After a busy few months I’ve got a two-week gap before I have another five events to look forward to in September. A perfect time then to reflect on what has been an engrossing and hugely enjoyable first summer season playing the piano up, down and across the country for some lovely people, and in some stunning venues.
The summer season started on 6th May when I played for the wedding ceremony at Whittlebury Hall, in Northamptonshire, for Kirsten and Craig. The ceremony took place in its beautiful orangery, and I was lucky to be able to play the stunning grand piano. This was a particularly poignant ceremony, and a privilege for me, as Kirsten asked me to play a special song that meant so much to her as she walked up the aisle. The following week I was in The Mumbles, South Wales to play on another grand piano, this time in the home of a lovely lady celebrating her 80th birthday. Summer was off to a great start!
June began in the very classy surroundings of Colshaw Hall, in Cheshire, for the wedding of Lydia and Ben, and another beautiful grand piano. A couple of weeks later I was in a marquee in Somerset for the wedding reception of Ali and John. This was the first of my outdoor playing ventures where I learnt the value of always having sunglasses, a sun hat, and sunscreen to hand! This month I also played for a couple who had travelled back over from Canada to get married, and then something different – a joint 60th and 90th birthday party in Worcestershire.
The outdoor season was fully underway by the time I played at the wedding of Ashley and Jess the idyllic setting of The Wedding Weavers, in the Cotswolds and then again a week later for Marcia and Chris at Warwick House, in Warwickshire. Both of these weddings were in early July in blistering sunshine, before the rainy season began!
The rest of the month saw me travel from Worcestershire, to the West Midlands, Cheshire to Nottinghamshire, the last one of which was at the the beautiful Hazel Gap Barn for the wedding of Sarah and Phoebe. During their ceremony I had the exciting challenge of mixing together three different songs for the various stages of the bridal procession, which also included a very classy ring-bearing dog! The showers stopped just at the right time to enable me to play during a lovely outdoor reception as well.
In August I returned from a lovely family holiday in Norfolk to play the piano for the ceremony and drinks reception of Kirsty and James at the majestic Eastington Park, in Gloucestershire. Ed Sheeran, ColdPlay and Frank Ocean songs were the order of the day during the ceremony, followed by a typical genre-spanning setlist throughout the course of the outdoor drinks reception. A week later I was at the grand Leigh Court, in North Somerset, for a drinks reception where I had a particular request from the bride, Dayana, to play Le Onde and Experience by the great Ludovico Einaudi.
August then finished with something completely different! I went up to Cheshire the night before to stay with my friend and rehearse with her choir, who I was then to accompany the following day during the wedding ceremony of Lucy and Pete at Sandhole Oak Barn. The choir, Siren Sounds, were just wonderful and had put in so much effort ahead of the day itself. All aspects of their singing were fantastic, though the most memorable part for me was the audience involvement as they sang a mash-up of Stand By Me / Lean on Me at the end of the ceremony. Amongst the singing and commotion, I was somewhere in the middle of it accompanying everyone and having a great time! I then had the privilege of performing as a duo with one of my best friends, and fabulous singer, Ruth Moore, during their reception.
It’s been a wonderful summer of piano-playing with many different experiences and having the opportunity to work with, and perform for, so many unique, interesting, friendly and generous couples. Feedback in the moment, and the subsequent online reviews, have been incredible and very humbling indeed.
The autumn season is shaping up to be another busy one with five weddings in September alone to look forward to first in Oxfordshire, then across the Three Counties – Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire!
I hope this article gives a flavour of the variety of weddings and settings at which I play and the immense enjoyment I get from performing. I really enjoy getting to know the couples I play for as well and they all stay connected via social media, which is just a lovely way of keeping in touch with everyone. Sincere thanks to everyone who has booked me. Each event is special and unique, and I put all my efforts into providing the best performances possible for you all.
So here’s to a busy autumn. The natural light may be fading from here on in, but there’ll certainly be no shortage of bright sparks and illuminations over the coming months!
If you were at any of these weddings or have your own summer highlights to share, I’d love to hear from you!