Confessions of a Reluctant Wedding Harpist; Plus a Light Classical Repertoire List.
I must make a confession. I, as a harpist, do not really enjoy playing for weddings. I have played them since I was 15 and my experience with them has been spotty at best. I admit, there have been adventures! I have played in high winds and up in forest amphitheaters. I have been in numerous churches, backyard gardens, and venues. I have dealt with car problems, inclement weather of all types, and lack of communication. I think it is all the logistics that do not interest me as well as the ever increasing oddity of requests. I am happy people are being creative with their weddings, but I do wish they would consider the humanity of the people who provide services as well as their guests.
Weddings are an industry, a service is sold, and customer has to be pleased. I think this is what I find stressful. I prefer more artistic and individual musical experiences. Also, back when I was single for so long, each wedding I played acted like a reminder of how lonely I, myself was. How many other peoples happy days can one live through when one is alone? It can be rough and I am admitting my attitude towards playing for weddings has been colored by this experience, even after being married. I hope it fades, I really do.
Another thing about weddings that is so frustrating these day is the proliferation of scammers. I hate scam wedding requests as well as student requests. I wish all scammers would just stop, just give up. What they do is disgusting. There, I said it. Scammers are horrible toad beings.
I really respect and admire harpists that make their main living off of weddings. It requires a great deal of hustle to get ones self into the wedding industry circles and be successful about it. It includes playing for Bridal fairs, having a website tailored to weddings and events as well as all of the trappings of contracts and other paper work.
Despite all of this, occasionally I say yes to playing for a wedding after I have vetted it for: is the harp safe? (out of the weather, protected location, ease of moving it) Am I safe? (Covid-19 protocols, out of the heat since high temperatures make me ill) Is the pay
decent? Is it not a scam? I have said yes to a wedding next weekend. It is outside in a gazebo. I dearly hope it will not be too hot. Since I have not be gigging a great deal I am having to review my gig books. I am including a set list here of some of what is in my current gig book in the light classical vein.
A Light Classical Set List
Bach/Grandjany , Largo
J.P.A. Martini, Plaisir d’amour
Bach/Grandjany, Etude No. 6
F.J. Haydn, Adagio in F
F. Godefroid, Premier Exercise en form d’etude melodique.
A. Hasselmans, Chanson de mai
F. Godefroid, La Dernière Rose d’Été
C. Debussy, Clair de lune
A. Hasselmans, Prière
W.A. Mozart, Andante from Simple Sonata in C
11. J. Brahms, Waltz in A Flat
12. A. Hasselmans, Rêverie from Trois Petites Pièces
13. G. Kirchhoff, Aria and Rigaudon
14. G.F. Handel, Largo
15. C. Debussy, The Girl with the Flaxen Hair
16. E. Satie, Gymnopedie No. 1
17. C. Debussy, 1st Arabesque.
Maybe some of you will find some new musical treasure on the list!
Kimberly Houser Taylor