The Music: Closing the Book

We're reaching the point in the process where the wedding stuff starts to overwhelm real life, unfortunately, which is either exhilarating (we're getting closer to the day!) or frustrating (not another uncomfortable phone call/e-mail!). Katherine is pretty much in non-stop wedding mode when she's not at work, whether it's sewing, or various crafts, or prepping for the ceremony. Our tacit division of labor--which became more explicit about a week ago--is that I handle most of the home maintenance stuff (cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping), while Katherine handles most of the wedding stuff.

The music, however, remains my domain, and there appears to be a bright spot amid the lateness of the hour. A few months ago, I ran a handful of songs for use at the ceremony past Katherine, and she was noncommittal about all of them. Last night, I culled that list into the two I wanted most, and now, she was quite happy with the options. Perhaps being forced to make decisions, in some respects, is a good thing--there's less of a chance to hem and haw and temporize and waste time.

We got two requests for the ceremony itself. BD Lenz generously offered us ceremony music that consisted of himself on an acoustic guitar, along with his saxophonist on the sax. I had mulled over a few options for a while, but I'm pretty happy with the final choices for the ceremony. I went with a bit more of a Beatles' thing for that one:

- Processional: Till There Was You - I really like the Beatles' version of the song, but it has other slower, romantic versions out there as well. The song was originally from The Music Man, but it has also made its way into other contexts, including The Wedding Singer. It works quite well on an acoustic guitar.

- Recessional: When I'm 64 - I had this one in mind from the start, and I'm glad that Katherine acceded. I think it's a PERFECT wedding song, if the core idea of a wedding is that two people have decided to announce that they are guessing that they've found a person that they'll be able to grow old with. The fact that Sir Paul penned something so poignant at such a young age continues to astound me.

The only other song that was seriously considered was "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing," which was our prom song a hundred years ago. There's a great saxophone version of the song on YouTube:

My apologies for the home photos in that one; they're not mine. I listened to this a few times, but I decided that the background orchestration (with the subtle strings) is what gives that its texture. I think just having the solo sax blare out some late-90s Aerosmith would be uncomfortable. Plus, Ben Affleck.

So, why do I say the book is closed? I e-mailed BD Lenz our song choices, including our two requests for the reception from much earlier in this process, "Ever the Same" and "Give the Girl a Kiss." I started having terrible second thoughts on "Give the Girl a Kiss," mostly because "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" has become the Matilda Edwards to the Mary Todd that is "Give the Girl a Kiss." But, like Lincoln, I ultimately "kept my resolves" and decided to stick with the original choice. (For an excellent treatment of this issue, see Douglas Wilson's Honor's Voice: The Transformation of Abraham Lincoln, which is the best biography I have ever read. For the shorter version, go here.)

That's enough of that. The main reason why I didn't take "4th of July, Asbury Park," a truly great song that has become one of my favorite songs over the last few months, was because of the size of the necessary arrangement. It has a very prominent accordion part, and the piano really does keep the time. I can't imagine the song without those components, and we won't be having either instrument at the wedding. But because I brought it up, enjoy:


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