Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Perspective of a violin player

We may hear people discuss their weddings, and some will say, "We went to a Justice of the Peace, just had a generic wedding." Another, "well, they had just an 'ordinary' wedding." Or a "regular wedding."

I am a violin player, and have played for literally hundreds of weddings over a fifty-year block of time. Never EVER has a single one of them been what I'd call "standard". Every wedding is as unique as its celebrants.

(Once I asked a well-dressed guy if he was the celebrant. He, a Rabbi, taught me that he was the officiant, the bride and groom are the celebrants!)

As you might have guessed, this preliminary stuff IS leading somewhere...where? I don't know! But, each time I play for this ceremony, I am so overcome with the seriousness, the solemnity, spirituality, the vows, the joy, tears, and yes, the tensions and stressfulness and all the other emotions and legalities which form the lifetime partnership agreements entered into on this occasion. And the music.


Couple months ago A visitor at my early AA meeting announced he was a musician. So we talked a bit after the meeting, and exchanged numbers, I told him I played a fiddle. This past week he called to ask if I'd play at his wedding, at a church in a town north of Naples. I said, Yep! For regular people, $250, for 'good' friends in my AA home group, FREE, and for acquaintances in AA $50. He said OK.

My job was to play for about half an hour before the ceremony, then play as the bride walked down the aisle. I asked what to play for the bride's walk? She had told him "Anything." I love to hear those words, because, after all, who knows better what sounds on a particular instrument will please her guests, more than the violin player?

I did not realize he had hired bagpipes ("Oh my God, let this chalice pass from me..."), two guitars and a country vocalist. And everyone was doing sound checks while I'm playing right there at the altar. Finally one of the minister-guys stopped the strumming and piping.

So I played some stuff...been doing this for so many years, I don't use music, just play tunes, whatever comes into my head. Usually it fits pretty good. And I was amplified, which helps in a big venue.

After some short time I spotted about a dozen little children sitting, not together, in the first few rows of pews (What an ungodly word...PEW?), so I played "It's a Small World". Guess what, these little kids started softly singing the song, one girl, 2 feet high, got out into the aisle and danced...delighting all the wedding guests--and ME!

Grooms and "officiant" walked down the aisle to the altar steps, stood right by me. and then, the bride stood at the rear door, ready to enter!

Here I digress a minute: At that moment a tune came into my head as if 'sent' there. Flex? Angel? Is that you? This tune was taken from a String Quartet by Schubert. It had been inspired by a man and a woman who had married as teenagers, separated, divorced, and lived separate married lives, each with large families.

Though more than fifty years had lapsed, each had secretly still loved--and never forgot--the other. Their spouses had died. A chance meeting at a funeral of a mutual friend brought the widow and widower face-to-face.

Tears began to flow, as they slowly felt through air for the other. When they embraced, it was as if they'd never parted. They never left each other, holding on for dear and precious life. They were remarried within ten days. This music was played as they made their way slowly down the aisle, almost holding up one another. It was beyond magnificent beauty, the ambiance of the whole affair. United at last!

Back to the present:

As the bride began her walk, with her father at her side, I played this very same sweet old classical melody, muted and miked, and my violin had not sounded so wonderful since Easter Sunday morning. As the attractive smallish young bride approached, I thought to myself, what a fortunate girl. She is marrying her man AFTER he got sober! They can grow together in a loving household, being nice to each other.

I was still playing, and ended just as the bride stopped, about five feet from me. She looked and smiled so prettily in my direction and mouthed the words, at the same time whispering them, in a stage whisper, "That was beautiful!"

Ya want to see a violin player cry? I was scheduled to leave, and so I got out of there before anyone could notice the wet on my cheeks.

I guess the whole point is that without my having found Alcoholics Anonymous a long time ago, I never would have experienced such a tender loving moment (for me), and would never have even thought to play special pieces for special people. I would not have seen the children dance and heard them hum the tune I was playing.

I am just so grateful for the Power which I feel in the rooms of AA, and for the people at daily meetings, and for my peeps, the bloggers.

I have discovered that the answer to so many questions is found in one word: Love! For without love, I have naught but a hole where would have been my heart.

In LOVE and service,
Steve E.


Mary Christine said...

She will remember you for the remainder of her days... isn't that nice?

Shadow said...

you've warmed my heart once again. the way you see and experience the world is amazing.

Prayer Girl said...

This post hit a very deep chord inside me. I loved it.

What a beautiful story of a young married couple who divorced yet secretly remained in love over fifty years and eventually reunited .....the circumstances inspiring the wonderful String Quartet by Schubert ... that you then played for a bride this past Saturday.

I felt the passion in this story that only love can express.

I am a hopeless romantic and glad for it.


Anonymous said...

Steve, that was beautiful. How nice it was to hear the perspective of the musician. You add so much to the event and yet we never get to hear your thoughts on the day. Keep sharing!

Ann said...

Absolutely beautiful story!! Love is DEFINITELY the answer.
Those little "God moments" are exactly what I live for today!
Thanks for being in my life!

Banana Girl said...

Every day you grow a miracle tree. It has ribbon covered branches with a sign at the base of the trunk which reads: "Take a ribbon, change your life." The ribbons of your music weave a tapestry of memories for each celebrant. Precious as gold, sturdy as iron, sweet and pure. You give so much and you keep helping me through the thorny thicket of service to the base of the tree to pick one more ribbon that gives me strength for my day. Thank you for sharing. I have wet cheeks. J

Steve E. said...

Shadow, for someone as near and dear to us as you, I believe it was a bit rude of me to imply anything less than complete honesty between us--all of us! Please accept my apology, small as it might sound.

One result of my enticing Prayer Girl to blog here, is that if anything, SHE keeps me honest. NOT that I'd ever be anything but--or anything BUTT! God forbid.....


Indigo said...

No words...the beauty and eloquence you spoke of here, touched my heart. Thank you! (Hugs)Indigo

Syd said...

That is a wonderful story about your caring and appreciation of life. Such a good life that you have now. I'm glad that you are here, sober, and playing the violin.

Ed G. said...

Steve - A lovely story offered by a lovely man...

I think you've got what it takes...

I'm proud to know you...

Just Be Real said...

Stevie what a sweet amazing story. Thank you again dear one for sharing! Blessings!!!

Rainbow said...

ok...this one made "us" cry. for love has eluded us in our life. your writing is eloquent, wish we could hear you play. music is one of the joys of our life! thank you, dear steve, for the emotions you brought to us this day. peace to you!