I played solo guitar at a wedding today. It was an outdoor wedding. It rained, hard. The music requested for the processional wasn't exactly my first choice. They requested a microphone for the minister the morning of the wedding, which meant that I also had to schlep another speaker, since I was just using a guitar amp. But you know what? In spite of all that, it was a good gig.
About the music. I had free choice over everything but the entry music. During the hour guests were arriving, I played solo guitar arrangements of jazz love songs. Well, it was supposed to be an hour, but apparently the storm front didn't get the memo. The processional music requested by the bride was Moby's Love Theme. This tune wasn't exactly my cup of tea, but it's about the bride's wishes, not mine. Instead of sullenly playing my way through the song, I embraced it. I transcribed it note for note, and I used my budding Garage Band skills to create my own backing track. I played through a guitar synthesizer, which allowed me to mix in lush string sounds with my nylon string guitar. I transferred it all to my iPod, which I played through my amp. It's more fun playing with live musicians, but I have to admit it's pretty cool to carry a back-up band in your pocket. Maybe I'm bragging, but I did a bang up job on the song, and now if someone else requests New Age music, I have a piece all ready to go. What really made it special, though, was the bride's reaction. When I ended the music, the smile she gave me made it all worthwhile.
About the rain. It looked like we were going to have nice weather, but the dark clouds rolled in, and it started raining. As soon as I felt a few drops, I stopped playing and began moving my gear to safety as fast as I could. Without my even asking, three or four guys started helping me out. While it was no fun to get rained on, it was heartening to have so many helpful people appear to lend a hand.
About the extra mic and extra speaker. I really didn't mind bringing the extra equipment. I could have been a jerk about it and said that I was only contracted to play guitar, not provide sound equipment, but why? All I needed to do was bring a mic, an extra speaker, and a cable. Just as those guys were willing to get their suits wet helping me move my equipment, I was glad to be able to bail them out with my extra sound equipment.
It was a good gig because I added a new song to my repertoire and was able to apply my new recording skills to create a killer backing track. It was a good gig because I helped people out, and they helped me. It was a good gig because the bride told me the music was perfect. It was a good gig because they added a healthy tip on top of my fee. It was a good gig because I was invited to dine with the guests, and the food was incredible. It was a good gig.
- Tom Godfrey
- Atlanta, GA, United States
- When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995, served as Director of Music at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation from 2011 to 2017, and currently serve as Contemporary Band Director at the same congregation.