Upcoming Performances

April 26
8:00 pm Eastern

Collaborative Organist, ASU University Singers, Rosen Concert Hall, Appalachian State University

April 27
3:00 pm Eastern

Guest recitalist, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Kingsport, Tenn.

May 5
4:00 pm Central

Guest recitalist, St. Paul's Cathedral, Des Moines, Iowa

July 18
10:00 am Eastern

Collaborative Organist, Organ/Brass concert, William Adam International Trumpet Festival, Rosen Concert Hall, Appalachian State University

August 25
3:00 pm Eastern

Guest recitalist, Church of the Savior, Newland, N.C.

September 17
8:00 pm Eastern

Faculty recital, Rosen Concert Hall, Appalachian State University

December 13
12:15 pm Eastern

Music at Midday, National City Christian Church, Washington, D.C.

June 21-26, 2020
Worship Organist, Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts, Lake Junaluska, N.C.

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Weddings! Part 1: Vocal music

Good morning! Wedding Singer Hotline! How may I help you?

Yes, we always recommend employing either a) a competent soloist or b) no soloist for your wedding.

Oh, you’d like to have as wedding soloist your cousin ‘who sings?’ Well, that’s not very informative. Oh, they sing ‘opera?’ Ah, yes, the Andrew Lloyd Webber Pie Jesu? Um, well, that’s not a wedding song, and it isn’t opera. Perhaps I just need to speak directly with your soloist.

Well, I suppose using an accompaniment track is OK, but the sound system was not installed with that in mind. And since we have a 1949 Aeolian-Skinner and a 9-foot walnut Steinway, plus an above-average musician to play them, it might be more meaningful to use those, instead.

Tradition? No, there is no tradition when it comes to vocal music. If you employ a lousy soloist just to fulfill a tradition, then you’ll have a spoiled wedding video.

As to what music to choose, you’ll need to find out the church’s policies on what is acceptable in that particular church. As you know, a wedding held in a church is a service of worship to God, not an exercise in managing the bridal couple’s taste in public displays. Solos at weddings and solos at receptions are rarely interchangeable. Someone singing John Denver or George Strait in church is the musical equivalent of a bridesmaid processing down the aisle in cutoffs and a halter-top. By the same token, the Lord’s Prayer will probably not fare very well at a reception. The appropriateness of any vocal music may be tested by determining its appropriateness for any service of Christian worship:

We recommend:
-- any text taken directly from the Bible;
-- liturgical prayers set to music;
-- any text which mentions God in some way other than in exclamation;
-- any text which capitalizes the words ‘he’, ‘him’, or ‘his’;
-- any text which illustrates your desire to bring honor to the marriage;
-- any hymn, except one with an obviously non-applicable theme such as funeral comfort, patriotism, etc.;
-- something which may suitably be used in Sunday worship services;
-- any text with applicable, recognizable theology.

We discourage:
-- songs containing the words ‘baby’, ‘darling’, ‘honey’, ‘I swear’, ‘lover’, etc;
-- songs with running themes such as ‘my little girl is all grown up now’, ‘mother’s grief’, ‘daddy’s playfulness’, ‘look how far we’ve come’, ‘how good you make me feel’,  etc.;
-- Pop, Country, Broadway, and movie soundtracks.

Anything falling in the ‘discourage’ category above may be more effective at your reception.

Ah, yes, when to rehearse? Vocal/instrumental rehearsal should occur one hour before the wedding. It is imperative that your soloist have learned all notes and rhythms before arriving for that rehearsal. Have your soloist bring at that time a copy of the printed music for the organist in the soloist’s preferred key. No vocalist should expect two and three meetings with the organist to rehearse. One hour before the wedding will suffice, with one or two runs through. After all, the organist has already played it a thousand times, and if the soloist can’t learn it on his own, then he falls in the ‘incompetent’ category and should never have been asked to sing in the first place.

Many times, a singer wants the organist to make a recording for the singer to rehearse at home with. Those recordings are dangerous. First, the singer will get too used to the recording and will expect the very same thing at the wedding. Second, if soloists must rehearse this way, then they are incompetent and should not be singing in the first place.

Yes, I suppose a lot of this is news to you or has been somewhat discouraging. But many churches are looking to reclaim their houses of worship from the '70s and '80s, when love ballads were the norm in weddings.

I’m sure your wedding will be beautiful, especially if you give music as much thought as you have the dress and the invitations. We are here to help. (And in most cases, ‘help’ means ‘educate.’)

Thank you for calling the Wedding Singer Hotline!

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