Today, I played my third wedding at St. Joe's and the first member wedding since I started my position back in January, 2008. Well, perhaps the first wedding I played could be considered a "member" wedding as well, but IIRC, the bride (or was it the groom?) was related to a parishioner. It was a nice, simple service... and the bride was beautiful. During the exchange of rings (always my favourite part), you can really see the love they have for each other. (This was the case for the other weddings/blessings of unions I've attended at Chapel of the Cross... and of course, being up in the chancel, you always get a close-up view of the action. :) )
The only thing that worried me was the timing of the piece I played for the bridal procession. The bride had chosen the Bach/Gounod Ave Maria as her processional. The aisle at St. Joe's is quite short; even if you walk slowly, it would take 25 seconds at the most to walk from the back of the church to the chancel. I had to cut huge amounts of the piece just to make it... and I eventually cut it down to 35 seconds.
So after having practiced the piece over and over to ensure I could make as smooth a transition between musical fragments, the timing in the end was perfect: just as I played the final chord, the bride had already reached the chancel, and her brother was giving her a kiss on the cheek before "giving her away" to her husband-to-be. So I gained a lot of satisfaction over that. :)
And the rest of the service went very smoothly.
I'm sure they probably had some experiences that would be told in stories over and over again. (Everyone does, right?) But it seems a certain bridal party in Roxbury, MA would have some very interesting stories to tell. Thanks to my friend Ryan, I found out about a bridal party whose limosine was hijacked right in front of the Blessed Mother Teresa church in Roxbury. The bridal party was still in the limo, waiting for the cue to start walking in procession when a carjacker came and stole the limo. Click here to read the story and watch the video. Luckily, no one was hurt, and the wedding went on without a hitch (according to the news report).
I titled this entry "Joys and Sorrows". Here's the "sorrows" part. There was a woman (I'm not even sure of her name) who has surfaced recently and has been sleeping on the grounds. She was sleeping in the breezeway when I arrived at St. Joe's in the morning to practice. She was still there when I had left an hour and a half before the wedding was to have begun. She looked at me with such a forlorn look on her face. It made me feel so sad. I can't imagine what it's like to be homeless, not knowing if you'll even have a place to sleep. There are frost advisories for tonight, and I'm sure it's quite uncomfortable trying to sleep in near-freezing temperatures. A friend of mine, who had been homeless before he was rescued from the streets, admitted to me that the most difficult part of it was trying to survive the freezing temperatures. He's very thankful that he survived all of that, and he has been living in an apartment for the past couple of years, and he has a job that he loves. He is considered one of the success stories for those trying to move people from homelessness to homes.
I'll end this entry with a prayer for the homeless that I found on beliefnet.com:
O God, as Naomi and Ruth journeyed from one land to another seeking a home, we ask your blessing upon all who are homeless in this world. You promised to your chosen people a land flowing with milk and honey; so inspire us to desire the accomplishment of your will that we may work for the settlement of those who are homeless in a place of peace, protection, and nurture, flowing with opportunity, blessing, and hope. Amen.