14th of July 2008
My first entry!! Let’s talk about the latest…….
Our first Wedding for the UK assembly. It was a Welsh wedding set in the beautiful atmosphere of a very old cathedral, at least over 100 years old, very ornate with stained glass windows and a very old Pipe Organ, I know for sure that this organ is over 100 years old. It has been kept updated and in use during its services. The Wedding was officated by the Reverand Teddy Kalongo of the Trinity Methodist church, and my hubby Rev. Jonathan Goodwin. It was an unique experience for both of us, because of the lack of facilitlies on our part, the bride, Glayds, had to choose a venue elsewhere. She desperately searched for a church, many booked for up to a year. Her fiancee’s family are Welsh, so she started to search for a place in Wales. Getting married in the United Kingdom is not an easy process legally. You must have a Registrar present with the legal documents, and if it is outside of a church venue it must be kept separate, from church! So Gladys kept searching longing for a church setting, starting with God in her union to Aled. At last she found it! The Rev. Teddy was very helpful and accomodating for her. We thank God! Since the church was the host of the wedding it was only befitting that we followed the outline of the procedures of Weddings performed by this church.
We started the planning and worked out the details of Jonathan’s ministering during this wedding, and my role in the music. I was asked to also play the organ. This was a fantastic opportunity to play a 100 year old pipe organ in a very old cathedral, well of course I would give it a try! Much to my dismay I found out that this was a very daunting mission without having a few days of practice. Three manuals (keyboards), and stops galore for different voices and textures, and not forgetting about the awesome bass pedals, which I so love! I scheduled a day to have a look and a go, and wow! It really needed all of the gadgets played and messed with. I did not know where to start. I signed the little blue book for all those that play the organ, and started exploring. I was on my own! I tried different things, and enjoyed the sounds. I really wish I would of tried "The Phantom of the Opera" song, I can’t believe I forgot about this song. I was way to focused on Bach, and Handel and Vivaldi to think about the Modern composers of our day, Andrew Lloyd Weber. Oh how that bass line would of sounded on the pedals!! So I concluded that I really need time to practice and some guidance from the church organist to make it sound as it should, so I opted for the Wedding Ceremony to have the church organist Evelyn, play some on the organ and I would play some on the Grand Piano (which I may say was a very beautiful Yamaha acoustic grand). Just one go on this organ was not enough, so at least I did play it, heard what bit I could do in practice and I could only imagine what it would of been like if I would of had a couple of days to practice. Driving to Wales takes about 3 1/2 from Hatfield, so it wasn’t like I could just hop in the car and go practice. Oh well, I’m a pianist, and as musician it is good to venture out and explore other instruments and learn, so it was a great learning experience for me! The organist, Evelyn was wonderful! We shared the time together in the Prelude, and the Ceremony. My repertoire in the Prelude was…."Saviour Like a Shepherd", "Praise His Holy Name", "Lord, Purify my Heart", "Jesus, Allelujah", "The Lord’s Prayer". During the Ceremony, "Pachebels Canon in D" (the Bridesmaids processional) "You are so Beautiful to Me’ (the lighting of the Unity Candle) the organ was used for the rest of the ceremony, the Bridal Procession, and the Hymns and the Signing of the Register, and then of course the Recessional, it was powerful and majestic, very befitting of the surroundings, the sounds reverberating from the massive pipes, it was beautiful.
We learned several things from this Wedding, the traditions of the Welsh and English. The Welsh love to sing and are known for thier Male Voice Choirs. It is so beautiful to listen to these Choirs sing. I had the opportunity to listen to one of these performances several months ago and it was grand. I was actually moved to tears, this all male choir was made up of gentleman ranging in ages to maybe 40 up to the 80’s. They sang with much vigor and emotion, and on top of this at times in their language of Welsh, this just added to the beauty. Getting back to the wedding…..the Welsh love thier Hymns. You can’t have a Welsh wedding without the traditional Hymns. We sang them in English of course. My favorite, "Guide Me, O thou Great Redeemer". I just recently discovered this Welsh Hymn. It is one of the top 10 of my favorite Hymns. It really spoke to me in a "valley moment". The line, "Strong deliverer, strong deliverer, be thou still my strength and shield, be thou my strength and shield", really directed my focus on Him, my Deliverer. I must say, I like the Title, as the other option, "Guide Me, O thou Great Jehovah". During the Wedding the congregation stood to sing the Hymns, with "Lord of all Hopefulness", being the other. I really enjoyed having Hymns at a Wedding, it was a time of worship to God and bringing the Congregation at its feet in reverance and worship with thier involvement. Needless to say, I sang with my whole heart on "Guide me, O thou Great Redeemer", this being my favorite. The pentecostal came out in me, I could not help it I sang like a pentecostal in a Methodist setting!!
The English tradition we learned was the bridesmaids and attendants are to follow the Bride. The Bride enters first. They follow attending to her, just as the Queen. It does seem befitting. I learned this the day of the Wedding, and we had already planned to do it the way we do it in America, Bridesmaids and attendants first. Definitely something for us to consider.
Lighting of the Unity Candle was new to them. Let’s say it was our American tradition. It was well recieved and liked, and even commented on. Yes! An American moment in a foreign country.
Jonathan did very well in his Address, he did opt not to stand at the pulpit that is set up on a small pinacle. He thought he might trip up the stairs, but I know him, he is very modest! I love that about him! This was all new to him, too.
I have several wedding pictures for you to see and enjoy………
Please send your comments, I would LOVE to hear from you!!!!