occurred a few years ago when I was hospitalised with abdominal problems (I’m sure you’d prefer to be spared the details!) on the morning of an evening¬†wedding reception for which our string quartet had been booked.
A Saturday night in¬†late summer¬†is not the easiest occasion to find a replacement musician at the 11th hour (as so many colleagues are committed to Proms concerts, shows and orchestras), but as I lay in A & E, waiting to be admitted, I was greatly relieved to hear that the BBC Concert orchestra weren’t working that evening and that a friend from the violin section (who lived locally to the wedding venue) was able to step in and take my place with two hours notice.
Fortunately,¬†severe illness¬†happens so infrequently, that these are the only examples I can think of in all the years that Manor House Music has been in business. And we’re equally fortunate to have such a¬†group¬†of conscientious¬†players who pulled out all the stops (on the occasion of my A & E admission) to make sure the performance happened, with one musician driving many miles out of his way to pick up the folders of sheet music that¬†the client had carefully¬†chosen for the event.