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Chuck Hinman: IJMA. Funniest Weddings

Chuck Hinman: Funniest Weddings Chuck gets one more set of cuff links to go with the seventeen pair he never wears even after wedding music disaster. - Robert Stone
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By Chuck Hinman

Funniest Weddings

Television offerings are replete with shows whose themes are the "funniest this or that." Some day it will be discovered that weddings are a field ripe for harvest in the "funniest" category, something I have been involved in as a church pianist-organist for over 60 years. Here are two of my entries.

High C 'brings down' ceiling speaker

The female vocalist was in the final approach of warbling "The Lord's Prayer." She had just nailed the high C near the end of the song when a ceiling speaker, chose this moment to crash to the floor. Sparks and weird electrical noises almost drowned out the vocalist. The crashing speaker cabinet narrowly missed her but she didn't miss a note!

I have played for this same vocalist since that wedding but I always encourage her to distance herself from me.

Leg cramp at inopportune time

And my all-time worst wedding-music experience was this disaster. Most people who know me may not remember that I used to be a runner. I never warmed up or stretched as runners are taught to do. As a result I suffered frequent leg cramps at inopportune times. They happened frequently after I played the organ or piano for several hours at a time. When I felt a cramp lurking, I learned it was time to either get up and walk it out or better yet, come back at another time to play.

I was asked to play for a wedding at my church, New Harmony Baptist Church. On this occasion, I had waited until just before the wedding to put my music together. The result was that by the time the wedding was to start, I had been seated too long at the piano and a cramp was undoubtedly waiting in the wings as well as the wedding participants. Oh God, be with me!

Grand entry of wedding party delayed

The vocalist had just finished his pre-service music and the next thing to happen was the grand entry of the wedding party. I had just opened up the music and wham-bang -- the cramp hit me like a ton of bricks! From a lifetime of experience, I knew the sooner I jumped up and started walking it out the sooner I would be relieved from the excruciating pain.

The rear exit of the church was just a few feet away from the piano. While muttering some dumb words of explanation to the shocked audience such as "I have to go," I was in the backyard of the church like a shot of lightening hobbling on my cramping leg. The preacher who was nearby with the male wedding party participants quickly joined me to inquire what was going on!

The Wedding March at up tempo

I have never been so embarrassed in all my life and yet I was hurting so bad from the cramp that was about to turn my leg inside out, I couldn't find words to explain to him what was going on! After a long five minutes or so -- I felt somewhat better and decided to return to the piano and hopefully get the wedding party to their vows. When I re-entered the back of the church near the piano, I muttered a painful "I'm sorry." No one but me had a clue what was going on. I don't remember when I have played the Wedding March so fast! And my predicament wasn't over; I just had a breather before it was time to get them out the church after the ceremony!

I tried to appear "cool" as I stood up during the ceremony (near the piano) trying to ward off that danged cramp which was still lurking.

Drop-off in number of weddings played for

As you might expect, I have noticed a drop-off in the number of weddings I am asked to play for. But that's OK. They got what they paid for -- NOTHING! I take it back they gave me a set of cuff links to go with the 17 other pairs which I already had that I don't wear!

Any interest in Bartlesville for a blind old organist? I have several openings this summer! They say I used to be pretty good!

Written by Chuck Hinman. Emailed: Friday, 21 May 2010.

This story was posted on 2013-05-05 03:16:06
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