One hundred weddings and a funeral

Music for weddings

Dim and I used to play at weddings and funerals.  By play, I mean I played the harp; Dim played the recorder. Together we were ‘Black Velvet’. Our music was often described as heavenly. I can assure you we didn’t look heavenly though in our black velvet over the knee dresses with laced-up bodices and leather boots.

Wedding no. 67

Wedding no. 67 was probably the most memorable. The bridal couple had booked Princes Park in Battery Point, one of the more prestigious suburbs of Hobart. The park was on a gentle slope with beautiful garden beds of carnations and roses overlooking the Derwent River. The wedding took place on a beautiful sunny spring afternoon.

‘the blonde leading the blind’

Stools, music stands, amps, props …. Yet another trip to the car. We perched ourselves on top of the slope between a couple of old oak trees. Dim used to describe us as ‘the blonde leading the blind’. Dim was the blonde and I was the blind. That’s how it was. As I unpacked the harp, a gentle breeze was kissing the strings creating beautiful Aeolian tones. Jude, the celebrant set herself up over to the right of us. The flowers for the wedding ceremony were delivered straight to the venue in a big box and plonked on Jude’s table.

The guests start arriving

The bride’s parents were the first to arrive. The mother looked glamorous in a floral two-piece number with colour coordinated stiletto shoes. Her hair was teased into a huge, bouffant do and the nails were oh so pink and scratchy. Without so much as a hello, she tottered over to the box of flowers and started rummaging through.

‘Oh, fark’

‘Oh, fark’ she shouted as she stamped her foot, causing a stiletto to lodge itself in the soft ground.  At that moment, we heard a low rumble and raised our eyes upwards. Dark threatening clouds had suddenly replaced the clear blue sky.

‘Where are the buttonholes? Fark, fark, fark’ she crowed.

‘Calm down’ her husband said gently which seemed to irritate her more.

‘Does anyone around here have a pair of scissors?’

Snip, snip, snip

I did. I had everything in my harp bag. As I handed them to her, I wondered who she was going to murder first. Thankfully, it was only the carnations. Snip, snip, snip. This crazy woman proceeded to snip off carnation flowers with my scissors. Wasn’t this illegal in a public park? Did this make me an accessory?

Here comes the bride

As the last guests arrived, along with the bride and groom the thunder gained momentum. Dim and I were playing quietly in the background as Jude began “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today …..”

And that was the cue for the skies to open up. Huge raindrops pelted down. The bridal party and wedding guests were running amok to seek shelter under trees and in their cars.

Twenty minutes later, the storm eased and the ceremony restarted. There was no music. Our instruments were drenched and unplayable. But there was something else heavenly in its place. A stunning rainbow.

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