*Photo courtesy of Big Bouquet Photography
Abi & Will’s Stone Barn Wedding
Saturday 03 Feb saw the arrival of The Piano Singer’s first wedding of 2018. The setting on this occasion, was the deceptively named Stone Barn near Cheltenham. I say deceptively named because as I pulled up to the venue, what appeared before me was much less a Stone Barn than an extremely large Tin Shed. That said, looks can be deceiving because upon entering the venue it was clear that, just like many good things in life, the true beauty of this place lay within.
The tin (actually corrugated iron) exterior immediately faded from memory as soon as I entered the building, because the impressive flagstone floor leading to the stone-walled, oak-beamed ceremony room suddenly took centre stage. Standing at the entrance I couldn’t decide if the appeal was in the indoor BBQ to my left; the wall of natural light flooding into the dining area on the right or the countless fairy lights that illuminate the entire ceiling. I guess it was the combination of all three…
On arriving I was greeted by manager, Clayton and was asked to set up to the left of the entrance to the Ceremony room. The acoustic was particularly boomy here due to the extremely high ceiling. Thankfully, piano/vocal performances work really well in large acoustic spaces like this. The natural reverb added to my voice gave my subsequent performance a much welcome sense of drama that I hadn’t expected.
Abigail and Will had given the music for their ceremony a lot of thought and I can tell they are real music fans from the songs they chose. Abigail was to walk in to Samm Henshaw’s “Only Wanna Be With You”. For the signing of the register, I sang “Higher Love” as sung by James Vincent McMorrow (originally by Steve Winwood). And finally to walk out as husband and wife, the couple opted for “Tell Me That You Love Me” by Eric Clapton.
The entrance song really set the stage for what was to be a truly beautiful ceremony. “Only Wanna Be With You” conveys just that as a very simple message, but its true beauty is in the soulful delivery of the singer. It was important for me to capture the emotion and soul from the original recording in my performance and I hope that came across to the guests as the wedding party processed into the ceremony room. Here’s a video of my performance on the day…
Of the three songs, “Higher Love” was the easiest to prepare. I was already familiar with it having sung it with bands in the past and also the McMorrow version is already a piano/vocal performance so arranging it was fairly simple. I’m very fond of this song, largely because the lyrics remind us that there’s something bigger going on in this world that binds us all. This is a notion that’s very close to my own heart and in this technological age, it’s one that’s often overlooked.
Finally, I sang “Tell Me That You Love Me” which was originally an album track from Eric Clapton’s “Backless” album (released 1978). I’m told this was Will’s request and at first it seemed like quite an obscure choice of song, but upon hearing it, I quickly understood why he was so keen for me to perform the song for their exit. The original track is bright and rhythmic making it a great choice for this part of the ceremony, while the lyrics speak of reassurance, commitment and mutual support; three things that I’m sure underpin many a successful marriage. The couple practically skipped out of the ceremony room followed closely by their guests. I was pleased to see so many people smiling and was humbled by the compliments I received as the guests processed past me.
The Piano Singer wishes Abigail and Will a very successful marriage and thanks them for inviting me to be part of their big day!